SASKATOON, Saskatchewan – After 16 months away from the sport of bull riding because of a broken back sustained at the 2013 Calgary Stampede, Aaron Roy made a triumphant return to the PBR Canadian Finals last November, winning the event.
One year later, Roy returns to the Sasktel Centre with a full season under his belt on the Built Ford Tough Series.
“I never would have thought I would have won the event last year coming back off injury,” Roy said. “This year was an alright year. I would have liked to do a lot better. I let some bulls buck me off that probably shouldn’t have but I can’t complain.”
In 2015, Roy accumulated $87,000 and 992.5 points in season earnings to finish 27th in the world standings.
He now has seven PBR World Finals qualifications to his name.
“I didn’t have the Finals I wanted really to, but it was a lot better than the last time I went to the Finals (in 2012). I got skunked by all five bulls.” Roy said. “This year was better. I rode one and I started with a bunch of good rides. It was just small mental errors or just plain getting bucked off. That happens. Overall it was alright, I’m not going to complain. I had fun a lot of fun all year with the guys I was rooming with and traveling with. It was a good year in my books.”
The Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan, native spent the second half of the year on the road with Stetson Lawrence, Nathan Schaper and J.W. Harris.
“We’re pretty much neighbors,” Roy joked of the pair of North Dakota bull riders. “If I could go straight south I’d be an hour and a half right to Stetson’s house from my house. I have to go over a little bit over to the border so it ends up being two hours. I’m three hours straight north of Nathan.”
As for the four-time PRCA champion, Harris had already been rooming with Schaper and Lawrence.
“I’ve always travelled a little bit with Stetson and Nathan,” Roy said. “The three of us were driving to Colorado Springs and we just decided from then on that after the break we were going to stay together as were traveling pretty much from the same area, except for J.W., but we all share a room.”
For Roy, traveling with three other riders who finished the season in the Top 10, the benefits showed.
“It’s surprising how much better you ride when you’re staying with guys that are pushing you along, helping you, making you get better at the sport you’re doing. Plus you’re having fun while you’re doing it,” Roy added.
Having a positive attitude and support has been instrumental in Roy’s return and overcoming of the injury.
“It doesn’t bother me at all anymore,” Roy said. “I’ve pretty much had everything happen to me except for getting hit directly in the back, which I don’t plan on doing anytime soon. But nothing bothers me, nothing has even been sore, so it doesn’t even come into my mind anymore at all.”
Roy’s wife, Hallie, has witnessed the saga from the day of the injury to the return. She and their son, Axel, were traveling north with Aaron Thursday on their way to Saskatoon. It looks like she might have another bull rider on her hands too.
“Axel goes everywhere with his cowboy hat on. It’s not in the best of shape, but he doesn’t let it out of his sight too often. He’s got into the habit where we’ve got to be the bucking bull for him now and he’ll ride for hours on end. Hallie doesn’t really like that she has to be the bucking bull most of the time,” Aaron chuckled. “She’s not liking the fact that he’s hooked on that, but other than that she’s doing really good.”
Luckily Hallie and Aaron get out of being the bull sometimes too thanks to a couple toys.
“He’s got a little air filled cow he calls Betsy that he rides around and kind of like a spring horse that’s a bull from Peavy Mart,” Roy said of Axel.
Upon arriving in Saskatoon, the three-time PBR Canada Champion takes on Wanderlust in Round 1 of the PBR Canadian Finals on Friday night.
The 10th edition of the Dakota Dunes Casino 2015 PBR Canadian Finals, presented by New Holland, concludes Saturday night at the Sasktel Centre.
“I actually saw him when he first come around the year I got hurt. I saw him there and I thought he was really good and then I haven’t really seen him too much since.” Roy said of Wanderlust. “I saw Tanner Girletz ride him at Ty Pozzobon’s bull riding in the long round. He looks like a really good bull. I’ve seen a bunch of guys get on him. He looks like he’s pretty level to ride and nice, but I can’t make any mistakes him or he will buck me off.”
From Saskatoon on, Roy’s sights remain high for 2016.
“The goal for next year is that I want to be in that Top 10 again where I was before I got hurt,” Roy said. “I feel like I got back to that riding style and got comfortable again. I want to get back up and ride to where I feel like I’m capable of riding.”
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