After a four-year hiatus, PBR Australia brings it’s Touring Pro Division back to the Bundaberg Region this weekend for the 2019 Burnett Heads Touring Pro.
Jack Norgate Oval will play host to PBR Bull Mania at Burnett Heads with action scheduled to kick off at 7:00 pm on Saturday.
The 2015 event in Bundaberg was won by Kurt Shephard (Atherton, QLD), who finished with an aggregate total of 162 points. Damien Herden (Yeppoon, QLD) ended the night in second place while Cody Heffernan (Singleton, NSW) wound up in third place.
In 2014 it was Ben Seeds (Dingo, QLD) and Ryan Storey (Mackay, QLD) who shared the buckle with a ride total of 164 points. Clancy Butler (Tamworth, NSW), Mitch Paton (Nebo, QLD) and Cody Heffernan split the third thru fifth spots.
Event Format and Points Available
Seventeen bull riders will battle it out over two full rounds of competition at the 2019 Burnett Heads Touring Pro. The top six riders on the leaderboard following Rounds 1 and 2 will then return for the Championship Round.
They go head to head with some of Queensland’s rankest bucking bulls for a share in the $10,000 prizemoney.
There will be a maximum of 425 points available towards the 2019 PBR Australian National Standings and the race for the gold buckle. A further 60 world points are also up for grabs with PBR Finals Week just over 11 weeks away.
Clermont’s Aaron Kleier heads to Burnett Heads in outstanding form and currently holds a 977.5-point lead in the race to become the 2019 PBR Australian National Champion. The reigning Australian Champion has covered 61.16% of his bulls on Australian soil this season including 10 of his last 16 bulls.
Seven-time PBR World Finals qualifier Lachlan Richardson holds down the No. 4 spot in the 2019 Australian Standings. The Gresford bull rider will be looking to keep the ball rolling after recording a strong third-place finish earlier this month in Newcastle.
Cliff Richardson has also been riding well, covering five of his last ten bulls in the PBR. The perennial title contender has recorded five top-10 finishes since the start of June and sits in the sixth spot in the rankings leaderboard.
Upper Horton’s Troy Wilkinson will be looking to bounce back after bucking off his last six bulls in PBR competition. The 2017 PBR Australian National Champion sits tenth in the standings and needs to finish in the points to keep his name in contention for a second gold buckle.
Mundubbera cowboy Lane Mellers heads to Burnett Heads hoping to break into the top-10 of the 2019 standings. The 2018 PBR Australia Rookie of the Year has recorded five straight top-5 finishes in PBR competition which included a win at Czar in Canada.
Joshua Jones has an excellent chance to make up ground in the 2019 Rookie race. The Kingaroy bull rider has covered 11 of his long round bulls from his 14 events this season and went 3-for-4 at Mount Isa in his last PBR event.
Round 1 Matchups
Joshua Jones on Superstition (BK Bucking Bulls)
This matchup looks an excellent way to get the night started. Jones doesn’t hold anything back and is in good enough form to become the first rider cover the unridden veteran. Superstition is expected to turn back to the right and away from Jones’ hand.
Sam Woodard on Big Bang Theory (Hall Rodeo Co.)
Woodard looked good in Newcastle riding away from his hand, and this bull is expected to turn back to the right. We have rarely seen Big Bang Theory perform in PBR competition, but we did witness Cliff Richardson score 83 points on this bull at Mount Cotton last season.
Caiden Sandilands on Ryans Gangster (BK Bucking Bulls)
These two will face off for the second time after meeting at June’s Last Cowboy Standing in Brisbane where the bull won the battle in 7.79 seconds. Sandilands should be full of confidence after that attempt. We have seen Ryans Gangster turn back both ways, but he mostly prefers a right-handed spin.
Lane Mellers on Shoulda Coulda Woulda (BK Bucking Bulls)
Mellers will look to extend his hot streak here against a veteran bull that he should know well. Shoulda Coulda Woulda has been ridden twice from six outs in the past two seasons, and his trips are usually to the left. Aaron Kleier was the last rider to get a score with 85 points at Last Cowboy Standing in June.
