PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour action returns to the Entertainment Centre in Newcastle this Saturday night for the 2019 Newcastle Invitational.
This will be the eleventh running of the Newcastle event and it will be broadcast live around the world on RidePass from 7:30 pm AEST. I will be providing live updates inside the Ride the Rage Score Center from 7 pm on Saturday.
The previous two editions of the Newcastle Invitational have ended with co-champions crowned.
Last season it was Aaron Kleier (Clermont, QLD) and Cliff Richardson (Gresford, NSW) who shared the buckle after the pair both recorded three-ride totals of 255.0 points.
Kleier also split the 2017 event win, this time with Fraser Babbington (Gisborne, NZ). Each rider was successful aboard two of their three bulls to finish the night with ride scores totalling 173.75 points.
In 2016, Matt Triplett (Columbia Falls, MT) went 3-for-3 to take out the event title with Chris Lowe (Uralla, NSW) taking home the buckle for his event win in 2015.
2012 winner Lachlan Richardson (Gresford, NSW) is the only other past event champion in the draw.
Event Format and Points Available
Twenty-two riders will compete for the buckle over three rounds of competition at this year’s Newcastle Invitational. Each rider will face two bulls across the first two rounds of the night with the top-8 cowboys then progressing to the Championship Round.
There will be a maximum of 700 points available towards the PBR Australian National Standings if a single rider can win the event and all three rounds. The winner of each round will receive 100 points with the event victory worth a further 400 points.
Off the back of a successful ‘summer’ campaign in North America, Aaron Kleier returns to continue his drive towards a second Gold Buckle. The defending National Champion holds a commanding lead in the 2019 PBR Australia Standings with three event wins and a further seven top-5 finishes recorded.
Returning to Monster Energy Tour competition this weekend will be Cody Heffernan (Singleton, NSW). The 2016 Aussie Champion will be aiming to cut into Kleier’s 842.5-point lead. The No. 2 ranked cowboy in the country has been absent from competition for over two months after suffering multiple injuries at Rockhampton back in May.
Also returning from a triumphant stint in North America is Brady Fielder (Clermont, QLD) who trails Kleier by 1302.5 points. The 19-year-old already has three event wins to his name in Australia and is a dominant leader in the Rookie of the Year race for 2019.
Kurt Shephard (Atherton, QLD) sits in fourth place despite attending just six events on home soil this season. The 2019 PBR Australia Last Cowboy Standing Champion holds a qualified ride success rate of 68.75% which is the highest in the country.
Rounding out the top-5 is Lachlan Richardson who will be hoping to collect a second Newcastle Invitational event title. Richardson has slipped from third to fifth in the standings after bucking off ten straight bulls but remains within reach of the No. 1 ranked Kleier with just nine events remaining.
PBR veteran’s Cliff Richardson and Mitchel Paton (Nebo, QLD) hold down the sixth and seventh spots in the standings. Both riders require a strong result in the Steel City to keep their championship aspirations alive.
Rubens Barbosa (Iaciara, Goias, Brazil) arrives down under for the third time this season. The Brazilian has covered six of his nine bulls in Australia to find himself ranked eighth in Australia.
Troy Wilkinson (Upper Horton, NSW) also returns to competition this weekend after taking a few weeks off to recuperate following his nasty wreck in June at the Cairns Invitational.
For in-depth analysis of the must-see matchups, ensure you visit Ride the Rage on Saturday morning to read The Morning Line.
There are no notable absentees this weekend.
The Bull Pen
The race to become the 2019 Stock Contractor of the Year is heating up, and as a result, we have a pen full of superstars.
Seven of PBR Australia’s best Stock Contractors will battle it out for Champion Bull Team honours in Newcastle with the defending champions Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls leading the charge. TnR sits first in the 2019 rankings following their strong start to the season.
Dittmann Bucking Bulls were able to make massive gains on the leaders throughout June after they picked up buckles in Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.
Also sharing in the spoils at Brisbane and Cairns were Wallace Bucking Bulls who won multiple buckles and pulled back some ground in the race for Stock Contractor of the Year.
Check back tomorrow morning for a full breakdown of the Daysheet for the 2019 Newcastle Invitational.