Toronto, June 26, 2017 – It was all fringed chaps, cowboy boots, and plaid shirts this past weekend. No, I’m not talking about the Gay Pride parade. Cowboy style was on full display at the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) competition in Toronto on Saturday night. The Monster Energy Canadian Tour debuted in 2016 as Canada’s first national series and this was the first time the event was held in Toronto. Hosted in five countries (Canada, United States, Mexico, Brazil and Australia) and available to more than 400 million homes globally, PBR has a huge fan base. Riders at the event earned two types of points, one towards the PBR Canada Championship and one towards the PBR World Standings. The rider who is crowned the PBR Canada Champion following the finals event earns a spot to compete in the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Finals, where they can then attempt to qualify for the main PBR World Finals field.
It’s one thing to watch PBR on TV and another to watch these guys flailing about in person. 1,500-pound bulls buck wildly out of the shoot attempting to launch these guys into the stands. I got my fare share of mud in the face and at least one bull charged towards me in the stands. Some of you might be stressing over the animals, but in all honesty PBR treats the bulls better than the bull riders. They get the best nutrition, are never overworked, and even receive chiropractic care and acupuncture as needed to keep them in top shape and feeling great. More on PBR animal welfare here.
Bull riders are required to wear a padded vest and some stylish leather chaps. Some riders choose to wear a cowboy hat, while others go for a hockey-style helmet. Spurs mounted on cowboy boots are also essential to anchor a rider’s feet. Scoring a bull ride comes down to judges awarding points based on both the bull rider and how the bull bucks. The more the bull kicks, the more it gets in the air, spins, and changes directions, the more points they can amass at the end of their eight-second ride.
Justin Lloyd (Tisdale, Saskatchewan) took honours as PBR’s first-ever Toronto event winner with an 86-point ride on Otis (Mike Miller Bucking Bulls). The 29-year-old’s winning ride occurred during the first round, and it tied his high-marked ride of the season. The finish comes after Lloyd placed second in Ottawa during the PBR Canada Monster Energy Tour’s second event of the year. Lloyd earned $5,810.55 and 450 points toward the Canadian National Standings. He is now ranked fourth in the PBR Canada standings and is just 520.83 points behind the No.1 position.
Lloyd also earned 80 points toward the world standings, lifting him from No. 60 to No. 45. Even more important, Lloyd is only 72.91 points behind No. 35 J.W. Harris and a bid on the prestigious Built Ford Tough Series. Tyler Harr (Hazen, Arkansas) earned his third second-place finish of the year after riding Last One Standing (Cornwell Bucking Bulls) for 85 points in Round 1. The finish earned him $4,389.67, 200 Canadian points and 50 points toward the world standings. Finishing third was Lachlan Richardson (Gresford, Australia). The 24-year-old rode Wild Mexican (Rafter P) for 84 points in Round 1. He picked up $2,968.80, 150 Canadian points and 30 world points.
Eli Byler (Nashville, Ohio) logged the highest-finish of his PBR career with his fourth-place effort. Byler made 8 seconds aboard True Grit (Mike Miller Bucking Bulls) in Round 1 for 82.5 points. Byler earned $2,164.95 and 100 points toward the Canadian National Standings. Rounding out the Top 5 was Marcos Antonio da Gloria (Central de Minas, Brazil). Gloria rode Wrongful Termination (Cornwell Bucking Bulls) for 81.5 points in Round 1. The finish earned the Brazilian $1,435.38 and 75 Canadian points. PBR Canada’s Monster Energy Tour now heads west, making its next stop in Calgary and the Agrium Western Events Centre on Sept. 23.
Check out some of our bull rider style captures and action shots. Full gallery at the bottom.
Photos: Spiro Mandylor, spiro.ca
PBR Toronto Gallery