Alberta agriculture’s role in PBR events
A local rancher supplied a recent competition with 11 bulls
By Diego Flammini
A global bull riding event held in Edmonton, Alta. over the weekend was full of Canadian content.
Cowboys from Canada, the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Australia competed in the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Global Cup from Nov. 9 to 11.
And some of their 110 four-legged adversaries were raised on an Alberta ranch, including, Whiskey Hand, a four-year-old, 1,600-pound (725 kg) bull already making waves on the PBR scene.
“He’s what I call my new up and comer.,” Nansen Vold, a Ponoka, Alta. rancher who supplied the PBR event with 11 bulls, told Global News on Thursday. “He’s in my plan next year to be our superstar.”
Breeding PBR-calibre bulls can be big business, Vold said, adding the animals can range in value from $30,000 to $100,000 each.
While Whiskey Hand’s prime competitive years are still ahead of him, some of Vold’s bulls have already collected hardware.
Johnny Ringo received PBR Canada’s 2017 Bull of the Year award in October. Slash, another one of Vold’s bulls, won this award in 2011. And Cooper’s Comet, named after Vold’s late step-brother, took home top honours at a Las Vegas, NV event last year.
But the bulls weren’t the only locally produced element of the competition.
The soil on which the cowboys inevitably land also came from Alberta.
The Black Dirt Company in Edmonton, Alta. supplied the soil for the event.
For them, it’s exciting to provide the competition surface.
"It's one of the very few times I've been involved in something where someone puts as much thought into the dirt as I do," Darren Hinkel, general manager with The Black Dirt Company, told Farms.com today. "Its very refreshing to hear people care about the dirt. It reaffirms that all the work we do isn't going unnoticed."
PBR officials contacted a number of soil suppliers in the region, but only The Black Dirt Company’s was able to meet the competition requirements.
"They needed the dirt to be sandy with some clay in it and it needs to have some compaction and moisture, but not too much of either," Hinkel said.
Hinkel has a permit which allows him to excavate a certain part of a farmer's field. Once he obtained a sample, he sent it to PBR and was surprised at the quick agreement.
"I sent it to PBR in a large bag and they called me two weeks later to say (the dirt) passed with flying colours," he said.
Top photo: Johhny Ringo
Photo: PBR Canada