PUEBLO, Colo. – The PBR Canadian Finals begin on Friday night at the SaskTel Center and there will plenty of riders who competed on the 2014 Built Ford Tough Series riding.
Tanner Byrne (3), Zane Lambert (9), Chase Outlaw (11), Jason Malone (13), Nathan Schaper (17) and Ty Pozzobon (18) are BFTS regulars that concluded the 2014 PBR Canada season within the Top 20 of the Canadian Standings and are scheduled to ride starting on Friday night at the $40,000-added event.
However, Stetson Lawrence – the rider who dominated the majority of the summer Canada events – will be unable to compete due to his partially torn left PCL that he hurt at the Built Ford Tough World Finals last month attempting to ride King Buck during the third round.
Lawrence has already clinched the PBR Canada championship and is planning on still being in attendance in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
“Yeah, it was a goal for sure,” Lawrence said. “Basically winning that many in a row close to home went a long way toward me qualifying for the Built Ford Tough Series.”
Lawrence used six summer Touring Pro Division wins – five coming at PBR Canada events – to surge his way into the Top 35 of the world standings and earn a spot full time on the BFTS for the second half of the season. He then used a career-high, fifth-place finish in Laughlin, Nevada, and an eighth-place performance the next week in Oakland, California, to eventually qualify for his first World Finals.
He also pointed out that winning over $50,000 – he won a total of $51,309.08 in Canada in 2014 – also helped him have enough money to travel to the nine BFTS events he competed in during the second half.
He placed 18th at Finals and finished 2014 ranked 29th in the world standings. He competed in a career-high 12 BFTS events and posted four Top-10 finishes. He will start 2015 on the BFTS for the first time in his career.
“It will be a lot easier starting up there and be a little bit more relaxing being able to try and contend for a world (title),” Lawrence said. “It’s a big relief that I made it and all my hard work has paid off.”
According to Lawrence, he is planning on being ready to go in time for the 2015 Built Ford Tough Series opener in Baltimore, Maryland, on Jan. 2-3.
“My PCL is feeling better,” Lawrence said. “I just don’t want to risk completely tearing it this weekend.”
That kind of Canadian success is another reminder to riders the value that comes with competing at Touring Pro Division or BlueDEF Velocity Tour events during the BFTS break. Even though the majority of the BFTS riders take November and December off, some have seen the value in trying to get a head start on 2015.
Such is the case for Chase Outlaw, who just last week rode in San Diego at the BlueDEF Velocity Tour event.
Outlaw won two PBR Canada events this year, taking home the event titles in Ponoka, Alberta, and Merritt, British Columbia, and earned the third-most amount of money in PBR Canada with $26,526.74.
“I was sitting second in the Canadian world standings last year and I hurt my knee so I didn’t go,” Outlaw said. “(This year) I am sitting pretty good, and, man, I have done awesome in Canada every time I go.”
He is set to face E.W’s BONESS in Round 1.
Outlaw says he understands the importance of taking a break, but right now he feels “fantastic” and wants to keep competing.
“It’s the start of the new year,” he said. “Shoot, if you stay at the house there is somebody else moving ahead of you. So if you feel good you might as well be here.”
News and Notes
Byrne, the 2014 Glen Keeley award winner, is third in the standings after winning four PBR Canada events in 2014…Lambert, the 2013 PBR Canada National Champion, is currently ninth in the standings and posted two PBR Canada wins…Pozzobon said last week at the BlueDEF Velocity Tour event that he will likely have to undergo surgery at some point this offseason on his sports hernia.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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