One could say the 2017 season was rough, tough and triumphant for bull rider Zane Lambert.
The 31 year-old Ponoka cowboy was out of action for two months due to an injury in July, but wound up winning the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Canada title.
“I tried to come back and battle for points and ended up finishing with a really strong second half of the season,” said Lambert. “To be the champ, I’d say the year was really successful because I didn’t focus on any rodeos due to the injury. I just took care of my PBR events and it paid off.”
Lambert won the PBR Canada finals in Saskatoon in October to go along with a pair of other PBR victories and 11 top five finishes.
One advantage to winning the title is that he receives a spot at the 2018 Calgary Stampede and he also hopes to compete in the 2018 Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR).
“Qualifying for the Stampede is exciting,” Lambert said about what will be his third appearance.
“I’ve made the Sunday round each time, so it is always a great place to ride. I did qualify for the 2017 CFR and I wanted to be there, but it conflicted with the PBR Global Cup event in Edmonton. I’m hoping to get there again this year and hopefully the dates at the new venue will allow me to do that.”
The new season is already under way for Lambert — who was in Oakland, California for a PBR event over the weekend and is in Denver, Colorado this week — and the PBR will once again be a focal point for him in 2018, which will include a stop in Sydney, Australia in June for a PBR Global Cup event. However, he is planning on getting back onto the rodeo circuit.
“I’ve been a part of this (PBR) for 11 years and we’ve spent a bunch of dollars on trying to get that fan base. Unfortunately for a time, they stopped promoting it,” he said.
“When it sold three years ago to a major entertainment company, they have involved some big business groups — like the Oilers Entertainment Group — and that has seen bigger events, which has helped us attract some television coverage. TSN will be providing some coverage now and previously, it was a struggle to get the quality of event to attract that coverage. It’s certainly helped though getting the right people involved.
“The PBR is going to continue to be my focus, as it is the best going up against the best and provides the top competition for more money. That said, I still intend to pay for my pro card and compete in rodeo including Ponoka and hopefully the CFR. These rodeos that I’ve been to are such great places and Ponoka has always been right in my heart and that’s why I moved here.”