The PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour visits Mildura for the very first time this Saturday night.
Nineteen bull riders will compete over two rounds of competition as the race to November’s PBR Australia Grand Finals continues.
Nearly one-third of the bullpen is making their PBR debut this weekend, but the remaining bovines appear relatively rider-friendly. We could see up to seven or eight riders with two-scores on the board when we crown a champion.
No. 6 ranked Lane Mellers will get things underway in what appears to be a favourable matchup with Spokane (1-3, PBRA) from Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls.
The run of TnR bulls continues with Terms & Conditions (0-2, PBRA) against Cameron McLennan with Tamworth’s Ethan Watts next to go in a rematch with Landing Strip (5-1, PBRA).
Lachlan Slade will make his first appearance in Australia since the winter run, and he will do battle with Switch Back (6-5, PBRA).
Rookie Brady Fielder will get his shot at the unridden Full Noise (3-0, PBRA) in what looks to be one of the most crucial matchups of the night.
Battle Jack (3-1) closes out the first run on TnR bulls against No. 5 ranked Cliff Richardson with Grafton’s Robert Hicks next to go aboard Vertical Exit (0-0, PBRA) from John Gill & Sons.
Anther Gill bucker, Gold Bandit (0-0, PBRA) will make his debut against Bulahdelah’s Justin Robards.
Lawson Nobbs will climb aboard penmate Wallaby Bob (5-6, PBRA) before we close out the first section of the night with No. 1 ranked Aaron Kleier against Reverend Mr Black (1-1, PBRA).
McPhee Rodeo Company brings us the next four bulls, all of whom are making their PBR debut.
Tasmania’s Kyle Maskiell faces Broken Promise (0-0, PBRA) with PBR veteran Budd Williamson next out against All The Talk (0-0, PBRA).
Mr Fabulous (0-0, PBRA) will be the opponent for Nathan Burtenshaw in his return to Australia while JC Davis finishes the run on penmate Spring Fling (0-0, PBRA).
Hot Dots (9-6, PBRA) begins another run of TnR buckers to close out the round with Wayne Crisp climbing aboard. Victorian bull rider Sam Woodall gets his chance at the seldom ridden Broken Halo (10-2, PBRA).
Eidsvold’s Sam Woodard will be the first rider to take on Hangover (0-0, PBRA) in PBR competition with Jay Borghero has a chance at keeping the cowboys perfect against Matt Black (0-2, PBRA).
We finish off the opening round with the No. 3 ranked Lachlan Richardson up against Laramie (0-0, PBRA) in the bull’s debut PBR out.
The second round begins with another run TnR bulls against riders involved in the Grand Finals bubble race, and first out will be Cameron McLennan aboard Twisted T (1-1, PBRA). Ayr’s Budd Williamson will follow aboard Wild Paint (8-3, PBRA).
Red Man (12-12, PBRA) has split half of his rides with the cowboys, and this time Robert Hicks gets his chance to put the riders ahead.
Sam Woodall faces On Point (14-10, PBRA) with Kiwi JC Davis next to nod aboard Bad Apple (9-3, PBRA).
Beaudesert’s Jay Borghero will line up against Silver Lining (5-7, PBRA) to end the string of TnR bovines.
Wayne Crisp and Sam Woodard will take a pair of bulls from Morgys Cattle Company who are both making their PBR Debut. Crisp will go against Little Moody (0-0, PBRA) with Woodard facing Big or Bust (0-0, PBRA).
A run of John Gill & Sons bulls begins with Kyle Maskiell climbing aboard Homicidal 2 (13-4, PBRA) with Coonamble’s Nathan Burtenshaw next to ride against Stir Crazy (10-4, PBRA) to finish the section.
The final section of the night is stacked with some of the best bull riders in the country, and Lane Mellers will be first out aboard Ransom 2 (6-7, PBRA) in a rematch from Newcastle earlier this year where the Mundubbera cowboy was 85.5 point for the Round 1 win. The pair also went at it during the 2018 Adelaide Invitational where the bull won in 2.79 seconds.
High Flying Akubra (9-8, PBRA) and Moura’s Lawson Nobbs will go head to head before we see Justin Robards climb aboard Down Under (10-6, PBRA) for the second time. Robards and Down Under did battle in Yass earlier this season with the bull parked 42-points and the clock stopped at 4.3 seconds.
Tamworth’s Ethan Watts will be next out aboard Coors Light (12-5) in a rematch from the 2018 Global Cup in Sydney where the bull was victorious in 2.06 seconds.
Eight-time PBR World Finals Qualifier Lachlan Richardson will face his second debut bull of the right when he goes against Super Hero (0-0, PBRA) from Morgys Cattle Company.
Reigning Australian Champion Aaron Kleier will face penmate Oh Deer (0-0, PBRA) who will also make his debut PBR performance.
Lachlan Slade is next on the daysheet against TnR’s Posting Bail (3-2, PBRA). Next to go will be Gresford’s Cliff Richardson who will be trying to become the first to make the 8-second whistle aboard penmate Southern Man (4-0, PBRA).
In the final out of the event, Brady Fielder faces off with TnR’s Train Wreck (10-3, PBRA) for the third time in his short career. The bull has won both of their previous battles with the clock stopping in 4.35 seconds at PBR Origin in Sydney and 7.55 seconds at Newcastle in August.
Once again, it is hard to go past the top-ranked guys as they are all riding extremely well.
Lane Mellers goes on top for me. He has covered six of his last seven bulls and is his confidence is sky-high. Mellers has drawn well in both rounds against bulls that have a PBR record in favour of the riders and both should turn back into his hand.
Brady Fielder has drawn two unridden bulls, but he seems to relish these opportunities. If he can get by them both, the points advantage he will gain on the aggregate leaderboard should see him collect his third Monster Energy Tour buckle of the season.
For a roughie this week I will go with Jay Borghero. He has a great draw in Round 1 and should snap his run of buck offs. Then, his second-round situation appears to be a flip of the coin, but if he can put one up, he will go close to making it 2-for-2.
The likes of Aaron Kleier, Cliff Richardson, Lachlan Richardson and Nathan Burtenshaw will not be far away but with so many unknown bulls in the draw, it’s hard to pinpoint who will excel.
As this event will not be shown on RidePass, I will only have limited updates in the Ride the Rage Score Center from 6:00 pm AEST on Saturday. Make sure you check back on Sunday for my wrap-up.