July 23 was an important day not only for the sport of rodeo but also Coronation cowboy Tanner Eno.
The 21-year-old made his first impression in the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Canada events by joining the best for the return of professional sports in 2020 since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Lethbridge played host to the PBR Cooper Tires Invitational as well as PBR Built Ford Tough Invitational which were held on the same day to limit visitors from staying overnight.
Concussion testing and proper safety protocol like the constant wearing of masks was used as once any riders or associated personnel were inside, that was it until the evening event was over.
The only time anyone could take off the mask was when they were riding. Anyone who didn’t otherwise was fined. No crowds in the stands were allowed either.
“It’s almost like the NHL, it’s the bubble,” said Eno. “Fans or no fans, you’re still there to ride your bulls and that’s all you can do right? It was also cool on the other hand because it was like a really souped up practice because when you make good rides you could hear everybody hooping and hollering so that was cool where usually you don’t hear that because the crowd is so loud.”
For the first event in the early afternoon, Eno rode a bull named Muddy Water to make 83.5 points.
He split second/third with Dakota Buttar in the long round.
For the short go, he selected a bull named Swagger from the Volds where in his ride, he lasted four seconds before getting bucked off.
In the evening long-go, he rode Flying Four Bucking Bulls’ Finning Twitch in the short go where he stubbed his toe.
He said, “On them bulls you can’t do that. There is no room for error. They buck you off so then I was like ‘Awe dang.’ But the thing about bull riding is that you got to be able to learn to shake it off, not dwell on it because you are going to fall off. You ain’t going to ride every bull you get on. You just plan on riding every bull.”
For the short round in the second event, they said he had got back in on time allowing him into the second event by taking the 10th and final spot available.
He got a bull named Power Dozer from Skori’s stock in Kinsella.
Since this one threw him back and forth in the chute before moving outwards, he was given a re-ride.
“I was getting pretty tired, I mean getting on four bulls in practice is one thing but to get on four bulls at that calibre – it really wears on you,” he said.
For the re-ride, Eno rode a world-class bull by the name of Whiskey Hand from Vold Rodeo stock contractor that has seen one of the largest stages – the National Finals Rodeo.
From this ride he managed to stay on for all eight seconds, gaining an 87.5 point ride out of the deal.
“My dad has been going with the bulls forever so going there I kind of knew what I was expecting. It was just to finally be there now and riding was totally the better side of it. Since I was little, this is where I always wanted to go and to finally go there and do well, it just makes you want to go even more. For me anyway.” said Eno.
The young rider finished in fourth place at the PBR Built Ford Tough Invitational and collected four world points as well as $1,085.03.
He currently sits at Ninth place in the Canadian standings.
Eno credits some of his skill to life at home because when the virus hit Alberta, he and fellow rider Tyler Craig utilized their time away from the arena by constructing and practicing on two chutes in a front yard pen at Eno’s place just west of Coronation.
“We can get on bulls anywhere but it’s just handy to be able to do it in our front yard so we don’t have to leave and whenever you want right,” he said.
He said they practice three to four times a week on average after he bought four bucking bulls to use.
“Mainly I wanted to build these bucking chutes because everything was cancelling so I really didn’t just want to sit at home and wish I was rodeoing. I would rather sit at home and make sure I was better for when it did start back up. I was lucky enough my parents have everything here, I just had to build it.”
“We bucked a lot of bulls and every time we’d learn little things to fix on the chutes to make it [better] and heck, now you can put anything you want in there and they ain’t getting out because it’s straight up,” said Eno.
Cities across Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. still plan to host private PBR events which Eno hopes to attend in the future.