Unleash The Beast Berth Just One of a Laundry List of Goals for 2023 PBR Canada National Finals Winner Tyler Craig

By: Covy Moore  Wednesday, January 3, 2024 @ 9:04 AM

Tyler Craig won the 2023 PBR Canada National Finals. Photo: Covy Moore/CovyMoore.com.

AIRDRIE, Alta. – Fresh off a PBR Canada National Finals win, Tyler Craig is heading south to PBR’s Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour in hopes of checking off that first goal of 2024 – a berth to bull riding’s premier series, the Unleash The Beast.

Craig clinched the National Finals victory via a score on eventual Bull of the Year Built Tough, not putting a foot wrong en route to the largest pay day of his career. 

While he knew he was choosing the bull that was leading the Bull of the Year race as his championship round opponent, he said his nerves were in check as that bull should fit his style. 

“I felt really comfortable picking him,” Craig said. “I had seen him all year and I wanted to pick him.”

“I knew if I did my job, he would fit my style pretty well. Worked out really good.”

And working out good was an understatement.

With his winnings, Craig purchased a new truck and in setting up his 2024 goals, the travel itinerary is looking quite robust.

With plans to leave this week to head to Denver, Colorado, Craig says the emphasis is on the PBR in 2024 with hopes of eventually making his Unleash The Beast debut. 

“Come January, I am going to all of the Velocity events until the Red Deer, Alberta, Cup Series event. Come back and head to that one, then head back south until Lethbridge. I will rodeo a little bit this summer, but I think that the main focus is on the PBR this year and go hard for that $100,000 PBR Canada Champions bonus.” he said. 

That $100,000 bonus, first launched in 2023, has been a game changer in Canada.

“It is crazy what is put up for us riders,” Craig said. “Just having that much money up for us riders in Canada, it makes an incredible difference even just to your mindset and what you want to do and what you want to chase,” Craig said. 

“I still have the CFR in sight, but it changes the focus knowing that there is that much money up for you at the end of the year. Even this past year, winning $35,000, that will help me a ton at the start, help a guy head south and take on bull riding the way you have to take it on. It makes you want to go to the PBR even more.”

With the winter months slow for PBR in Canada, and the entirety of the PBR’s individual season spanning November through to May, it allows Canadian riders to make a wholehearted effort at making the Unleash The Beast, as well as a push for the PBR World Finals without compromising the Canadian season. 

For Craig, as well as his list of young gun travelling partners who will accompany him to the United States this week, it set up perfect to get on a lot of bulls, but also achieve a host of goals in the span of a single season. 

“Me and Ashton Sahli are going to drive down together, and then we are meeting up with Chad Hartman and Weston Davidson. We start off in Denver and then from there we go to Charleston, I don't know the exact schedule after that, but we are going to at least one Velocity event every weekend. Then hopefully if things are going well, I can get a couple of those Unleash The Beast events, go to those and go from there. I think getting into a Unleash The Beast would be the goal right now, but when we get that done make a new goal.”

“You can pace yourself a little bit more. You aren’t trying all year and beating yourself up going to everything. That helps a lot. If you don't want to focus on just one division or sanctioning body, you can really go at it, then have the rest of the year to work in Canada or go try to get on a PBR Team. It lets you choose, and I think that helps a lot.”

As for what 2024 looks like in Canada, Craig says he wants to build on his achievements and a fourth-place finish in the Canadian standings, and work to walk away with the $100,000 bonus and Champion title come November. 

“Next year I want to stay in the hunt until Finals come, and then just head to Finals and put in the effort to win a Canadian title.”