All in all, it was a pretty successful 2018 for Jake Gardner.
He steer wrestled and rode bulls in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, and rode in PBR (Professional Bull Riding) where he made the PBR Finals.
Perhaps the top achievement was winning the all around title at the Canadian Finals Rodeo last November, where he was initially an alternate before a spot opened up.
“I’m definitely grateful to have my name next to it. For me it was a grind, I had to hustle at it, worked really hard all year, and it was really a dream come true,” says Gardner.
“But the time and effort that went into it, I think I definitely deserved to win it,” he continues. “You’ve got to be consistent at both ends to win enough money to win the title.”
It was a great year for the young cowboy, but it wasn’t easy.
“Behind the scenes there’s a lot of work that goes into it. For some people it comes natural, for me, I try and do something everyday to better my career. I treat it as more of a professional sport and I try to be in as best shape as I can all the time,” he shares.
Born in Fort St. John, his parents moved to Dawson Creek after he graduated high school, and says he’s “been hanging his hat there ever since.”
“I grew up in a ranching family background so I mean I was in a saddle since I was three years old,” he says.
“There’s a lot of people that helped me along the way, and I really appreciate that.”
He’s been competing in rodeos since he was 12. He was in high school rodeos before going to the US for college for a few years. He returned to Canada, turning pro in 2016.
The circuit takes him all across Canada, from Quebec City to Cloverdale in the Lower Mainland. “It’s all over the map.”
Gardner’s got big plans on the horizon.
“My gameplan this year is I want to try to win the all-around title again. I’m really in the hunt for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association bull riding title as well, so I want to make the CFR and hopefully I can capitalize on that and I also want to make the PBR Canada finals again,” he says.
“This year I won’t be going to the States, but next year my plans are definitely to head south of the border.”
The season started for him with a PBR event in Winnipeg over the weekend.
“2018 has been my best year yet. I’ve got really big plans for 2019, and I plan to step it up a few levels.”