PUEBLO, Colo. (Sept. 4, 2009) — In the weeks leading up to the 2009 World Cup, Cody Snyder was confident in the Canadian team he was taking down to Brazil.
And after two years of finishing second, Snyder and the entire team — Aaron Roy, Scott Schiffner, Devon Mezei, Tyler Thomson and Ty Elliott along with Tanner Girletz as the alternate — were intent on winning.
Even though Brazil and the United States were the superpowers, Adriano Moraes and J.W. Hart, their respective team captains, couldn't look past Snyder's ability to motivate his team.
In the end, Brazil dominated the first four rounds, with the Americans coming from behind in the final two rounds to win back-to-back titles.
But after the first two rounds, even PBR CEO Randy Bernard, who a week earlier said the Canadians had gotten lucky in the previous two years, admitted, "Team Canada is riding their guts out."
They went about their business in Round Five with as much grit and determination as they did in the early rounds. On the final rides, they knew they had their work cut out for them, but it was as much about pride as it was about winning.
"We went down as a team and we came back as a team," Snyder said. "We always want to win first, but everybody's still best friends and we're pretty happy with the way things went."
An entire interview with Snyder can be heard by logging onto www.pbr.tv and selecting the Podcast tab on the left hand column.
The Canadians finished this year's event in third place out of five countries, with a cumulative score of 1,027 points compared to 1,387.75 scored by the Americans and 1,217.50 by the Brazilians.
Snyder admitted that losing makes him "sick to (his) stomach." He hand-selected a team that hates losing just as much, but he also believes they were as capable of winning as the U.S. or Brazil.
"I can't stand to lose, and it makes me sick that we didn't win it after being the runner-up the last couple of years," he said. "But that's bull riding, that's sports, that's professional sports. We gotta take the good with the bad."
Going into the competition, they knew they needed consistent performances from Aaron Roy and Scott Schiffner.
Roy, currently ranked 24th in the world, is enjoying his best season on the Built Ford Tough Series, and Schiffner is coming off an injury.
Snyder said it was unfortunate that Roy took a couple of rounds to adjust to the new rowels the riders were required to wear, but Schiffner made the adjustment easily, and rode four of six bulls for 341.50 points.
But it was the emergence of Girletz that caught the attention of many.
Girletz was a last-minute replacement as the alternate on the team, and rode in Rounds Five and Six in place of Mezei, who was injured Saturday night. The 23-year-old from Alberta climbed into the chute twice on Sunday night, and earned two qualified scores.
"That's why he was there," Snyder said. "We up here in Canada know how good Tanner Girletz can be. The kid has got an immense amount of talent (and) won the Canadian championship in rodeo when he was about 18 or 19 years old. He's fifth generation, and I've known that kid since the day he was born."
Just as he's used some of the same riders from past Cup experiences, Snyder hopes this year's team members continue to progress in their individual careers so they can build off of this experience for next year.
While the captain said he doesn't want to give away his philosophy of preparing his team, Snyder did say that, yes, he's already begun strategizing for the 2010 World Cup.
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