Another pair of events down in the Canadian rodeo season, and one trend is starting to show itself. The bulls are winning.
With only a handful of qualified rides in the season so far, and only five last weekend between Camrose and Coleman, the guys that found themselves on top speak out.
Strathmore’s Scott Schiffner took home the top spot in both Coleman, with a 90 point ride and splitting first in Camrose with young gun Lonnie West on Brahma Boots Chrome and spoke about the changing landscape of bull riding in Canada.
“In the last ten years, the bulls have gotten so unbelievably good, and the riders just can’t keep up. It’s not that guys in Canada can’t ride, it’s just that we haven’t been able to keep up,” Schiffner told EverythingCowboy.com.
“The averages are darn sure lower from when I got started. It was nothing to get an 80 and not place at a rodeo. But that rodeo was being won on an 83 or 84 score. Now rodeos are being won on 90 point rides, or 87.5. When guys do stay on it goes to show you they are great rides.”
And while Schiffner admitted that having the best stock going is not nessesarily a negative, he does say it makes it tough to get young guys to develop their skills.
“Right now, it’s no hidden secret, bulls now are getting raised, dummied at yearlings, dummied at two years old and are ready to buck at a long two. They put 15 year olds on exceptional bulls and they drill their heads in the ground. If you consistently lose, by getting beat up or hurt, you don’t want to do it anymore,” Schiffner said.
“Any other sport, they train you from a young age. In hockey, they don’t send you in the corner with the best forward in the NHL. You are going to get run over, and you aren’t going to want to go in the corner anymore. They tell me it’s too expensive to keep and feed bulls that aren’t superstars, but we need to keep these ones around for the younger generation to learn on. If you don’t keep them to get on, there won’t be any bull riders to ride your superstars.”
West, who took home rookie of the year honors and qualified for the Canadian Finals agreed with Schiffner adding that it gives a guy a real boost when they ride.
Knowing they are up against some of the best bulls in the game, both West and Schiffner will take on Hookum from John Duffy this weekend at the Drayton Valley Pro Rodeo.
“I don’t really know much about that bull, but I have seen him a little bit last year,” Schiffner said. “I talked to Tanner Girletz, and he said he bucked him off and shouldn’t have. All that is good news.”
West is relying on video of the Duffy bull, but said he is a good draw for a guy to win a rodeo on.
“He should be somewhere in that 83-84 range, so that is a good thing, should be a good one,” he said.
West will be making his first stop at Drayton Valley tonight, a rodeo only in its second year on the professional circuit.
“I really tip my hat to committees like that, it is easy in anything to get comfortable and stay where you are at, and for them to step up to the plate to put on a professional rodeo, my hat is off to them,” Schiffner said.