By: Justin Felisko
July 26, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – If Stetson Lawrence’s 2015 performance in Big Sky, Montana, is any indication, anybody who makes their way to tourist destination 45 miles southwest of Bozeman will have another big attraction to see this weekend.
Lawrence has begun a new tradition this season of dancing to “Electric Pow Wow Drum,” a song by A Tribe Called Red. The band is a Canadian electronic music group, who blend instrumental hip hop, reggae, moombahton and dubstep-influenced dance music with elements of First Nations music, particularly vocal chanting and drumming.
Lawrence can claim about a quarter of Sioux and Chippewa descent in his blood and grew up in Williston, North Dakota, which is roughly 500 miles from Big Sky.
The 27-year-old forgets who had introduced him to A Tribe Called Red, but he began listening to the band quite frequently while at the gym and then decided to make it his into inside the bucking chutes.
“The dance,” Lawrence said with a smile this past spring. “I started using that Native American song. It kind of pumps me up a little bit. When I started playing that, Flint (Rasmussen) said, ‘If you are going to play this stuff, you have to dance with it and really show your heritage.’ So I said, ‘OK.’
In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, two-time World Champion Justin McBride joked during the CBS Sports Network broadcast, “That is the best celebration dance in the PBR right now,” following Lawrence’s 87-point ride on Lieutenant Dan.
“I started dancing and all of the fans started liking it.”
Rasmussen will be the entertainer in Big Sky and fans can watch the event exclusively on PBR LIVE on Friday and Saturday beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Lawrence is one of 15 riders ranked inside the Top 35 tentatively scheduled to be competing in Big Sky over the course of the two day events.
No. 8 Wallace de Oliveira, No. 9 Cooper Davis and No. 14 Robson Palermo highlight Top 15 riders are expected to compete in Big Sky.
Other previous Big Sky winners, Nathan Schaper (2014) and Brant Atwood (2012), are expected to ride.
Lawrence first unveiled his new riding song in Duluth, Georgia, this year at the Duluth Invitational.
“It is A Tribe Called Red. They are out of Canada,” Lawrence said. “They just kind of do techno beats to the native drums and stuff. It is kind of interesting. It is pretty cool. I like it. I will listen to it every now and then when I work out and stuff. It gets me jacked.”
Lawrence was pretty jacked up last year in Big Sky after he rode More Big Bucks for 90.5 points to win Round 2 of the BlueDEF Tour event. He finished 2-for-3 to win the event title as well.
“I hope I can repeat,” Lawrence said. “Honestly, the crowd has been crazy and they love it.”
Lawrence, who was traveling with his wife, T.K. to a barrel racing in Canada, heads to Big Sky 21st in the world standings and is 12-for-45 in 15 BFTS events this season. He has used the majority of the summer to rehab a partially torn left groin and this will be only his sixth PBR summer event.
He also has competed in a series of local rodeo events and will be competing at a rodeo in Calypso, Montana, Thursday night before heading to Big Sky.
The Big Sky BlueDEF Tour event is the reigning three-time PBR Event of the Year and takes place in the heart of the Big Sky Town Center at Sage Brush Field.
The outdoor man-made venue is engulfed by the Rocky Mountains and is one of the most picturesque events on the PBR calendar.
“This year they got a sponsor to pay our entry fees, so that was awesome,” Lawrence said. “Chad brings good bulls guys want to get on. It is a pretty even pen. It’s a BlueDEF event so you can earn a lot of points and win a good amount of money. They have cool prizes too. They usually give away a guitar, a bronze and a couple of other items.”
Every year event promoter Andy Watson organizes a series of recreational activities for the bull riders competing in Big Sky and Livingston, Montana, to attend in between events. In the past, Watson has taken the riders fly fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, zip lining and to Yellowstone National Park.
Watson confirmed on Wednesday that riders can expect a fun-filled week once again this year.
The Livingston Classic PBR Touring Pro Division event takes place on Aug. 6.
Lawrence plans on competing in Livingston and will possibly ride at the TPD event in Missoula, Montana, on Aug. 10.
The goal is to make sure he is clicking on all cylinders, and healthy, once the second half of the Built Ford Tough Series begins on Aug. 19 in Nashville with the Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires.
“I plan on making a run for it,” Lawrence said, “but I am just going to take it one bull at a time. I am ready to regroup and get on a hot streak.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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