Nine of the top-10 riders in PBR Australia competition are scheduled to take their place in the 2019 Newcastle Invitational draw. The bullpen for the tenth Monster Energy Tour stop of the year looks to be a robust set of bovine athletes that won’t make it easy for the riders.
With the top riders in attendance, we should see plenty of fireworks as we kick off the run to the PBR Australia Grand Finals.
Dungog’s Oscar Leake will be looking to get the cowboys on the board early when he meets up with Coors Light (12-8, PBRA) for the third time. The John Gill & Sons bucker has won their previous two matchups in 1.6 and 4.46 seconds.
Cliff Richardson has covered four of his last eight bulls and recorded top-10 finishes at eight of his previous ten events. The Gresford cowboy faces John Gill’s Homicidal 2 (12-4, PBRA), while Kiwi Fraser Babbington will be looking cover Down Under (18-6, PBRA).
No. 4 ranked Kurt Shephard faces a tough opponent in the opening round. The Atherton bull rider will go up against Dark Destroyer (12-1, PBRA) who has bucked off some of the tour’s top riders in the past 12 months. Shephard holds an outstanding 11-for-16 record on home soil this season.
Young-guns Bailey Woodard and Lane Mellers both have rematches against bulls from John Gill & Sons. The pair will face Stir Crazy (9-4, PBRA) and Ransom 2 (5-5, PBRA) respectively after the bulls won both previous matchups in 2018.
Jay Borghero also has a rematch to kick off his night. He last went up against George Hempenstall’s Maximum Rat (11-5, PBRA) in 2017 at Nowra where the bull was the victor in 4 seconds. Brazilian Rubens Barbosa faces Maximum Rat’s pen mate Eight Gauge (15-3, PBRA) who has bucked off his last seven riders.
In his first PBR appearance since 2017, Robert Hicks will attempt Eric Yates’ Chocolate Thunder (19-2, PBRA) to round out the opening section.
Troy Wilkinson faces Hempenstall’s Stealth (13-4, PBRA) for the third time since making his return from injury. The pair have split their previous two matchups with the Upper Horton cowboy scoring 85.5 points in Melbourne earlier this season. The bull then got revenge in Shepparton with a 43 point, 6.47-second buckoff.
Wallace Bucking Bulls’ Scene of the Crash (10-2, PBRA) looks a tough opponent for Toby Leake who has bucked off his last five bulls in PBR competition.
Aaron Kleier will look to carry his momentum from Canada into his matchup with Django (7-3, PBRA). This bull has not been ridden since Iron Cowboy where Lucas Divino scored 86.5 points in 2018.
Lachlan Richardson has an excellent shot at snapping his buckoff streak here against Wallace’s Super Natural (7-6, PBRA). The bull has been covered in five of his last seven outs. He combined with Lachlan Slade for a round win in his previous out at Last Cowboy Standing.
Mighty Whitey (2-1, PBRA) will be the opponent for Tamworth’s Ethan Watts who has bucked off his last five bulls.
Cody Heffernan also returns from injury with a rematch opportunity against the rider-friendly Iron Jacket (6-8, PBRA). The pair went 87.5 for the round win in Rockhampton last season. All eight qualified rides aboard this bull have either won the round or placed second in the round.
The undefeated Jack Rabbit (3-0, PBRA) is the draw for Troy Cross while Sam Woodard will be hoping to put a qualified ride on the board against Specsaver (0-1, PBRA).
Joshua Jones has bucked off just three long round bulls this season. He gets a shot at revenge in a rematch from Rockhampton against Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls’ Broken Halo (10-2, PBRA).
Veteran Budd Williamson has covered two of his last six bulls and goes up against a bull that makes his PBR debut named Lethal Dose (0-0, PBRA).
Wild Paint (6-3, PBRA) has been ridden twice in his last three outs with Trefor Sproule hoping he can add his name to the qualified ride list.
After an outstanding run in Canada with seven top-10 finishes, Brady Fielder goes up against Dittmann Bucking Bulls’ Shots (9-5, PBRA). Joshua Jones was 85.5 points on this bull just a few weeks back in Mount Isa.
We close out the opening round with Nebo’s Mitchel Paton, who has covered just one bull since finishing co-champion at PBR Origin, against King’s Ransom (4-2).
Oscar Leake once again leads us off against the very experienced Dittmann bucker Lock n Load (24-4, PBRA) who has been covered just once this season.
POA Ray Ban (16-5, PBRA) has allowed only one qualified ride in his last eleven trips, and that was for 89-points by Cody Heffernan in Shepparton. Kurt Shephard gets his first chance at making the whistle aboard one of Dittmann Bucking Bulls most consistent bovines.
