YORKTON - When the final bull was back in the pens and the judges scores were tabulated, Calgary cowboy Nick Tetz emerged as the 2022 PBR Canada champion.
“It feels – to be completely honest – like nothing really has changed. I don’t think it’s actually sunk in yet,” said Tetz in an interview with Yorkton This Week Wednesday.
Tetz said it might be because the championship has been on his mind for ages.
“I’ve had this written on my white board in my workout room for the last three years,” he said. “In my head I always kind of knew I could do this.”
Tetz is a huge believer in writing down goals, something he has done since he turned pro as a rider, generally listing three or four major goals for the year, and then adding a few smaller goals so as not to get overly focused on only the big stuff.
The championship was of course a big goal.
“It’s something I set out to do,” said Tetz, adding it is certainly a check mark off his ‘to-do’ list.
Tetz said the championship helps solidify his place in the sport in Canada, which he said is important in his mind, He said he wants to be well-established in Canada, a success at the sport here, before making a hard charge PBR stateside.
Tetz said often it’s just a case of avoiding what he termed “moments of self-sabotage,” things such as letting the idea creep into the mind “that you don’t deserve to win, or you end up thinking you made the whistle and grab (the release rope) early.”
Tetz went into the finals ranked number two in the nation, 21 points behind Saskatchewan’s Dakota Buttar, who went into the finals for the second straight year leading the pack, but was it a number two ranking a bit under the radar with Meadow Lake’s Cody Coverchuk after a third straight title, Buttar in the lead and fans hoping Zane Lambert would retire in a blaze of bull riding glory?
“I don’t think so,” said Tetz, adding when he went four-for-four at the Lethbridge Cup in mid-September, he sort of served notice he was a contender and sport media took notice.
As for Lambert, a Canadian bull riding icon who had announced he was retiring after the finals, Tetz said had the fates been kind he would have won in Edmonton.
“I think everybody wanted Zane to go out and win the finals. If anybody should have won the finals it should have been Zane. He such a great person to all of us,” he said.
While Lambert didn’t have the storied finish, he might have played a subtle role in Tetz’s win.
The finals did not have an auspicious start for Tetz when in Round 1, he was bucked off by Look Alive (Flying Four Bucking Bulls) in 5.19 seconds.
Tetz said in back of the chutes it was Lambert who reminded Tetz he had three more bulls, “Make them count.”
And, things did go better in Round 2, on Langham Kid (Two Bit Bucking Bulls), with Tetz winning the round as he scored a massive 88 points.
When the dust settled following the first two rounds, Tetz netted 20 national points to hone within 13.5 points of No. 1 Buttar. `
On day two in Round 3, the two front runners both hit the arena dirt before the eight second whistle.
It all then came down to the championship round.
Buttar had his chance at a second national championship go by the wayside when he was sent airborne by Langham Kid in a swift 2.65 seconds, ending his run for a second year – in 2021 injuries kept him from riding after one round and his lead disappeared.
As the fourth man out in the final round, Tetz was in a must-ride position atop Brand New Guitar (Wild Hoggs Bucking Bulls).
Tetz said it wasn’t a moment of extra pressure, adding he always wondered what it would be like in a ‘must ride” situation.
“I really didn’t think I had much of a shot,” he said. “. . . I was just going out there to try and get some round money.”
In the end Tetz said was just a matter of doing his job.
“I didn’t really change anything. You end up getting on so many so you just focus on not getting bucked off,” he said.
It comes down to just enjoying the moment too.
“When you’re having fun you’re usually doing good,” said Tetz.
Tetz reached the whistle marking 88 points, which would prove enough as other contenders fell by the wayside leaving Tetz the champion earning a $50,000 bonus in the process.
“It all ended up working out,” he said.
As for what lies ahead, Tetz said he hasn’t written down goals for 2023 yet, but did add he expects to head stateside in January for some PBR Velocity Tour events, with an eye to making the top UTB roster.
Maple Creek’s Jared Parsonage also put together a notable final.
Parsonage first put points on the board in the opening rounds riding Slingin Stones (Flying High Rodeo Co.) for 84.5 points in Round 1 and Jayded (Vold Rodeo) for 82.5 points in Round 2.
Then on Championship Saturday he surged to the top of the event leaderboard when he won Round 3 via an 88.5-point ride on Hard Not To Get (Vold Rodeo).
With the first pick in the championship round bull draft, Parsonage elected to go head-to-head with Al Capone (Wild Hoggs/Sure Fire). In a decision which proved dividends, Parsonage logged the high-marked ride of the event, scored 89 points to clinch the PBR Canada National Finals event win.
The golden finish earned him 152 national points, propelling him from No. 12 to No. 9 in the national standings, while also earning him $39,531.25.
Phantom Fury (Wild Hoggs Bucking Bulls) was crowned both the Canadian Global Bull of the Year and YETI “Built For the Wild” Bull of the Canadian Finals.
Phantom Fury capped the season with a 44.5-point average, finishing 0.25 points ahead of runner-up bovine athlete Langham Kid (Two Bit Bucking Bulls).
Griffin Smeltzer (Claresholm, Alberta) was awarded the Glen Keeley Award for the first time in his young career. This award goes to the Canadian bull rider earning the most world points during the season.