CALGARY -- Some of the best bull riders from around the world are bucking into Calgary this weekend. 

Canada’s Monster Energy Tour marks the first Canadian event on the 2020 Professional Bull Riders (PBR) calendar with the Calgary classic. 

A field of 30 fearless riders from five nations — Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States — will compete in the eight second confrontation at the Nutrien Western Event Centre at Stampede Park. 

The competition will feature 13 riders from Alberta including Brock Radford of De Winton, Alta. who is currently ranked fourth nationally.

Radford won the Calgary Classic event in 2018 but was unable to compete last season due to a torn knee. He says he’s stronger than ever and excited to compete so close to home.

"Momentum is a big thing and if you kick off the start of the year with momentum on your side it can lead into a championship," said Radford. "It’s good to be back here, you know anytime you’re watching your friends you’re always cheering them on and it kind of lights a fire when you’re sitting on the sidelines."

Other riders set to compete this weekend include Dakota Buttar of Kindersley, Sask., the top-ranked rider in Canada who  currently sits 30 points in front of second-ranked Logan Beaver of Claresholm, Alta. 

The remaining group of Canadian riders inside the top ten rankings include:

  • 6. Shay Marks of Sunnybrook, Alta
  • 8. Jake Gardner of Fort St. John, B.C.
  • 9. Jared Parsonage of Maple Creek, B.C.
  • 10. Tim Lipsett of Lumsden, Sask

The field of 30 riders will compete in the opening round beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday with the second round set to take place at the same time on Saturday. 

After the second round, the top 10 cowboys will the ride for the championship.

The event has been the subject of controversy in the past with animal rights groups like PETA and the Vancouver Humane Society calling the sport of bull riding "cruel" and "abusive" — specifically citing the use of steroids along with an extensive history of fatal injuries to animals. 

PBR Canada Director of Operations, Jason Davidson says the animals at all events are given the best possible treatment. 

"We have a zero tolerance against animal cruelty or any harm to our animal athletes," said Davidson. "We pride ourselves on making sure we have the best bucking bulls in the industry so when you want that from stock contractors, we have to make sure we look after our livestock."

Davidson adds that the bulls are treated as family and their safety and welfare is always a top priority.

For more details visit PBR Canada - Calgary Classic