Dingo’s Bailey Woodard faces an uphill battle against Ted (14-1, PBRA) with Robert Hicks out next aboard Silent rage (30-8, PBRA).
Cliff Richardson will climb aboard High Class Hooker (17-7, PBRA) for the third time. The bull has won both of their previous matchups with the last buck off fresh in the mind. The Dittmann bovine was marked 44.5 points in the 3.72-second dispatch at Mount Isa.
Rubens Barbosa will go up against Kasper Bucking Bulls’ SweetPro’s Turn It Up (15-3, PBRA) who has bucked off his last six opponents. He will be followed by Toby Leake, who has a matchup with Wrangler’s Volatile (7-3, PBRA). Volatile has been ridden in his last two outs.
Continuing the Kasper Bucking Bulls run will be SweetPro’s Mystery (1-3, PBRA) who has drawn the No. 1 ranked Aaron Kleier. It’s a favourable draw for Kleier with scores as high as 87 points recorded on the bull this season.
Beaudesert’s Jay Borghero will face SweetPro’s Chemical Weapon (12-8). Seven of the eight qualified rides on this bull have resulted in cowboys receiving cheques.
Lachlan Richardson and Fraser Babbington will go up against the Stuart Timm pair of Big Buck Hunter (2-4, PBRA) and Russian Roulette (6-3, PBRA) respectively.
We kick off a run of young guns against Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls with Lane Mellers facing Ooh Night Hawk (15-4, PBRA). All four qualified rides on this bull have been for top-5 finishes.
Kingaroy’s Joshua Jones will attempt to be the first rider to make the whistle against Hammer McKenzie (5-0, PBRA) while Brady Fielder gets another shot at Train Wreck (8-3) after the bull won their battle at PBR Origin in June.
Mitchel Paton looks to have drawn a good one with cowboys previously combining with Silver Lining (4-2, PBRA) to finish in the money at the Sydney Show and Last Cowboy Standing.
Ayr’s Budd Williamson climbs aboard The Donald (7-3, PBRA) for the second time after the bull won their first matchup in 2.86 seconds. The undefeated Crackalackin (2-0, PBRA) will be the opponent for Trefor Sproule in the second round.
Aces & Eights (5-1, PBRA) will be attempting to make Troy Cross his sixth straight buck off with Cody Heffernan out next against the unridden Ooh Kit Carson (8-0, PBRA).
Ethan Watts faces Throsby & Russell’s Feel The Fire (10-2, PBRA) who has bucked off his last six riders.
Sam Woodard goes up against Stuart Timm’s undefeated bucker Shotgun (4-0, PBRA) with Troy Wilkinson anchoring the cowboys in the second long round against Pole Dancer (1-1, PBRA).
Championship Round Bull Pen
Kasper Bucking Bulls’ undefeated bucker Twisted X Hidden Agenda (3-0, PBRA) will lead the short round pen off against the eighth-ranked rider. He has averaged a bull score of 43.17 in his short career.
The Wallace Bucking Bulls pair of Freckles Brown (13-1, PBRA) and Black Tuxedo (5-0, PBRA) will be tough to get by. Freckles Brown has recorded a career average bull score of 43.85 while Black tuxedo leads the Rookie Bull of the Year race with an outstanding 43.4 point average.
The seldom ridden pair of POA Fully Locked & Loaded (29-5, PBRA) and POA Palooka (38-3, PBRA) head Dittmann Bucking Bulls team for the evening. Fully Locked and Loaded leads the way in the Bucking Bull of the Year race, averaging 44.3 points while Palooka sits fifth with an average of 43.9 points. If riders can get by either of these two bulls, they will post big numbers and put themselves well in contention for the buckle.
Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls supply Ooh Call Me Joe (18-8, PBRA) and Ooh Mr Buckmore (7-4, PBRA) for the rank pen. Call Me Joe combined with Kurt Shephard for the Last Cowboy Standing winning ride. His career average ride score is 87.67 points with 43.87 points awarded to the Call Me Joe per out on average. Mr Buckmore has bucked off his last four riders and has not been covered since Cody Heffernan won the event in Ballarat earlier this season with an 88.5 point performance.
High Flying Akubra (12-11, PBRA) will be the opponent for the No. 1 ranked rider heading into the Championship Round. Ten of the eleven qualified rides aboard this John Gill & Sons bucker have positioned the cowboy in the top-3 of each round, so he looks a fantastic allocation for the leader.
For more in-depth matchup analysis, keep your eye out on Saturday Morning for the 2019 Newcastle Invitational edition of The Morning Line.