Finals Watch: Veteran Canadian Roy has Finals in his Sights and his Fellow Rider’s Support

By: Kristian Limas
October 03, 2016

Aaron Roy's finish at the Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic was his best since January. Photo: Andy Watson /

Aaron Roy’s finish at the Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic was his best since January. Photo: Andy Watson /

EUGENE, Ore. – Aaron Roy can be equal parts understated and prominent. At 5’11” he’s one of the taller riders on the Built Ford Tough Series, so he’s easy to spot in a crowd.

And though he’s 27th in the world standings, right around the middle of the table, he’s one of the most accomplished bull riders on the BFTS.

Roy is best known as a three-time PBR Canada Champion, and a five-time winner of the Glen Keeley Award, given to the best Canadian bull rider in the BFTS during that given season.

But even with all the accolades, Roy usually keeps things quiet. Like any other bull rider, the 29-year-old from Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan, focuses on just riding his bulls and doing his best.

Roy is also no stranger to the Built Ford Tough World Finals, competing in six over the course of his career, and with only three regular-season events left until Las Vegas, he has his eyes on a seventh appearance.

“It’s kind of the same deal if you’re in the Top 10 or Top 5,” Roy said. “If you try too hard you’re going to fall into that rut and fall off a lot, so you just have to relax and take it one bull at a time.”

The approached worked pretty well for Roy, who finished fifth in the Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic this past weekend in Eugene, Oregon. Roy picked up a total of 180 points toward the world standings after a 2-for-3 performance, including an 82.5-point ride on Can’t Get Right in Round 2.

It was his best finish since January in New York when he finished fourth at the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden. Though it wasn’t anything that will light up a scoreboard, it was a workman-like performance that helped Roy get in position for World Finals, where the stakes get a lot higher.

“It’s the name of the game for everybody,” Roy said. “It’s staying on bulls. It’s not an easy job but it’s a job we have to overcome every time.”

At this point of the season, world standings points are at a premium, and any way a rider can bank them helps. Considering a round win at World Finals can net a rider 300 points and over 1,000 points are available for winning the average, putting yourself in a position to succeed in Las Vegas is as solid a play as any.

That’s something that is not lost on the veteran Roy.

“Once you get on that run there’s a lot of jam at the top and a lot of jam at the bottom,” Roy said. “After a couple of good rides you could move up five or 10 spots every time.”

Through 24 events this season, Roy has gone 16-for-61 equaling out to a 24.59% riding percentage. He’s pretty far removed from his 2008 season where he went 23-for-46 and a career-best 50% riding percentage. That said, he has learned how to deal with slumps over the course of his career.

“There’s a lot of guys that do things differently, some work out harder, others get on more practice bulls,” Roy said. “When I got in a slump it was just me riding through it. I felt like I was riding good it was just getting the cards to fall the right way for me to get going. I felt like I did that in Charlotte and now I feel as good as I did at the start of the year and I hope that continues.”

Since Charlotte, Roy has ridden four of his last 10, which bodes well for him. Breaking out of a slump with the World Finals right around the corner is always a good time to get hot, and he will head to Nampa, Idaho, for the Dewalt Flexvolt Invitational riding some good vibes.

“It’s important when you get on that roll and you feel like you can’t buck off anything,” Roy said. “It’s a really good time too to get on a roll going into Finals. It just feels really good.”

Roy liked to credit the guys in the locker room for keeping his spirits as well. Bull riding is unique in that, while it’s not a team sport, the locker room culture is one that supports fellow riders no matter where they are from. That makes a big difference for guys.

“We are all a pretty huge family here,” Roy said. “We’re not really competing against each other, we’re there to help each other and cheer everybody on so when somebody does good and they’re behind you you’re there too helping them get on and cheering for them.”

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