Bull rider achieves dream

by Terry Villeneuve

Meadow Lake’s Cody Coverchuk is headed to the big leagues.

The 19-year-old bull rider recently learned that he has qualified for the Professional Bull Riders 2013 Built Ford Tough Series when it resumes competition Aug. 16-17 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“I was chosen because I had won the most money from three incentive bull riding events here in Canada over in Alberta,” said Coverchuk, who picked up $3,478 in total winnings from the PBR Canada Touring events in Paradise Valley, Edgerton and Kinsella. He was the runaway winner as the second-place rider only garnered $2,307. “I just drew good and I was riding good at that time.”

It’s been a life-long dream of Coverchuk’s to make it this far in the sport.

“I remember watching the PBR on TV when I was little, hoping one day I’d be able to ride in it,” he said.

Just how big is this?

“Well, it’s the best 35 bull riders in the world, plus Cody. These are our top 35 from our standings, and they come from the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Australia as well as Canada combined,” said Denise Abbott from the PBR public relations office in Pueblo, Colo. “So for a Canadian kid to ride there is really huge. It’s not something anyone else can get. But, you have to earn it, and he did.”

Coverchuk will be one of only two Canadians competing in Tulsa – the other is Ty Pozzobon of Merrit, B.C.

Also scheduled to compete is defending PBR Tulsa event champion Kody Lostroh, the 2009 PBR World Champion, and four other PBR World Champions: Silvano Alves (2012, 2011), Renato Nunes, (2010), Guilherme Marchi (2008) and Mike Lee (2004). Fan favourites J.B. Mauney, Luke Snyder and current No. 1 ranked Shane Proctor are expected, along with young guns Chase Outlaw, Jory Markiss and Marco Eguchi. With this talent in the arena, the competition is sure to be fearless and intense. Each man will be fighting for the win with a determination unmatched and unseen in any other sport.

What can Coverchuk expect?

“This is as big as it gets. Anything bigger than this would be our world finals. The PBR has 26 shows this year, and it’s in major cities only,” added Abbott. “Tulsa is the 18th stop on the BFTS this season and kicks off the second half of the season for the PBR. The last event was held in Las Vegas May 10-11. It’s not uncommon for the winner to take home close to $50,000 from one of our events.”

As for his goal for the Tulsa event, Coverchuk wants to make qualified rides on his first two bulls as well as win prize money.

“I just want to make that short round, the finals on Saturday night, and I’d really like to get on Asteroid – I’ve always wanted to get on the rankest bull in the world,” he said. “The event has a lot of prize money, so I hope I can win some of it. If I do, I understand I’ll be able to stay on the (BFTS) tour for another five events.”

The Tulsa PBR will be televised live on CBS Sports Network, and also re-broadcast Sept. 28 in Canada on TSN2.

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