They saved the best for last at the Rebel Energy Bull Riding.
In front of a rowdy crowd at the Centrium Saturday for the annual bull riding event that signals an unofficial start to the year, two of the best rides came to end the night.
In the 10-rider short go, it was Jake Gardner that finally thrilled fans with an 89-point ride on Outlaw Buckers Blackstone After Party. Before that, it had been buck off after buck off, with only three qualified rides in the 22 rider long-go.
Jordan Hansen climbed up on Outlaw Buckers Too Hot and needed to best Gardner’s 170 average from two rides to take home the top prize.
Any pressure at that moment?
“Man, that just gets a guy excited. That guy has been riding awesome and I knew it was going to be tough to beat that,” Hansen said.
“A ride like that on the bull of the year is awesome, it just got me more excited, at the end of the day I still gotta do my job, but it definitely pumps you up watching a ride like that before you.”
Hansen, 26, who resides just a 45-minute drive from the arena in Red Deer said he loves this particular bull riding event and was happy to put up his 86.5-point ride on Too Hot to send the fans home happy.
“I wasn’t too familiar with him. I asked a few guys and they said he has an unset track record. They said he might go left, he might go right, was lucky he went right. It was actually a pretty nice bull, it worked out,” said Hansen, who posted an 86.5 in the long-go and collected a pair of $1,672.72 cheques for the win.
Hansen added that the atmosphere was a great one for the bull riding event Saturday.
“This is an awesome place, with the Canadian Finals here and everything, it’s always a fun place. I’m only 45 minutes from home here, so I always love coming to Red Deer,” he said.
Tanner Eno had the only other qualified ride of the short go with an 85.5-point ride. Parkland’s Quentin Taylor won the novice bull riding with 77 points. Red Deer’s Carter Sahli, 16, grew some of the loudest cheers on the night in both the opening and after he was bucked off.
His brother, Ashton Sahli, also rode in the bull riding but was bucked off.
The two-hour event also featured some of the world’s best Extreme Freestyle Bull Fighters.