Byrne confident in World Championship chances despite early injury
Missing an event due to an injury wasn’t the way that Tanner Byrne wanted to start the 2017 season, but that’s the reality the 24-year-old Canadian faces after fracturing his shoulder while training on some practice bulls earlier this week.
“I was getting on some practice bulls at my house to try to get tuned up for the PBR season, which starts this weekend in New York and Madison Square Garden, so I figured I should be ready to go,” said Byrne during an interview with Everything Cowboy, referring to the PBR’s annual Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden kick-off event.
As one of the top 35 bull riders in the world last year, the Prince Albert, Sask. product earned an automatic spot in the first eight Built Ford Tough Series events, including this weekend’s kick-off in the Big Apple.
That all changed on Saturday, though, when a bull stepped on Byrne’s shoulder while the young gun was training in the indoor arena at his home.
“I made a pretty good ride but kind of underestimated a good, young bull of ours that just got better as he went,” Byrne recalled, noting that when the bull threw him off, he landed right underneath the animal.
“It was just kind of a freak deal. His back foot stepped right on the back of my left shoulder blade, which is my free arm and wrecked it a little bit. Fractured my shoulder blade and a couple other things in that same area.”
Luckily, he said, it doesn’t look like the injury will keep him on the sidelines for too long.
“No surgery or nothing like that,” he said.
Still, it will be at least a couple of weeks before he’s back riding bulls.
“I’m in a sling here right now. Got ‘er propped up in a position for it to heal that the doctors think is best. They told me just not to do anything at all for a week to 10 days and see how it is then.”
When asked about a potential timeline for his return, Byrne said there’s no definitive answer but he’s hoping to be back in action for the BFTS event in Oklahoma City on Jan. 21st.
“Normally these things take four weeks, I guess, to heal but I think that if I get it healed up and get it strong enough and work harder at it, I’m going to be closer to two to three weeks.”
The way the PBR point system works, the injury shouldn’t affect Byrne’s chances at returning to the BFTS World Finals this season.
Once he’s back in action, the Canadian cowboy will be hitting the ground running as he guns for his first ever PBR World Championship.
“I think it’s just a little bit of a setback on the season. It gives some of them guys a head start but I’ll come in strong a couple of events later,” Byrne said adding that now he’s in his sixth year on the tour, he’s feeling a lot more confident in himself.
“I feel like I’ve grown as a bull rider and with my confidence and the support system and team I’ve got behind me, it’s not a pipe dream to say that I could be World Champion.”