YORKTON - When the Mazergroup PBR event takes over the Westland Insurance Arena next week Ashton Sahli will be looking to repeat his 2021 event win.
Last year Sahli rode to an 83 Friday night, then added an 82 Saturday for an aggregate score of 165 the best of the event, a half point better than Jordan Hansen.
“Last year went really good for me,” the Red Deer-based rider told Yorkton This Week in a recent interview.
The win was certainly a memorable one for the 22-year-old Sahli who was in his first year competing on PBR in 2021.
“It was my first PBR win,” he said.
So does a win at an event one year really influence how a rider approaches the same venue the following year?
Sahli said you try to use it to build off, but ultimately every night out is different.
“The bulls have no idea what you’ve done or who’ve you stayed on before,” he said.
So Sahli just tries for a consistent approach at every event.
“I just want to do my job,” he said.
That said, when a rider is having success, or is being bucked off, it can snowball both ways.
“I find it a really streaky sport,” said Sahli, adding dealing with the ups and downs is just part of bull riding.
For Sahli that means trying not to get too high, or low before climbing into the chute.
“I like to keep myself calm, to trust in myself that I can do it,” he said.
The approach was working early this season too with a first place finish in Calgary in July on day two of the Cody Snyder Charity Bull Bustin, and seconds in Kinsella and at Czar Lake both in Alberta.
“This season was the first we could go every weekend since COVID,” he said. “. . . I had a really strong start this season.”
But, then a hip injury occurred and Sahli said he’s still dealing with that.
“It’s just one of those things. You just have to put it out of your mind for the eight seconds it takes,” he said.
Sahli added it helps that the PBR sports medicine team does such a good job helping riders be ready, even while dealing with some nagging injuries.
“The sport wouldn’t be where it is without them,” he said.
Of course riding bulls is rather familiar to Sahli in spite of his young age.
“From a really young age I grew up around it,” he said, adding his father rode bulls, and he and his brothers were riding steers from a young age.
Sahli said it was a case of his dad leading him to ride, but was simply something he found he loved doing.
“He (Dad) never pushed in that direction,” he said, adding as a youngster he played hockey and lacrosse too.
But, it was steer wrestling Sahli liked best.
Now Sahli will look toward Yorkton and hope the bulls are kind.
“I just have to go out there and ride all the bulls like I have to do at every event,” he said.
The Yorkton PBR event will feature shows Nov. 4 and 5.