When it comes to professional bull riding few, if any, are better at present in Canada than Kindersley native Dakota Buttar.
While COVID-19 made a shambles of the PBR Canada series of events for several months, when there have been bulls to ride Buttar has been sizzling hot, including starting 2020 riding 11-straight matching a PBR Canada record that he himself held.
Buttar finally came off a bull at the Cooper Tires Invitational in Lethbridge when the circuit resumed in mid-August. He still finished fourth at the event.
As for his hot start, Buttar realizes he was in a definite groove.
“It’s probably the best start I’ve had going into a season, then the world stopped,” he said in a recent telephone interview.
Asked about the disappointment, Buttar was pragmatic, adding that while disappointment was natural, adding “what can you do about it.”
As for the good start to 2020 pre-COVID Buttar credited home cooking.
“I was just happy to be riding back at home (in Canada),” he said, adding it has been a few years since the focus has been on this side of the 49th parallel being a regular participant in PBR events stateside. “A big part of it is being home, why I had such good luck.”
So are the bulls different in Canada?
Somewhat, said Buttar adding no bull no matter the country is an easy ride.
“They all can be tough, but there are differences,” he said. “Canadian bulls are a lot bigger than in the US.”
A bigger bull can be a little more forgiving if a rider moves a bit too much.
“There’s a little more room for error,” said Buttar, explaining “bigger bulls have wider backs.” That means when a rider shifts left, or right, he has a bit more bull to stay seated on before leaning too far over and finding the arena dirt as a result.
Born in Kindersley, an area of Saskatchewan better known for grain than cattle, Buttar found his way to bull riding by way of genetics.
“My Dad rode when he was younger,” he said.
A sister barrel raced too, which meant Buttar tagged along to rodeos, and just naturally took to the bulls.
At 27, Buttar is far from done in terms of riding, but he has some highlights he looks back on fondly already, including winning the Canadian Pro Rodeo title in 2014 and 2015.
“That was a big accomplishment I’m most proud of,” he said.
Buttar has also represented Canada at the PBR Global Cup as a member of Team Canada.
“It’s pretty cool ... an honour to compete for your country. It makes you feel pretty proud being a Canadian. It’s pretty awesome,” he said.
Next Buttar wants a PBR Canada title to add to his resume, suggesting he let the title slip away in 2019 captured by American Daylon Swearingen at the finals in Saskatoon.
“That’s been my goal the last couple of years,” he said.
And, the form that had Buttar 11-for-11 to start 2020 appears to be holding.
Marking the eighth PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Canada event of the 2020 season the prestigious Glen Keeley Memorial was held in Stavely, AB. as part of the nation’s Touring Pro Division recently.
“In form that has been seen twice prior this season, the event was determined by a showdown of titans, as Dakota Buttar (Kindersley, Saskatchewan) covered two-time PBR World Finals selection Tykro Pound Sand (Wild Hoggs/Corey Chmelnyk) for a monstrous 90.5 points en route to the event win,” detailed a PBR Canada release.
“A storied rivalry, the 27-year-old had attempted the powerful bovine athlete three times prior, with their two most recent showdowns yielding massive scores and event wins for Buttar. First teaming in 2020 for an 87.5-point score at the Monster Energy Tour season-launch in Calgary, Buttar then went the distance aboard the bovine athlete in Lethbridge, Alberta for 86 points, propelled to the event victory in both cities.
“Remaining perfect against Tykro Pound Sand, Buttar was scored a monstrous 90.5 points inside Stavely Arena. The 8-second effort marked his first 90-point ride of the season, and fourth of his career across all levels of competition.”
The win left Buttar with the No. 1 ranking in the PBR Canada national standings, which he still holds onto, one step closer to his championship goal.