It’s been a long time since there’s been dirt in the floor of Red Deer’s Enmax Centrium, but they’ll be rolling out the brown carpet when the bulls roll into town Saturday night. That’s when the Rebel Energy Services Professional Bull Riding event makes its debut in the city. The action-packed evening is being put on by the Adrenaline Bullriding outfit, and spokesman Corey Cipperley is excited about bringing a Canadian Touring Pro event to central Alberta.
“The points earned count for the PBR Touring Pro Division,” explained Cipperley. “And the winner gets an automatic bye into a Built Ford Tough PBR event.”
That’s the big leagues of bull riding, and with $20,000 added prize money, Cipperley is confident this new Red Deer stop will turn some heads.
“It’s one of the top five paying bullridings in Canada,” noted Cipperley, who makes his home in Leduc.
Many of Canada’s top contenders will be strapping on their bull ropes Friday night, including Canadian rodeo champions like Chad Besplug, Scott Schiffner, Jesse Torkelson and Tyler Thomson.
But one rider many will be keeping their eyes on is Saskatchewan’s Aaron Roy. After a devastating back injury at the 2013 Calgary Stampede, the three-time PBR Canada Champion’s future as a bull rider seemed uncertain. Heck, no one was sure he’d even be able to walk again, after two rods and eight screws were inserted to deal with all the damage. But last November in Saskatoon, Roy came back and won the PBR Canada National Finals in an amazing comeback, beyond even his own expectations. At the time, he wasn’t sure whether he’d be returning to the circuit as a regular, saying that his main drive was to prove to himself an injury didn’t stop his career. But he’s entered up Red Deer, and will tangle with a bull called Mojo Magic.
Meantime, another recovery story could be in the making. Popular B.C. bullrider Ty Pozzobon suffered a severe concussion at the Canadian PBR Finals.
“He’s getting some more tests in Connecticut, and if he gets the OK from the doctors, he’ll be riding in Red Deer,” said Cipperley. “It will be his first bull back.”
Cipperley expects plenty of fan support for several local bull riders in Red Deer as well.
“Shane Peters from Delburne is coming, and it will be his first ever PBR Canada event. He won at all the High School Finals in the fall. Also, there’s Dustin Glenn of Red Deer, who cleaned up at a lot of the amateur Finals last year.”
Bowden’s Tanner Girletz and Tyler Pankewitz from Ponoka are on the roster too, along with Mexican Edgar Durazo who won the World Pro Bullriding title last November in Calgary.
But even such a talented bunch of cowboys will have their hands full. Cipperley is also involved in raising rodeo bulls, so you can be sure he’s bringing out the bovine superstars as well.
“We’ve handpicked the bulls, so they’re coming from nine different contractors, including ourselves.”
The Adrenaline promotions company wants to make a great first impression with fans and sponsors, so a crew of pros across the board has been lined up, including CFR bullfighters Scott Byrne and Brett Monea, along with Alberta-born Aaron Ferguson, who has fought bulls at the NFR. Sylvan Lake rodeo announcer Brett Gardiner will be at the microphone.
Saturday night’s program will start at 7:00 pm with 31 bull riders, and the ten best come back for a second bull, with the champion earning the highest total on two head. This is the first event of the 2015 PBR Canada season. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.
On the pro rodeo front, there’s some good news from just down the road. There will be pro rodeo at the Daines Ranch again in June. The Innisfail rodeo’s main man, Jack Daines, announced last year that it would be his final year at the helm, and the future of the event was up in the air. But the ‘next generation’ of the Daines family has stepped up and decided to carry on the tradition. Plans are well in place for the ‘new look’ Daines Ranch Pro Rodeo. Although after returning energized from an Australian holiday, Jack Daines is now insisting ‘rumors’ of his retirement were exaggerated, and you might still see him knocking on sponsor’s doors!
Dianne Finstad is a local rodeo freelance writer