'The whole community gets behind this event': Nipawin hosts PBR

NIPAWIN — Prince Albert bull rider Tanner Byrne gave up his title to Jake Lockwood at the 7th annual Nipawin Professional Bull Riders (PBR).

Byrne said while it “sucked” to lose the title, he was happy with how he did. He tied for third place.

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“This sport is a very humbling sport,” Byrne said. “It’s a lot of the bull you get and you take advantage of it. We had some really good bulls in the final round… I just didn’t get my job done in the short round, but the long round felt solid.

He said his problem was being off-centre on the short round.

“I just got behind a little on a bull that was really bucking and those short round type bulls, if you’re half a step behind, there’s no room for error. And that’s what I did. I got a little bit behind on the first one, and I got a little bit forward on the second one.”

“I knew if I stayed on I was going to win for sure. If I made a mistake like I did I was going to get bucked off.”

Right now Byrne is on break from a tour through the US that started on January.

“I’m actually flying to London, Ont. tomorrow and I ride there tomorrow night,” he said. “I’ll be back next year.”

He is trying to gather as many points as he can at different rodeos so he can take the Canadian title.

Nipawin’s event worked in his favour, as some riders didn’t show up, which allowed riders to enter twice.

While this meant he had to ride four times, two in the short round and two in the long round, it gave him two competitions’ worth of points.

In the Canadian standings, Byrne rose from number 18 to number 14.

He intends to return next year with a shot of taking back the title.

“I feel like I have the hometown local support of a guy that was born and raised in Nipawin,” Bryne said.

Lockwood, the new Nipawin PBR champion, is 19 and comes from the United States.

“It was good to win, so couldn’t be any happier,” Lockwood said.

He has been riding professionally for about a year. The Nipawin event was his first PBR win.

He stayed on all four bulls for the time limit.

“The first one went away from my hand, and those are usually harder to ride, supposedly, but the second one – he was just nice into my hands.”

Lockwood intends to return next year for a shot at keeping the title.

Jason Davidson, director of operations for PBR Canada, said he felt this year’s event went over well.

“The bulls were probably the best they’ve been here in the last couple years, I think,” Davidson said. “The riders, they came prepared to stay on the rides. That’s the best combination you can ask for as a promoter and producer at our events.”

Half of the points the rider can earn comes from the performance and challenge the bull gives.

“You’re looking for a bull with a lot of kick and spin, and I think we saw that out of most of them today.”

“We always remember the crowd. I think we had a few more this year. We always love coming to Nipawin – the bull riders love coming. It’s just a great atmosphere. It’s very well received here.”

“I think what I love about Nipawin is the whole community gets behind this event. Not just with the volunteer base, but you can tell with the crowd. It’s been sold out or near sold out every year since we started seven years ago. I think we created some legit PBR fans up here in Nipawin.”

Byrne said he’s proud of the community.

“I didn’t have to drive very far,” Bryne said. “Usually I have to get on an airplane and fly across Canada and the US to go to an event, and we have a world-class event right here in Nipawin. You see good crowds and you see the community get behind it.”

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