This weekend, PBR Australia makes it’s one and only 2020 stop in South Australia for the 2020 Waterloo Wind Farm Marrabel Bullride.
The event will be run under the PBR’s Touring Pro Division banner and will be held in conjunction with the Marrabel Rodeo, which is the oldest continuous rodeo in Australia.
Action will kick off at 7:00 pm ACDT (6:30 pm AEST) this Saturday, 29 February 2020 at the Marrabel Rodeo grounds which are 100km north of Adelaide.
Check out all event times and coverage details in the PBR Rundown.
Last season, Brady Fielder broke through for his first PBR event win, going 3-for-3 to hold off Lachlan Richardson narrowly.
In 2018, Fraser Babbington scored a comfortable win with a 2-for-2 performance, and back in 2017, it was Aaron Kleier who claimed the first win of his PBR career with a 2-for-2 riding record.
Event Format and Points Available
A massive field of 28 riders will head to Marrabel this season.
Two long rounds of competition have been drawn to determine a champion with 7 points towards the 2020 PBR Australian National Standings available to each of the round winners.
A further 18 Aussie points will be awarded to the event champion, plus 10 points towards the 2020 PBR World Standings.
We are just a handful of events into the 2020 PBR Australia season, and with multiple riders competing overseas, Lachlan Richardson is the highest-ranked rider in the Marrabel draw. The Gresford cowboy finished runner up in the 2019 PBR Australia National Championship race and sits 5th in the new year standings. Richardson finished the 2019 calendar year on 6-for-9 riding and recorded an 88.5-point ride aboard Trail of Tears in Round 3 of the 2020 PBR Global Cup.
Troy Wilkinson also returns from Team Australia duties to make his 2020 PBR Australia debut. The 2017 PBR Australian National Champion went 1-for-2 in Arlington thanks to an 84.75-point ride about Night Sweats in the third long round. It has been a successful summer for the Upper Horton bull rider, and he will be looking to carry that momentum into Marrabel.
Mundubbera’s Lane Mellers finished runner up at the New Year’s Eve Touring Pro event in Rockhampton before heading across the Pacific to compete in the USA and Canada. That trip didn’t quite go to plan for the 2018 PBR Australia Rookie of the year, but he has tasted success since his return, and his confidence will be rising.
Another rider to finish inside the Top-10 in 2019 was Ethan Watts. The Tamworth talent finished 8th at the 2019 PBR Australia Grand Finals but finished off the calendar year with buck offs in Tamworth and Melbourne. Marrabel looks a lovely event for Watts to re-launch his ninth season on tour.
Will Purcell wound up finishing the 2019 season in tenth place but has bucked off five of the six bulls he has faced in the 2020 season. The Victorian bull rider will be looking to bounce back following a rough last outing in the dirt at Rockhampton on New Year’s Eve.
Round 1 Highlight Matchups
Lane Mellers will get the event underway against Terms & Conditions from Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls. These two competitors met up last season in Adelaide with the 20-year-old emerging with 84.5 points, and the opening round win. This bull has been ridden four times in his five-trip career with ride scores averaging just above the 83-point mark. He is expected to make the turn back to the right and into Mellers’ hand as the gate cracks.
Out next will be rookie Zane Hall against Cliffhanger from the Richardson and Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls partnership. We watched this bull at the first two Monster Energy Tour events of the 2020 season, and after giving up an 84-point score in Tamworth, the bull won his battle in Melbourne. Hall made a strong impression in his debut at Rockhampton with a Top-5 finish. If he brings that amount of try, the 18-year-old will go close to making this one stick.
Also, out in the first section of the opening round will be Victoria’s Will Purcell against a veteran bull from Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls called Red Man. This bull has been out 28 times in PBR Australia competition and has been covered 14 times with scores averaging 83.50 points. Purcell and Red Man has met up previously, with the bull winning their battle at the Royal Easter Show last year in 6.81 seconds. The bull likes to mix his trips but has tended to favour a right-handed spin in his recent outs, which should favour the 26-year-old.
For the second time in PBR Australia competition, Lachlan Richardson and Switch Back from Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls will go head to head. The bull won their first matchup, marked 43 points in the 2.92 second trip at Yass last season, but Richardson fought back to score 82.75 points at Wodonga later in the year. Switch Back gets covered 50% of the time and as his name suggests, he will start to the left, before reversing the spin to the right allowing the 27-year-old to finish strong.
Leading off the final section of the opening round will be Sam Woodall against Throsby & Russell’s Twisted T. This bull has given up three scores in this five out career with right-handed riders doing the damage for an average ride score of 81.75 points. The 21-year-old Victorian has faced a run of powerful bulls in his PBR Australia appearances dating back to early last season, but Twisted T looks to be a step down and a bull that he will be able to take to the whistle.
Round 2 Highlight Matchups
Opening the round will be Troy Wilkinson against Aussie Dollar from Woodall Rodeo Company. This bull has had just the two PBR Australia outs, and he possesses a scrappy action which has riders rushing to catch up from the moment the gate cracks. He slides and dives his way across the pen, but I think Wilkinson will be able to grit out a qualified ride here. Previously, this bull has shown a tendency to favour a right-handed turn, which will be away from the 29-year-old’s glove, but he is yet to commit to a full rotation.
Ethan Watts gets his chance to add his name to the list of cowboys who have posted scores aboard Woodall Rodeo Company’s YTB early in Section 1. This bull has allowed seven qualified rides averaging 81.46 points in his nine PBR Australia trips, and he has developed a fairly regular pattern. Expect him to clear the gate and turn right for a short time, before reversing to the left. He has pretty good timing, and that should allow the 28-year-old Tamworth cowboy to stick with him to the bell.
Honey Badger from the Swain and Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls partnership will make his PBR Australia debut trip against Cloncurry’s Jack Keats in Section 2. This bull has made his way up through ABBI Australia competition, collecting plenty of silverware on his way. He should be out and around to the right, which will be into the 22-year-old’s hand.
Also, in the second section will be Caiden Sandilands against Rev It Up from Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls. This bull is expected to turn back to the right and away from the 21-year-old’s hand but Rev It Up stays quite flat and bucks at a nice tempo. Both riders who have posted scores have been lefties, and if Sandilands can stick with him as he hurries around the gate, he should be there to receive a score.
Things didn’t go Beau Willis‘ way in this return to PBR competition in Rockhampton on New Year’s Eve, but that outing should have shaken the rust off. Throsby & Russell’s Bad Apple will be his opponent in the third section, and it looks an excellent matchup for the 29-year-old. The bull has given up six scores in his fifteen PBR trips, including the last three straight which have averaged 86-points. This bull typically turns back to the right which should give the Bowen bull rider the upper hand.
Once again, the Marrabel Touring Pro looks a super tough event to try and find a winner with a hot bunch of rookie riders in the draw, plus many bulls that we will see for the first time. I will let this one play out without
I am not expecting too much coverage of this event on Social Media, and sometimes we have to wait a day or two for scores from Touring Pro events to be published. I will pass on any results that I can get my hands on and make sure you check back on Monday for full results in my Weekend PBR Wrap-Up.