EDMONTON, Alta. — When the dust settled Saturday night inside Rogers Place, Saskatchewan’s Dakota Buttar cemented his name in history, completing a come-from-behind surge to be crowned the 2023 Professional Bull Riders Canada champion, becoming just the fourth rider in history to win the title in multiple seasons.
The 2023 PBR Canada National Finals marked the richest iteration of the year-end event, awarding more than $225,000 to the competing riders, including a $100,000 bonus to Buttar as the year’s king-pin.
The event also proved to be one of the most successful for the 21 qualifying riders. They covered 58.66% of their draws, going 44-for-75 as all but two contenders made the 8 at least once.
Buttar, who won his first title in 2020, travelled to Edmonton for the 2023 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, having not competed in more than a month, suffering a broken collarbone following his early October Cup Series event win in Grande Prairie, Alta.
As a result of being sidelined, Buttar began the year-end event No. 3 in the standings, 95.66 points back of regular-season No. 1 Cody Coverchuk, also from Saskatchewan.
Proving he had not missed a step, Buttar first put points on the board in Round 1, when he covered Young Blood (X6 Ranch Bucking Cattle/Legend Rodeo Stock) for 84.75 points.
The reserved Saskatchewan native then delivered his second score in as many attempts as he went the distance aboard High Voltage (Wilson Rodeo) for 86 points.
Via the 2-for-2 showing on the opening night of action, Buttar rose to No. 2 in Canada, pulling within 57.66 points of the top spot.
Buttar returned to Rogers Place determined on Championship Saturday not to let another title slip through his fingers, a fate he suffered the past two seasons after entering the national finals No. 1 in Canada.
Quick to convert, Buttar recorded the fifth best score of Round 3, when he converted aboard Irish Rebel (Wilson Rodeo) for 85.5 points. The score earned Buttar the second pick in the championship round, an opportunity he used to select Time Marches On (Thompson Rodeo Livestock).
In a decision which proved dividends, Buttar remained in perfect time with the animal athlete, matching him jump-for-jump en route to the requisite 8 as the crowd erupted in raucous cheer. The 86.75-point score punctuated Buttar’s perfect 4-for-4 outing inside the home of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
Finishing the 2023 Canadian National Finals tied for second, Buttar, who earned 199 national points, vaulted to the No. 1 rank in the nation, crowned the 2023 PBR Canada Champion and earning the accompanying $100,000 bonus.
Buttar concluded the campaign 38.84 points ahead of 2022 PBR Canada Champion and this season’s No. 2 Nick Tetz, of Calgary.
Tetz 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 Unleash The Beast points during the season.
Tyler Craig, of Crossfield, Alta., was one of four riders to be flawless and won the 2023 PBR Canada National Finals, finishing 3.5 points ahead of runner-ups Buttar and 2023 PBR Australia Champion Macaulie Leather in the aggregate.
Craig was sensational in the first two rounds of competition, sweeping both Round 1 and Round 2, as he rode Black Mamba (Lazy P Rodeo) for 87 points and Times A Tickin (Thompson Rodeo Livestock) for 86.75 points.
While Craig’s 84.25-point ride on Moonwalk (Thompson Rodeo Livestock) tied for the 10th best of the round, the young Albertan remained atop the event leaderboard.
Holding the first selection in the championship-round bull draft, Craig architected a showdown with Built Tough (Thompson Rodeo Livestock). Poised, Craig nodded with confidence, remaining centred, as he reached the whistle for 88.5 points.
Courtesy of the golden finish, Craig earned a check for $40,937.50 and netted 335 national points. He concluded the 2023 season No. 4 in Canada, 130.5 points behind No. 1 Buttar.
Nebraska’s Conner Halverson was named the 2023 PBR Canada Rookie of the Year, finishing the season No. 14 in Canada. Halverson punctuated his first season in Canada going 3-for-4 at the national finals to conclude the event eighth.
Built Tough was crowned the 2023 Canadian Global Bull of the Year, also collecting a $10,000 bonus. The commanding bovine athlete concluded the regular season atop the standings with a 44.6-point average, 0.2 points ahead of No. 2 contender Langham Kid (Two Bit Bucking Bulls).
Built Tough’s outing in the championship round, which earned him a bull score of 43 points clinched him the year-end honour. He finished a razor-thin 0.04 points ahead of reserve Bull of the Year Blue Magic (Outlaw Buckers Rodeo Corp.).
Blue Magic and Grand Funk (Kinky Buckers) tied for the YETI ‘Built for the Wild’ Bull of the national finals. Each animal athlete posted a national finals-best 44-point bull score. Blue Magic earned the score when he teamed with Halverson for an event-best 89.75-point score in the championship round, while Grand Funk delivered the top marks in Round 2 when he upended Wyatt Gleeson, of Sundre, Alta., in 4.41 seconds in Round 2.
Nansen Vold was crowned the 2023 PBR Canada Stock Contractor of the Year for an unprecedented 10th time, including the past eight consecutive seasons.
For the first time, the Rose City Invitational in Camrose, Alta., was vote the PBR Canada Event of the Year.