Aaron Kleier (Clermont, QLD) and Cliff Richardson (Gresford, NSW) tied for the event win on Saturday Night at the 2018 PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour’s Newcastle Invitational.
A sell-out crowd was on hand to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Newcastle event and they were treated to an exciting night with the top riders in the country trading blows. Kleier and Richardson both took home a round win each from the three rounds of competition.
Kleier, the current PBR Australia National Standings leader, kicked off his night covering Red Man (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) in Round 1 for 83 points which he backed up with a round-winning 86.0 point ride on George Hempenstall’s Maximum Rat in Round 2. Holding a slender leading heading into the Championship Round, the 20-year old made it 2-from-2 against On Point from Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls with the 86.0 point ride score taking his 3 bull total to 255.0 points.
For Richardson, his night opened with the Round 1 winning ride, scoring 85.5 points on Street Wise from Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls. The Gresford cowboy added 83.0 points on Dan Klabe’s Cherry Ripe in Round 2 to enter the short-go just half a point behind Kleier. Richardson remained a perfect 3-for-3 for the night with his 86.5 point ride on Cookies n Cream (Dan Klabe) in the Championship Round equalling Kleier’s 255.0 points on the Newcastle Invitational leaderboard.
Cody Heffernan (Singleton, NSW) finished in third place courtesy of a clutch 87.5 point ride on Red Rat (George Hempenstall) to be the high marked ride of the night in the Championship Round after earlier covering his Round 2 draw Silverback (Maynes Bucking Bulls) for 85.5 points. With a total of 173.0 points, the 28-year-old moved ahead of Braydon Wellby (Townsville, QLD) on the last ride of the night. Wellby earlier locked in a 2-for-3 event total of 168.5 with his 84.0 point ride on Sweet Pro’s Bravado (Kasper Bucking Bulls) in the Championship Round.
PBR Veteran Jason Mara (Cloncurry, QLD) bounced back after a rough couple of months to finish in fifth spot on 166.0 points with 26-year-old Matthew Bee (Weipa, QLD) the only other rider to go 2-for-3 with his 162.0 points good enough for sixth place in the event.
Of the cowboys with one qualified ride on the Newcastle Invitational leaderboard, Michael Smith (Tully, QLD) and Fraser Babbington (Gisborne, NZ) were the best with 83.5 points.
Kleier was able to accumulate 520 points towards the Australian National Standings taking his total to over 4000 points and increased the buffer between himself and the pack with Babbington slipping to third place. Richardson picked up 495 points to move into a clear second but remains over 500 points behind Kleier. Heffernan did enough to stay within striking distance with his 340 points keeping him in fourth position on the Standings leaderboard.
In the PBR World Standings, the 75 points earned by Richardson for the shared event win moved him into the all-important 35th spot. Kleier, Babbington and Heffernan currently sit bunched together between the 42nd and 44th spots with time running out to qualify for November’s PBR World Finals in Las Vegas.
Not a bad night for the bulls with Jack Frost (Dan Klabe) and Call Me Joe (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) coming away with the high marked outs of the night with the judges awarding 43.5 points for their outs in the Newcastle Invitational Championship Round. Jack Frost dispatched Fraser Babbington in 3.49 seconds while Call Me Joe needed 7.35 seconds to put Jason Mara in the dirt.
The PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour has another month break before resuming in Mackay, QLD on the 8th September at Queens Park but the Touring Pro Division will be back in a fortnight with events in Cunnamulla, QLD on 25th August and in Blackall, QLD at the Showgrounds on 1st September.
Visit the PBR Australia website for all the important ticketing information.