Round 2 Matchups
Lachlan Richardson on Personal Space (Dunne Bulls)
This bull is unridden in his four PBR performances, but the cowboys have been making it to the second half of the ride. I don’t think it will be long until one of them makes the whistle. Personal Space has previously entered both left and right-handed spins. Richardson will be the toughest opponent he has faced.
Jay Borghero on 25 To Life (Dunne Bulls)
25 To Life has been on fire of late, averaging a bull score of 42.38 points in his last three performances. Brody Woodard recorded the only qualified ride during this period for 88 points in Mount Isa. Borghero relishes opportunities to post big numbers such as this with the bull expected to turn back into his hand.
Troy Wilkinson on Rockslide (Dunne Bulls)
Wilkinson returned from injury in Newcastle and shook off some rust against a couple of smart bulls. Rockslide is a bull that has quite good timing, can buck in either direction, and he posts consistent numbers. Riders of both dexterity have put up substantial scores in the past, and I expect Wilkinson and the bull to combine for an exciting out.
Aaron Kleier on Mighty Whitey (Wallace Bucking Bulls)
Mighty Whitey has posted some solid numbers in his four outs in PBR competition with an average bull score of 42.5 points. The bull has been ridden once for 83.5 points in his debut but continues to improve with each trip. Mighty Whitey has turned back to the left each time, and this will benefit Kleier as he looks to extend his lead in a bid for back-to-back PBR Australia Titles.
Cliff Richardson on Django (Wallace Bucking Bulls)
Richardson has drawn a strong bull here. Django that should turn back into his hand and allow him to post some big numbers. He was last ridden in Tamworth last season for 86.5 points by Brazilian Lucas Divino and has bucked off four straight cowboys.
Championship Round Pen
Awaiting the sixth-placed rider is Rata Tat Tat from BK Bucking Bulls. This bull is unridden in 8 outs and has posted an average bulls score of 43.09 points in his career.
Rock The House has been covered just the eight times in his career for Dunne Bulls and Big Screens Australia. His last two outs have averaged 43 points with Lachlan Slade (Cairns, 87-points) one of four riders to record a qualified ride in his previous seven outs.
Iron Jacket has been ridden in over 50% of his career trips and has been responsible for four round wins and four second-place round finishes. The Wallace Bucking Bulls’ bucker has averaged 44 points in his previous three outs.
Dunne Bulls’ Drag Iron was covered in Mount Isa for a round winning 89 points by Aaron Kleier. He has just three trips under his belt in PBR competition.
They will be joined by Bud Buster from Kasper Bucking Bulls and JD Bucking Bulls who is unridden in his two career PBR trips at an average bull score of 43 points.
The leader of the 2019 Rookie Bull of the Year race Black Tuxedo will be the opponent for the leading rider. This bull has put up an average bull score of 43.17 points and has been covered just the once for Wallace Bucking Bulls. That was by Brady Fielder for 86-points and the win a fortnight ago in Newcastle.
The 2019 Burnett Heads Touring Pro looks a tough week to pick a winner with many bulls making their PBR debut and PBR Australia’s young-guns looking to make their mark.
I will go with Lane Mellers to take the win. He has drawn a nice bull in Round 1 but will have to contend with a debut bucker in Round 2.
It is always hard to tip against Aaron Kleier, but he has a habit of conquering the toughest bulls in the country, so I will add him in for a strong finish.
Jay Borghero has drawn two strong bulls and if he can get one, or both ridden, the Beaudesert cowboy should find himself in high on the leaderboard when the dust settles.
I will be backstage at Jack Norgate Oval to bring you all the news, ride scores, pictures and videos from the 2019 Burnett Heads Touring Pro. Make sure you head to the Ride the Rage Score Center and Social Media channels to stay up to date!
Check ridetherage.com on Monday morning for full Wrap up of the event.