By: Justin Felisko
April 29, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Tanner Byrne crouched over and hustled off the dirt inside Wells Fargo Arena last Saturday night holding his right arm.
Ram It had just bucked him off in 4.68 seconds and stepped on his right forearm in the process.
Concerned that he might have potentially broken his riding arm, the 23-year-old didn’t waste any time sticking around for the final day of competition, instead opting to head home to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to schedule an X-ray.
He received good news Monday.
“Arm is good,” he said. “I got X-rays (Monday) to determine that it wasn’t broken, which is always a good thing. It is just swollen up a bunch, but no damage in there. Not much movement yet, but it is definitely getting better every day. It is nothing to worry about.”
Byrne is now focusing on letting his body heal up so that he is ready to help coach at next week’s Fifth Annual Luke Snyder and Jesse Byrne Bull Riding and Bull Fighting School.
The Byrnes are expecting roughly 20 bull riders and another five or so bullfighters.
The two-day school is one of a series of events taking place in Prince Albert next week that are built around the Clunie Cooper PBR Touring Pro Division event on Friday and Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre.
The PBR Canada event is held in memory of Max Clunie, Tanner’s brother-in-law, who passed away in a 2011 plane crash with fellow rodeo enthusiast Wade Cooper and others.
“It is a week where the town goes all PBR,” Byrne said. “It is one of those events you look forward to all year. Everyone gets to come out and celebrate the lives of those men and the whole city gets behind it. It is an event I am very, very proud to be a part of.”
Byrne is unsure if he will be able to compete at the TPD event because of his injuries. The third-year pro wants to be as healthy as possible for the final PBR Major and Built Ford Tough Series event of the first half – Last Cowboy Standing.
Last Cowboy Standing is headlining Las Vegas Helldorado Days on May 13-14.
“I am still questionable on (Prince Albert) just because of all of the bumps and bruises form the first half,” Byrne said. “I want to be healthy and ready going into Vegas. I would love to ride in my hometown event. I am entered into it and we’ll just have to see how I feel a few days before it.”
Byrne is 10th in the world standings courtesy of two BFTS event victories (Anaheim, California, and Duluth, Georgia,) and a 42.5-percent riding average (17-for-40).
Aaron Roy, Nathan Schaper, Stetson Lawrence and Jess Lockwood are all expected to compete at The Clunie Cooper PBR Touring Pro Division event, which is also the first ever ABBI Canada Classic event.
Some of the top 3- and 4-year-old Canadian bucking bulls will be testing their merit next weekend.
“This is the first year the ABBI has been in Canada and my dad (Ryan Byrne) and father in law (Rusty Clunie) have been instrumental in bringing it up here,” Byrne said. “This is the first event in Canada that is going to be a Classic event like we have at the Built Ford Tough events. We are just trying to help grow the sport and make some better steps forward for the bull industry up here in Canada.”
Byrne and Roy are one of two Canadian-born riders competing on the BFTS this season and he believes the addition of ABBI Canada to PBR Canada events is only going to help not only the bull business, but the riders as well.
“It is huge,” Byrne said. “Before there were tons of guys up here with bulls, but we had no way to show them off or to win money with. You just hoped you had a superstar and there was usually one a year out of the hundreds of bulls you could sell to a contractor in the U.S. Now with the Classics and derbies coming in, we have a chance to take our bulls and win money with them every weekend and take them to Vegas for the big show.”
There are multiple bulls already competing on the Built Ford Tough Series with Canadian ties such as Sheep Creek, Seven Dust, Moto Moto, Shoot Out The Lights, Pound the Alarm, Hey Jack, Bad Touch, Torch and Dead Calm.
Byrne remembers a time where riders would have to double enter a PBR Canada event to fill out the entire bull riding roster. Now PBR Canada is making big strides in 2016 as the tour begins to grow in scope, size and popularity.
Byrne says there were 57 entries for the first night and 63 for the second in Prince Albert.
“The PBR in Canada is growing,” Byrne said. “Every event they have had up here in Canada so far has been full, so obviously the PBR and ABBI Canada has a bright future up here.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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