Local bull rider Denton Spiers is riding high at the tail end of a great season.
After starting out red hot and winning the Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo Association title, he finished second in the British Columbia Rodeo Association season standings, earning himself over ten thousand dollars and had quite a few solid showings at Bull Riders Canada (BRC) events, sitting him in seventh place with over thirteen thousand dollars in earnings.
“It’s been rolling along pretty good,” says the easy-going Spiers, “The BRCs were pretty cool, it was nice to win a bunch of those; and the BCRA Finals were cool too.
“I won it last year, so it was cool to do well again.”
Though the weather might be cooling and rodeo season seems behind us, Spiers still has a couple accomplishments he is looking to earn before the fortuitous year comes to a close.
He is looking to compete in the Pro-West Finals in Idaho in the coming weeks and also has the BRC finals coming up in Sylvan Lake, AB in mid-November.
Spiers says the bull rides in the United States are always a great challenge and a lot of fun.
“They’ve got lots of really good bulls,” he says, “They all jump out and turn right back, so you can get a decent score if you just hold on.
“They have a lot more even of a pen,” he continues, “Everybody has an equal chance of winning because the bulls buck pretty much the same. “
In previous years, Spiers has just competed in the odd BRC event, but this season he really gave it his all and made it to as many as he could.
“It’s a completely different atmosphere,” he says of the bull riding focused organization, “Everyone’s there to have a good time and there’s flashing lights and all that stuff.
“All the guys are there just to ride bulls and there’s a lot of really good guys, so it forces you to ride better.”
Spiers says the higher competition brings out the best of him.
“Riding against the better guys, you kind of have to step your game up,” adding, “You don’t have a choice if you want to win.”
Between now and the big events, he is keeping an even keel and sticking to what has worked with him this year.
“I’m just going to keep working out, riding the barrel and keeping my head clear. I need to take it one bull at a time and stomp everything I get on.”
While he used to train with Quesnel’s Lane Cork, last year’s top local bull rider has taken a step back from the sport to heal some injuries, so Spiers has mostly been working on his own, or occasionally getting on the odd practice bull with pal, Isaac Mack, who took top-spot in the BCRA standings this year.
When asked to talk about some of the best bull riding experiences he has had this year, Spiers is reticent to say.
“There’s lots of good ones but I don’t really keep track,” he says, “I just go onto the next one. If you keep thinking about the ones before, you start falling off.
“I just try to think about the next one I draw and try to ride him.”
A lot of bull riders would agree staying in the moment is paramount.
“You’ve got to have a short memory. If you buck off a few and start thinking you’re in a slump, then you’re going to be in one, and you’re not going to ride anything for a while.”
In addition to mindset, injury avoidance is key to maintaining a long career. Spiers’ top advice for upcoming riders is to take their time getting off the bull if possible.
“Whenever I manage to stay on – instead of saying ‘Jesus take the wheel’ and throwing my hands in the air – I’ve been riding them for a few more seconds and looking for a good spot to get off instead of jumping off randomly.
“Just as many people get injured getting off as they do getting bucked off.”
If he is able to keep the injuries at bay and his mindset strong, Spiers hopes to keep moving up to the next level of the sport in 2020.
“I’m going to get my [Canadian Professional Rodeo Association] card and my [Professional Bull Riders] Canada card and try to make a run at it.”