“He will leave this sport as a legend, an incomparable competitor who has been a mentor to so many of us in this industry regardless of our role.” – Brett Gardiner, 7-Time Canadian Pro Rodeo Announcer of the Year.
Stettler county native Scott Schiffner, 38, waved to the Calgary Stampede crowd and cowboys giving him a prolonged standing ovation after his final bull ride July 14.
On July 12 the professional bull rider announced he was retiring at the end of the 2018 rodeo season.
“It’s been a great career,” Schiffner said in a phone interview July 16. “I have been doing this a lot of years. This is my 21st year going professional. I’m gone from home a lot and it’s time to quit missing some of the stuff in my kids’ lives. It’s been good and I’m walking away on my terms.”
Schiffner, who now lives in Strathmore, has been called the “winningest” bull rider in Canadian rodeo history who has had more wins than any bull rider in the country.
His wins include: two-time Canadian bull riding champion; 2015 – Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier, finished 9th overall; 2014 – Calgary Stampede Champion; 2013 – PBR Canada Finals Champion; 2012 – Canadian Bull Riding Champion; 2006 – PBR Canada National Champion; 2002 – BR Olympic Bronze Medal winner; three-time PBR World Finalist; 10-time PBR Canada finalist; 17-time Canadian Finals Rodeo Qualifier; 15-time Calgary Stampede Competitor; four-time World Cup Team Canada member; Glen Keeley Life Time Achievement Award; and Canadian Cowboy of the Year. He was also the highest money earning bull rider in the country.
His wins were many, giving him incredible memories.
“There were always memories but the later ones mean the most to me. It was later in my career, and I have family and kids and I got to enjoy it with them.”
In 2012, at the request of the Chinese government, Schiffner accompanied the prime minister on a Canadian trade mission to China.
In 2011 Schiffner was selected to give a private bull riding demonstration to Will and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, during their 2011 Calgary Stampede visit.
“It’s been good,” said Schiffner. “It has treated me good. I owe just about everything I have in this world to rodeo. It’s like a domino effect, my friends, my wife, my family and kids, I owe it all to rodeo.”
Schiffner started in rodeo as a young boy.
“My family was involved in rodeo when I was young, never at the pro level but we roped a lot.”
He went into steer riding, then junior bull riding and eventually bull riding.
“There was something about bull riding I thought was the coolest and most exciting event there was.”
Indeed, riding a 2,000-pound snorting beast takes courage. But over the years, with experience, fear of the bull dissipated.
“At the beginning, you’re darn nervous and scared. It turns into nerves and then it turns into excitement and towards the end, the only thing you’re scared of is losing.”
Still, riding more than 3,000 bulls over his career he didn’t leave the arena unscathed.
“For how long I have been doing this and how many bulls I have been on in my life I think I had a healthy career,” said Schiffner. “I definitely broke some bones and tore some ligaments but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Now that he’s retiring from bull riding Schiffner plans to spend more time with his wife Brandy and their three daughters Maysa, Hadley and Oaklyn.
“For the next little bit, I’m going to take it easy and enjoy my family. My wife and I built a ranch we’re proud of. We’ll be ranching and taking care of everything, take care of the kids.”
He does, however, have advice for aspiring bull riders.
“The biggest thing is to surround yourself with great people, great coaches, people that will always have your best interest at heart. I can’t emphasize it enough, go to schools and clinics and get off on the right foot and let the right guys help you get started instead of doing it on your own because it’s a lot harder that way.”