YORKTON - The five riders for Team Canada for the upcoming PBR Global Cup have been announced, and the group is led by two-time Canadian Champion Cody Coverchuk from Meadow Lake, SK.
“I’m really honoured by the selection to be on this team,” Coverchuk told Yorkton This Week. “. . . It’s pretty exciting.”
Coverchuk was a rather natural selection to the team as the defending Canadian champion, a championship which had come down to the final ride of the 2021 season. Entering the final day of 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.
When Buttar was unable to finish because of an injury the door opened for Coverchuk.
In the final round Coverchuk was matched against 2019 PBR Canada Finals Bull of the Year Finning Lil Shorty, and the battle went to Coverchuk 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, finishing the season 23.34 points ahead of runner-up Buttar.
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.
Now Coverchuk and Buttar, the 2020 PBR Canada Champion, are teammates as the Kindersley rider was also named to Team Canada, along with Jared Parsonage from Maple Creek.
The other riders are Jordan Hansen from Okotoks, AB., and Brock Radford of De Winton, AB.
Parsonage and Radford have both earned three prior selections to Team Canada, while Hansen was a standout for the team in his two consecutive selections in both 2019 and 2020.
“I think we have the best five guys in Canada,” said Coverchuk.
Coverchuk said the five obviously know each other from traveling to PBR events, but this will be a different experience.
“It’s good to get down there and operate as a team for once. The team concept is pretty cool,” he said.
Personally, Coverchuk said he looks forward to doing better than he did when he was part of the team in 2017.
“The first time I was kind of star-struck,” he said, adding this time he feels more relaxed headed to the event. “. . . I just want to go in there and do my thing.”
Coverchuk also noted that there is a different feeling to be on Team Canada.
“Having your country riding on your back means a little bit more . . . It’s just the whole country riding on your back it seems like,” he said.
The team is coached by Prince Albert’s Tanner Byrne, a four-time PBR World Finals qualifier, and now professional bullfighter.
Coverchuk said Byrne appears well-suited the role as coach already beginning the process of team building too.
“He got us together in a group chat,” said Coverchuk, adding the coach has been doing “one-on-ones” with the riders too.
“He seems like he’s going to be a great coach,” he said, adding Byrne has a lot of connections in the PBR he can draw on for information on the bulls they’ll face.
The fifth edition of the PBR Global Cup, the only nation versus nation bull riding competition, will make its third stop at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas March 5. The team tournament debuted in Edmonton, Alberta, in November 2017, visited Sydney, Australia, in June 2018, and made subsequent stops in Arlington in February 2019 and 2020, related a PBR release.
“The 2022 PBR Global Cup USA will feature six teams representing Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the United States. For their home-nation advantage, the USA delegation will field two squads via the Eagles and all Native American Wolves,” noted the release.
Each team has a list of notable riders including Brazil’s Jose Vitor Leme arguably the best rider in the world today having won the PBR championship the last two years, and Stetson Lawrence and Keyshawn Whitehorse with Team USA Wolves.
“When you get there it’s the best,” said Coverchuk. “You know any of the guys can ride any one of the bulls on any given day.”
That said Coverchuk said Team Canada can be right there with the other teams.
“We’re not going down there to finish second,” he said.
“The 2022 PBR Global Cup USA will mark the first iteration of the event since 2020 when Team Canada rode to a fourth-place result. Historically, Team Canada has twice finished a national best third. They registered the bronze efforts at the inaugural event on home soil in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2017, and again in 2018 when they event travelled to Sydney, Australia,” detailed the PBR release.