YORKTON - Bull riding under the banner of PBR is increasingly a worldwide sport and looking to build on that PBR Australia and Canada announced earlier this year that a pair of athletes would compete in the other nation’s year-end finals.
That means Brock Radford and Nick Tetz will carry the Canadian colours into the 2022 PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals being held in Townsville, Queensland at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre Nov. 25-26. The Australian Grand Finals will award more than $120,000 AUD in prize money, including a matching $50,000 bonus to the 2022 PBR Australian Champion.
“It’s very exciting. I love it,” said Radford in a recent interview with Yorkton This Week. “I’m lucky and blessed I get to go.”
While getting a trip to Australia to ride bulls paid for is huge personally, Radford said he appreciates the importance of the exchange in regards to the growth of PBR.
“I think it’s great for the sport. I hope they keep doing it. I feel it has a huge upside,” he said.
While winning of course tops the list of what the trip is all about, for Radford there is also an added bonus that will have him returning in a sense to his family roots.
“My dad is Australian,” explained the De Winton, Alta., cowboy, adding his grandparents, and various aunts, uncles and cousins still reside ‘Down Under.’
The opportunity to ride at the Australian finals will be a chance to perform in front of family for Radford, family who have generally only seen him ride in video.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said, adding he plans to stay on in Australia for a few days, and do some ‘crabbing’ with family, before flying back to Canada.
Radford said while he has ridden bulls in Australia in the past, it will be an entirely new experience for Tetz.
So, how do you prepare for an event where it’s likely you have not seen live, let alone ridden, any of the bulls in the pen?
“Pretty much a bull’s a bull,” offered Radford, who then went on to note there are a few wrinkles with Australian bulls.
To start there are Banteng cross bulls.
“They have a little different build,” said Bradford, suggesting the Banteng is sort of a water buffalo-like breed.
And, then you see more Brahma cross bulls Down Under too.
“They have that big hump,” said Radford, adding you can actually end up riding with your chest right up against the hump.
But, in the end riding a bull is the same in the sense you have to stay with whatever moves the animal makes.
Of course in Canada a rider might have a ‘book’ on the bulls, which at least suggests how it typically jumps, but when he gets to Australia Radford will go in cold.
Luckily the bullriding fraternity is a close one, and other riders are usually willing to provide some insights when asked. Radford said Australian riders have gotten help when riding in Canada and he fully expects they will reciprocate in helping himself and Tetz.
Of course there is national pride on the line too.
“There’s always that competitive aspect to it ... bragging rights are on the line,” said Radford.
During the 2022 PBR Australia Grand Finals, each rider will get on two bulls per night in Rounds 1-2 on Friday, November 25, and Rounds 3-4 on Saturday, November 26. Following Round 4 on Saturday evening, the Top 8 riders will then advance to the championship round.
While Radford and Tetz ready to head south Australians Qynn Andersen (Koumala, Queensland) and Jake Curr (Mount Isa, Queensland) rode at the PBR Canada National Finals on Nov. 11-12 in Edmonton.
Both young athletes Down Under are chasing their first PBR Australia Championship. Andersen earned the berth as the No. three-ranked rider in Australia, while Curr was presently No. five.
“It means a great deal to ride bulls and compete over in Canada as well as representing my home country,” said Andersen in a PBR release ahead of the finals.
“It’s an honour to represent Australia in the PBR Canada National Finals,” said Curr in the same release. “I’m looking forward to riding alongside international riders.”