Scott Schiffner rides Attitude Dude in the bull riding event at the Canadian Finals Rodeo at Rexall Place in Edmonton on November 12, 2015.RYAN JACKSON / EDMONTON JOURNAL
Published on: September 23, 2016 | Last Updated: September 23, 2016 9:58 PM MDT
There’s a certain home-ring advantage Scott Schiffner expects to enjoy on Saturday night, but it won’t come from the friends and family in the assembled crowd.
Certainly the Strathmore cowboy will have a cheering section for the PBR Monster Energy Canada Tour at the Agrium Events Centre, but the fact this event is so close to home fits right into his pre-game routine.
The 36-year-old two-time Canadian champion doesn’t need hours of mental preparation or a long warmup.
It’s all about getting on the bull and holding on for eight glorious seconds, so on Saturday afternoon, expect Schiffner to be treating this like any other day on the ranch, except with a wild ride as a nightcap.
“I will be out in the field doctoring or treating cattle, or on a horse with one of my daughters,” Schiffner said. “I will probably look at my watch and see it’s 4 o’clock and it’s time to go ride a bull.
“A lot of people can’t fathom that. They think you need to get up and stretch, have a certain game-time meal. It’s not like that in my world. I’m not sure that’s a good thing or bad thing but that’s what I’ve done my entire life. It’s seemed to work pretty good for me.”
The Calgary stop on the PBR Canada tour is a big one for Schiffner. Although he refers to 2016 as a good year, he’s sitting 20th in the money standings right now, well back of where he would prefer to be.
There are three stops left including this one for Schiffner to get into a groove, and he believes momentum plays a big role in what he does. This is a competitive field of 25 riders vying for the chance to take on the bonus bull – a rank challenge given to the winner – and Schiffner would like to get that opportunity.
The rest of his season is already mapped out as Schiffner will compete in his record 16th Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton from Nov. 9-13. Since 1998, he’s only missed the CFR three times, in 2002, ’07 and ’11, and he would like to be peaking when it comes time to hand out the Canadian title.
While the majority of his competition is more than a decade younger, Schiffner believes he does have an experience advantage. When he steps into the chute, he’s as calm and relaxed as one can be putting their fate into the hands of an angry beast.
“Compared with the young kids, I sure can’t beat them on the physical end anymore,” Schiffner said. “Mentally I really believe that’s what keeps me still winning. I can deal with the ups and downs a little better. I have a lot of history so I know how scenarios play out. Sometimes the young kids have pressure get to them a little bit. The more pressure I have, the better I do.”
Schiffner isn’t sure when he’s going to walk away from bull riding. He expects to just know it’s over when he gets home from an event at some point. So this could be his final appearance in Calgary, or it could just be a prelude to another Stampede run in 2017.
“Everyone knows I want to retire on a big bang, whether it’s the PBR Canada finals or even the CFR. I honestly don’t know when,” Schiffner said. “I just keep showing up. As long as I’m having fun and winning, I will keep going.”
There are aches and pains when he gets out of bed in the morning, but Schiffner isn’t sure he’s any worse off than most of his friends the same age who haven’t been getting thrown off bulls for a living. One thing is for sure, he doesn’t bounce back from a broken rib or muscle pull he like used to.
Lasting eight seconds though has a way of making the rough rides feel a little smoother.
“You can jump up after taking that hit when the whistle has gone,” Schiffner said. “When it happens before it, the hurt is that much more.
“Hearing the whistle is a great thing. It has magical powers that’s for sure.”