Merritt, B.C., is known locally for its murals of famous country music stars, but it could soon be boasting about another claim to fame.
On Nov. 22, Merritt city council voted unanimously to get staff to look into adding "Home of Professional Bull Rider Ty Pozzobon" to the Merritt welcome sign. The motion was put forward by Councillor Mike Goetz.
"He's made it to a certain point where I think he should be recognized," Goetz said.
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Ty Pozzobon recently came in fourth at one of the biggest bull riding competitions in the world, the Professional Bull Rider World Finals in Las Vegas. He's also been featured in a number of Ford commercials, and is heading next to a competition in New York at Madison Square Garden.
Goetz wanted to do something to recognize the rodeo star because Pozzobon not only grew up in the community, he also returned as an adult. Pozzobon owns property in the area and raises cattle with his father.
"I'm very proud of him and I think he's done our community really well and I think he's achieved what a lot of us secretly like to achieve but kind of never really go that extra mile to do," said Goetz.
Goetz isn't the only one who's feeling proud: Pozzobon's mother, Leanne, was delighted to learn that the city is looking into marking Merritt as her son's hometown.
"He is a hometown boy and he loves his roots. Merritt is everything to him," she said.
"I think it's a good idea for the town because he does put Merritt on the map."
She says when her son first started riding bulls, the announcers used to say he was from British Columbia, Canada, but he clarified that he was from Merritt.
'Merritt on the map'
For Pozzobon himself, this news has been a dream come true.
"In my rookie year, I lived with Tanner Girletz, Canadian champion. And his hometown, little tiny hometown, he had his sign," he said.
"I always thought that was pretty cool, and I thought one day it would be cool to have mine in Merritt."
"It just feels good to put Merritt on the map in another way," said Pozzobon. "It also helps me so it's pretty awesome."
Staff still need to come up with a report detailing the costs and appearance of the sign, but Goetz said it would likely be between roughly half a metre to one metre high, have block lettering and possibly some kind of graphic.
"Being on the highway, you want people to be able to read it as quickly as possible," he said.
The report still needs to be submitted and approved, but Goetz hopes the city will be able to add the bull rider's name to its welcome sign before Christmas.