As we enter the final stretch of the 2020 PBR Australia season, the race for the National Championship appears to be a two-horse race. However, there is still time for riders to get their name in the conversation with a strong performance at the 2020 Beaudesert Invitational.
Today the cowboys go up against a pen of bulls that is not as recognisable as the groups they have faced at previous Monster Energy Tour stops since the restart. So, I think we can expect to see some surprising results and some big movers up the National Standings leaderboard.
Here are the matchups that I have circled on my daysheets for the afternoon and evening sessions:
Event 1 – Round 1 Matchups
Aaron Kleier on Guilty Pleasure (Dunne Bulls):
Despite winning an event in Rockhampton last weekend, Kleier lost ground in the race for the Gold Buckle, so he will be fired up to close the gap in the first event here in Beaudesert. He has drawn Guilty Pleasure, who has only been ridden the one time from seven outs and that was for 81.5 points by Mitch Paton at Caboolture about a month ago. The bull doesn’t appear to have a set trip anymore after they made a few adjustments to his delivery. He goes back to the left chutes here, and I think his initial look will be to the right and away from the defending Australian Champions hand. I don’t think the ride will end in that direction, and I believe the 22-year-old can finish the ride strong into his hand.
Brady Fielder on Personal Space (Dunne Bulls)
Fielder will be hoping to put a disappointing tour stop in Rockhampton behind him here in the first event long round. The Clermont cowboy was building nicely, covering 40% of his bulls at the previous six events before his 0-for-2 performance in the beef capital. Here he will face Personal Space, who has allowed both left and right-handed riders to record scores averaging 83-points late in the 2019 season. He does prefer a spin to the left, which means the 20-year-old will need to make it work away from his hand, but I think Fielder has been starting his rides well enough to make this one stick.
Lachlan Richardson on Bang Ya Drum (ST Bucking Bulls):
Consistency has been the key to the 28-year-old’s season so far, and it has been bulls like Bang Ya Drum that he has been capitalising on since the restart. Richardson has covered his last six bulls and has pushed his riding percentage to an astonishing 76.92% since the restart. This bull has had just the two trips so far in his PBR Australia career, and he has had his way with a couple of rookie bull riders. Expect the bull to turn back in an anti-clockwise direction and away from Richardson’s hand, but if the Gresford cowboy can get a good start, I don’t see why he can’t be there at the bell.
Kurt Shephard on Drag Iron (Dunne Bulls):
The 26-year-old looks to be back to his best. Despite his last five bulls turning back to the right and away from his hand, Shephard has managed to record three strong scores and push his way into the Top-5 in the standings. Only one left-handed rider has climbed aboard Drag Iron, and that was Aaron Kleier, who holds a personal 2-for-2 record with scores of 89 points in Mount Isa last season, and 84.5 points in Rockhampton a fortnight ago. This matchup looks excellent on paper with the bull expected to turn back to the left and into the Mareeba talent’s hand, which should result in a qualified ride.
Caiden Sandilands on Black Rat (ST Bucking Bulls):
The Rockhampton young-gun will head to the Scenic Rim full of confidence off the back of his career-best tour stop where he finished in fifth and sixth place at his home event. Sandilands gets his chance to maintain that momentum here against Black Rat. He is a big bull that we have seen just a handful of times on tour. Kelsey Pavlou rode him for 83.5 points and took the round win at Caboolture just over a month ago. He is strong leaving the chute but then settles into a spin to the right at an average tempo. It will be a challenge, but I think the 21-year-old is in good enough form to reach the whistle riding away from his hand.
Event 2 – Round 2 Matchups
Kurt Shephard on Little Thunder (ST Bucking Bulls):
This looks like another friendly draw for Shephard in the second event long round. As I mentioned in my look at his Event 1 matchup, he is going great guns, covering four of his last seven bulls across the previous two event weekends. Little Thunder is yet to be ridden in PBR Australia competition, beginning his career with five straight buckoffs. I expect he will make the turn back to the left and into Shephard’s riding hand. While the bull’s previous opponents have struggled to make the second half of the ride, I think the Atherton born bull rider is going good enough to get the job done.
Lawson Nobbs on Seek and Destroy (Dunne Bulls):
Seek and Destroy is one of the better-known bulls in the pen for this weekend and while he hasn’t drawn Nobbs in PBR Australia competition, I would think that they would be familiar with each other. The Moura cowboy broke out of a slump in the second event at Rockhampton, but he still has work to do to get back to the form that we are used to seeing him in. This bull is having his first out for Dunne Bulls after transferring across from Wallace Bucking Bulls and in his previous trips, he has mostly been to the right from the left delivery. While lefties have previously struggled to make time, he gives all riders a chance after his initial turn back as settles into his work.
Sam Woodall on Bud Buster (JD Bucking Bulls):
The 22-year-old put together some lovely bull rides so far since the restart, and he gets the chance to make another one here. Woodall will put himself in contention for another round win if he can make the whistle here against Bud Buster. We have seen only one score posted aboard this bull from eight outs, and that was recorded by Ethan Watts for the short round win and 88-points at Burnett Heads last season. The bull will leave the chutes and put in a fake to the right before turning back into the Heywood talent’s hand. We haven’t seen Bud Buster for a while but if he is back to his best, brace yourself for some fireworks.
Lachlan Richardson on Going Under (Dunne Bulls):
Another inexperienced bull awaits Richardson in the second event long round, and again, the bull is expected to turn back away from his glove. Going Under made his PBR Australia debut in Rockhampton and was ridden by Caiden Sandilands for 83 points. He didn’t appear to have any tricks in that performance, just turned to the left out of the gate and settled into a fast spin. He did shoot forward slightly, but not enough to unsettle Richardson, and the seven-time PBR World Finals qualifier should start the favourite in this matchup.
Aaron Kleier on Personal Space (Dunne Bulls):
Kleier has also scored another nice matchup for Round 1 of the evening session that should suit him nicely. Eight of the nine riders who have drawn Personal Space have progressed to the second half of the ride. The majority of the buckoffs have come around the 5-second mark when the bull starts to do his best work. Initially, he will look to the right, or even make a half turn to the right before spinning back to the left, which should set the Clermont bull rider up to complete a qualified ride.