Coverchuk prevails at Cold Lake Winter Series
by Phil Ambroziak
The 2015 rodeo season is just getting started and Meadow Lake’s Cody Coverchuk is already a champion.
Earlier this year, the 21-year-old bull rider competed in the first-ever Cold Lake Invitational Winter Series hosted by the Cold Lake Agricultural Society. The series included five individual events starting in January and wrapped up with the finals April 11. It was at this event Coverchuk claimed the top prize.
“I competed in the long round at every event and made it to the short round every time,” Coverchuk said. “I rode every bull in the long round, but was always bucked off in the short round until the last day. That was the one that counted – the one that was for all the marbles.”
In the finals, Coverchuk secured first place with 87 points. The runner-up was Neal Wallator from Drayton Valley, AB with 86 points.
“We’re so excited about Cody’s victory,” remarked Tina Birn, business facility manager with the Cold Lake Agricultural Society. “He’s competed at a number of our bull-a-ramas in recent years and we consider him to be a local boy. It was great to see a local boy take home the prize. We’ve held bull-a-ramas since 1993, but this is the first year we’ve held a series like this one. We wanted to prove to ourselves as an agricultural society and as volunteers we had the ability and all the right stuff to do the job. This group we have here is just phenomenal.”
Close to 160 cowboys competed in the series with riders coming from as far away as Fort St. John, B.C. Throughout the series, $30,000 in prize money was handed out including $9,500 at the finals. Of that, Coverchuk earned $6,000. The money was primarily generated through admission fees and 50/50 draws.
“With that kind of money on the line, the series attracted a good crop of riders,” Coverchuk said. “They took about 30 guys each time and I’m pretty sure there were more guys waiting in the wings. I even bowed out of a Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Canada event to go to this one because I felt I could make more money.”
Birn also said, once all the numbers have been tabulated from the inaugural event, it’s not unlikely to see planning soon begin for another series.
“Once everything is tallied up, we’ll look at putting another series together in the near future,” she said. “This was all our doing and not part of the traditional rodeo circuit, but also served as a great way for the riders to tighten up their skills.”
Coverchuk agreed, stating it was good practice heading into this year’s rodeo season which actually kicked off earlier this spring. This past weekend, Coverchuk was again in Alberta to compete at a Bull Riders Canada event. He also plans to compete in Meadow Lake during Stampede Week in June.
“It’s my goal to make it to the PBR Canada Built Ford Tough finals – last year I was one ride away from representing Canada at the PBR World finals in Las Vegas,” Coverchuk said. “My focus this year is on riding more short round bulls and on having more ups than downs overall.”
Coverchuk has been riding bulls for nine years. This year is his fourth year, however, as a professional rider.