PANOW: Byrne ‘More healthy than he’s ever been’ as PBR Canada Returns to Action

By: Darci Miller

PUEBLO, Colo. – Bull rider-turned-bullfighter Tanner Byrne spent nearly a decade competing in the PBR, qualifying for four PBR World Finals and winning the Glen Keeley Award three times.

In all those years, the 138 days between PBR Canada competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the longest he says he’s ever gone without setting foot inside an arena.

“This is probably the most time in my life I’ve not been on the arena floor,” Byrne told paNOW. “[But] I have an arena and chutes and stuff set up at my house, and I’ve had some guys come out and practice bulls to hone my skills to be ready for when things come back.”

That moment Byrne has been preparing for is fast approaching, as PBR Canada is set to return to action with back-to-back Monster Energy Tour events on July 23 at ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta.

The PBR Cooper Tires Invitational will be closed to the public, available only on TSN and the league’s OTT channel RidePass, which will carry the action live beginning at 1 p.m. MT.

The second event, the PBR Built Ford Tough Invitational at 7 p.m. MT, will mark the first fan-attended professional sporting event in Canada since the onset of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

In the midst of this long layoff, Byrne says he – and everyone else – has been able to rest and let nagging injuries and soreness heal.

“I think I’m more healthy than I’ve ever been; no bumps and bruises,” Byrne said. “So, I think the sport of bull riding as a whole is going to be quite a bit better because there’s lot of guys who ride through injury and try to keep riding all the time, and this break gave them a chance to actually heal up.”

The fan-attended PBR Canada Monster Energy Tour LIVE: Drive-In Spectacular will bring the action to fans from inside the closed arena via a suspended 23-foot big screen. More than 200 parking stalls will be available to the public for purchase in the West Parking lot of the ENMAX Centre to watch all the action from the comfort of their own vehicles.

In addition to socially distanced parking stalls, there will be restricted movement for fans and mobile ticketing to replace printed tickets. All riders, stock contractors and staff will also be following a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols, including pre-travel screening for COVID-19, maintaining six-foot distance and wearing masks.

“PBR’s main focus is on health and safety and to get us back to work, that’s how we all make a living,” Byrne said. “We’re super grateful PBR is taking steps in the proper manner.”

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