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Professional Bull Riders return to Grande Prairie to crown national champion

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Described as “the ultimate contest of man versus beast,” the Professional Bull Riders will be crowning the 2020 national champion in Grande Prairie at Revolution Place this weekend. PBR Canada General Manager Jason Davidson says both the business and the show have been severely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The original dates for the finals were slated for the beginning of October, however, those were pushed back to give the team more time to solicit sponsorships.

Davidson adds through Grande Prairie isn’t the typical location to host their finals, the move was made after pandemic restrictions closed the lid on the original host city in Saskatoon. He adds the reception they received in 2019 made the decision to return to Grande Prairie an easy one.

“We had a sell-out in Grande Prairie last year which triggered the move to Revolution Place so we could accommodate more people,” he says. “We are really looking forward to giving Grande Prairie the treat of watching a national champion crowned.”

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Davidson adds tallying up the available prize money from this year’s season, it’s simply a fraction of what was once up for grabs.

“We would be awarding over $100,000 in prize money. To put that into perspective, normally in a year we pay out anywhere from $800,000 to just shy of $1 million in prize money to the PBR bull riders and very similar numbers to the stock contractors.”

“This year when we finish up in Grande Prairie it’ll be in the neighbourhood of $150,000 to $200,000 in prize money so it had a huge impact on our livelihoods. Not just contestants and stock contractors but our event personnel and production staff,” he says.

Davidson says Peace Country local, Jacob Gardner, who is currently the two-time all-around champion of Canadian professional rodeo is going to be the man to watch come showtime.

“He’s going to be one of the guys really putting the pressure on to win a national title.”

The three-day event will kick-off Thursday, November 5th at 7 p.m. and run through until Saturday.

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