Professional bull rider veteran Ty Pozzobon, 25, passed away Monday morning.
The Merritt, B.C., rider had gained world-recognition as one of the most accomplished rodeo competitors in the country.
Last year he won the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Canada title and finished fourth place in the World PBC Finals in November.
“The 25-year-old was a seven-year PBR veteran with 71 qualified rides on the Built Ford Tough Series after first debuting on the BFTS in 2011,” said a statement published to the PBR website.
Pozzobon qualified for the PBR World Finals four times, and he was set to return to the PBR competition in 2017.
In a press release, the Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition Association expressed their “incredible sadness” at the passing of “one of the most accomplished young rodeo competitors in B.C. rodeo history.”
“Ty competed in Cloverdale from 2011 to 2014 and, being a local boy, was incredibly popular with fans,” said Cloverdale Rodeo President Shannon Claypool. “He was a gifted athlete, a very nice guy and one of our sports brightest stars. The whole industry is deeply saddened by the news.”
The professional rodeo community mourns Pozzobon not only as an accomplished athlete but as a loving, devoted friend.
Pro Rodeo Canada released a statement on their website, saying, “While all of us mourn the loss of one of our sport’s brightest stars, we are painfully aware that we have also lost one of the truly genuine people in this or any sport.
“The ever-ready Pozzy grin, the endless love and devotion to family and friends, his ability to pick up the spirits of those around him—those are special talents—as great, and maybe even greater, than his superstar ability to ride the rankest bulls in the industry.”
“Ty Pozzobon was a cowboy through and through and loved being a professional bull rider,” said Sean Gleason, CEO of PBR. “His infectious personality and enthusiasm for doing what he loved touched so many of us, and we will remember him always.”
Police do not consider the death suspicious, and RCMP has turned the investigation over to the BC Coroners Service.