Entering the final day of the season at the PBR Canada finals at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Coverchuk was number two in the nation, 55.66 points behind then number one Dakota Buttar also a Saskatchewan rider out of Kindersley.
Going into the finals Coverchuk said he knew he was in a proverbial uphill battle.
“I don’t expect Dakota to buck off ever,” said Coverchuk in a post event interview, although he added he was surprised Buttar was in the line-up on day one.
“I didn’t even expect him to get on at all in Edmonton,” he said then added of course the lure of a $50,000 prize has a way of getting riders to climb on bulls even with injuries.
But, Coverchuk said he headed into the event in Edmonton just trying to keep things simple.
“I just try to make the eight seconds on every bull they run under me,” he said, adding “... I was not trying to focus on Dakota. I was focused on me and the next bull.”
Friday, that philosophy didn’t work, and it looked like Buttar would hold his edge.
Competing with the groin injury, Buttar, who was looking to become the first back-to-back champion in PBR Canada history, battled through the pain, going 1-for-2 to hold top spot headed to the final action Saturday.
For Coverchuk Friday was a bust.
He was unable to convert on Friday. The 2018 PBR Canada Champion was bucked off by Tractorland.ca in 3.31 seconds in Round 1 and Ripped at the Seams in a swift 1.66 seconds in Round 2.
Saturday was a new day though.
“You know the next day is another day,” said Coverchuk, who added after the two buck offs Friday “ … I just went back to the hotel and had a nice hot bath and got ready to do it all over again.”
And Saturday Buttar was relegated to the sidelines with his groin injury, and that opened a door a bit wider for Coverchuk.
Coverchuk said Buttar having to withdraw “kind of spiked a hope I didn’t even have coming in.”
The bull draws were good too.
In round one Coverchuk earned one of 12 positions in the championship round after riding Rico, and the hunt for top spot was truly on.
In the final round Coverchuk was matched against 2019 PBR Canada Finals Bull of the Year Finning Lil Shorty, a bull the rider knew as he covered Finning Lil Shorty for 85 points during Round 2 of the 2016 PBR Canada National Finals.
And the battle went to Coverchuk again as he made the eight second buzzer for an 89.5 point ride to surge to No. 3 on the event leaderboard, and clinching the 2021 PBR Canada Championship earning a career-best $67,343.75 payday, and finishing the season 23.34 points ahead of runner-up Buttar.
“He was the perfect bull. I knew I had covered him ... he was just a little baby back the first time,” he said.
Since their first meeting Coverchuk noted Lil Shorty “kind of got a reputation for himself,” one that meant ride him and you score well, which is just what happened.
In the process Coverchuk became just the third multi-time national champion in league history as he was crowned the 2021 PBR Canada Champion, joining three-time title holder Aaron Roy of Yellow Grass, SK., and two-time Champion Zane Lambert of Ponoka, AB.
“Honestly, it hasn’t fully sunk in yet,” he said, adding this win was perhaps even sweeter than the first. “It feels really good to get this one.”
The latest win felt better in the sense of the challenges of getting to the finals after months of inactivity with COVID, said Coverchuk.
“My body got beat up not being in bull riding shape,” coming out of the lay-off, he explained, adding again it was a case of trying “to keep it simple ... to shut off the mind every time I get in the chute.”
Coverchuk added his “body knows what to do” when the gate opens and the bull starts to buck, so often it’s just fighting the internal urge to think too much noting it comes down at times to “fighting my head.”
Over time some bulls and even events can get in rider’s heads though.
“We try to say it doesn’t but it does. There are bulls you don’t like, but you’ve just got to take it jump for jump,” said Coverchuk.
The latest win has Coverchuk thinking it may be time to head to the big stage stateside to test himself against the best riders and rides in PBR.
“I definitely have my eye on it. I’ve always wanted to be in the PBR World Finals,” he said.