Lachlan Richardson scored a dominant event win at the 2019 PBR Australian Grand Finals off the back of a 4-for-5 weekend which featured three round wins.
The 26-year-old overcame a slow start to power through the later rounds, amassing an aggregate total of 350.25 points to hold off 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco, who was the only other cowboy to finish with four scores.
Richardson had previously posted a third-place, and a runner up finish at the Australian Finals in 2014 and 2016.
The win bumped Richardson up into second place in the National Standings, as he collected 2137.5 of the 2500 championship points. He ended the season just 402.5 points behind 2019 PBR Australian National Champion Aaron Kleier after starting the weekend 2510 points behind.
The Gresford bull rider bounced back after bucking off Cattle King Ted (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) in the opening round to score the Round 2 win aboard King Kong (Kleier Bucking Bulls).
Heading into the matchup, Richardson was the only rider in PBR competition to ride time aboard the monster bull, and once again the pair did not disappoint, combining for 88.5 points, which was the high marked ride of the weekend.
Richardson finished the opening night sitting in fourth place.
In Round 3, Richardson went up against oOh! Call Me Joe (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) for the first time and came away with another round win, scoring 86.75 points with a textbook ride into his hand.
Entering the final long round of the weekend, Richardson had the opportunity to move to the head of the leaderboard if he could get by Cattle King King’s Ransom (Dittmann Bucking Bulls). The bull turned back into his hand, and Richardson posted a flashy 87-point score to finish second in the round.
He became the No. 1 seed heading into the Championship Round and set up a mouth-watering clash with 2019 Rookie Bull of the Year, Black Tuxedo (Wallace Bucking Bulls).
After Kaique Pacheco applied the pressure with a qualified ride to take over the event lead, Richardson produced a clutch performance in the final slot to put up 88.25 points for his third-round win.
Pacheco was outstanding in his return from injury, posting four scores to finish with an aggregate total of 332.25 points.
On a rough opening night, the Brazilian was also down early in the opening round after Crackalackin (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) had a great trip.
Pacheco rode Iron Jacket (Wallace Bucking Bulls) in Round 2 for 82-point despite not calling for the gate and was awarded a re-ride option, which resulted in a 79-point score on Drag Iron (Dunne Bulls) with another option. He kept the score and sat at the bottom of the fifteen riders to post a score on the opening night.
The 25-year-old moved to 2-for-3 after he rode Code Blue (Kleier Bucking Bulls) in Round 3 for 82.5 points in the final long round, moved to within striking distance of the event with an outstanding 86.5-point ride aboard Annihilation (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls).
Pacheco entered the Championship Round in fifth place, and he made no mistakes aboard Berzerk (MJ Bucking Bulls/Brandenburg Bucking Bulls), marked 84.25 points.
Troy Wilkinson headed a log jam of elite riders who finished with three scores on the board.
The Upper Horton cowboy took the Round 4 win on his way to building a 257.75-point weekend.
Wilkinson got his weekend started right with an 83-point trip aboard Western Ways (Kleier Bucking Bulls), but he couldn’t convert aboard oOh! Call Me Joe (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) in Round 2.
Flaunt It (Dunne Bulls) got the better of the 2017 PBR Australian National Champion in Round 3 before Wilkinson caught fire, taking maximum points in the fourth round thanks to a brilliant 88.25-point effort aboard The D.O.C. (MJ Bucking Bulls/Brandenburg Bucking Bulls).
Wilkinson then covered POA Lock n Load (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) in the Championship Round for 86.5 points to bounce from the sixth slot and into third place.
In his farewell performance, Fraser Babbington went out with a bang in fourth place with an aggregate score of 255.0.
The 2015 PBR Australian National Champion finished the opening night a perfect 2-for-2. Babbington took the Round 1 win after he dominated Cattle King King’s Ransom for 86.5 points, and he backed that up with a solid 83-point ride aboard Flaunt It (Dunne Bulls) to sit second at the conclusion of the Friday night performance.
When Babbington posted 85.75 points away from his hand aboard Shots (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) in Round 3, a fairy-tale finish was on the cards, but after fourth round buck-off at the hands of Get Ya Freak On (Diamond J Rodeo Co.), it proved a bridge too far.
In true Babbington style, the Kiwi gave 2019 PBR Australia Champion Bucking Bull POA Fully Locked & Loaded (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) everything he had in the Championship Round, but the bull proved too strong, marked an event high 44.5 points.
In yet another excellent Finals performance, Cliff Richardson finished the event in fifth place with 254.75 points total.
The 28-year-old went 1-for-2 on the opening night after he covered Watch This (Kleier Bucking Bulls) in Round 1 for 83-points. Rata Tat Tat (BK Bucking Bulls) then claimed a quick win in their Round 2 matchup.
Richardson bounced back on night 2, dominating Jackie Who (Dunne Bulls) for 84-points in Round 3 before closing out the long rounds with a magnificent 87-point ride aboard Seek and Destroy (Wallace Bucking Bulls) which put him back in the race for the event title.
oOh! Mr Buckmore (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) would be Richardson’s opponent in the final round. While he had made the whistle aboard the bull previously, the bovine would get his revenge on this occasion.
Ending the event in sixth place and the last of the riders with three scores, was Nathan Burtenshaw.
The Coonamble talent was unstoppable early, covering Booger Man (MJ Bucking Bulls/Brandenburg Bucking Bulls) for 84 points in Round 1, and adding a further 86 points in the second round aboard Barn Yard (Kleier Bucking Bulls).
Burtenshaw held the aggregate lead after the first night of competition.
The 25-year-old had a torrid time in the chutes on Championship Saturday, climbing aboard a total of six bulls.
Silent Rage (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) proved too strong for Burtenshaw (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) in Round 3. After being granted several re-bulls in Round 4, he rode High Risk (Dunne Bulls) for 82.75 points.
After his initial draw in the short go would not cooperate, Kalkadoon Kid (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls) would be his new opponent with the bull winning the battle.
Filling the final spots in the Championship Round were Brady Fielder and Ethan Watts.
The seventh-place finish confirmed Fielder’s status as the 2019 PBR Australia Rookie of the Year. The Clermont bull rider put together a great Round 2 ride on POA Palooka (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) for 87.75 points. He then took his aggregate total to 170 points after he combined with Cattle King Ted (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) for 82.25 points in the third round.
Watts totalled 169.25 points after lighting up High Class Hooker (MJ Bucking Bulls/Brandenburg Bucking Bulls) for 86-points in the opening round. His second score of 83.25 points came aboard Feel The Fire (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) in the third round.
Despite a disappointing 1-for-5 weekend, Aaron Kleier held onto his lead to be crowned the 2019 PBR Australian National Champion, becoming just the second ever to take out back-to-back championships.
The 20-year-old finished the weekend in twelfth place with his single 87.75-point score awarded following his ride aboard oOh! Night Hawk (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls).
Seventeen riders out of the twenty-two rider field posted qualified rides during the event. The riders covered 35.42% of their bulls, which is just under four per cent above the average for the 2019 season.
Stay tuned! I will have more on Kleier and Fielder’s wins over the next few days. I will also have more information on the Bucking Bull awards shortly.