Today, the PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour heads up the range to Queensland’s Garden City for the 2020 Toowoomba Invitational and another dual-event performance.
The 2020 PBR Australia Grand Finals are just a fortnight away, and the pressure is firmly on the cowboys as they jostle for position in the National Standings with only the top-22 riders guaranteed a spot in Townsville.
The top-6 ranked cowboys have dominated the past three tour stops, each picking up an event win, but this week they will have to contend with some tricky draws in the afternoon and evening sessions if they are to reign supreme. Both events look wide open.
Round 1 Matchups
Jake Curr on Iron Jacket (Wallace Bucking Bulls):
The Mount Isa bull rider has been outstanding across the past four tour stops, riding 66% of his bulls and that has seen him climb to No. 3 in the standings. Curr’s confidence will be sky high after picking up his maiden event win last weekend in Beaudesert, and he has drawn nicely here in the afternoon long round. Iron Jacket has been ridden in almost 58% of his PBR Australia outs, and one of those qualified rides belongs to Curr. They teamed up for 82.5 points at Mackay just a few weeks ago. If the bull makes the turn back to the left and into the 21-year-old’s hand again, we should see a repeat effort with a few extra points on the score.
Aaron Kleier on Mickey Mouse (Wallace Bucking Bulls):
The No. 2 ranked bull rider in the country has made a few unforced errors across the past few tour stops, but I can’t see Kleier letting this opportunity slip away. Mickey Mouse has been out three times in PBR Australia competition with a 78.5-point ride to Ben Gard the only blemish on his record. The other two trips resulted in quick buck offs. We have seen this bull turn back in both directions, but there hasn’t appeared to be anything in his action that the Clermont cowboy can’t handle.
Jackson Gray on Super Natural (Wallace Bucking Bulls):
Gray has run into some tough bulls since he picked up the first event win of his career in Bundaberg just over a month ago, but the 19-year-old has drawn favourably here in Round 1. Super Natural is another bull that gets covered in more than 50% of his PBR Australia trips. This bull has been a consistent performer throughout his career, and while he will most likely turn back to the right and away from the Barcaldine cowboy’s hand, his timing and tempo give Gray an excellent chance to make the whistle and improve on his No. 10 ranking.
Lachlan Richardson on Zoo Animal (BK Bucking Bulls):
The No. 1 bull rider in the country has been almost unstoppable, covering 75% of his bulls since the competition restart and he has opened a nice break in the race for the Gold Buckle. Zoo Animal has been very hard to get past in the last few years, allowing only one score from his fourteen PBR Australia outs. That went to Cody Rodeo Tyler at last season’s Grand Finals for 83.75 points. This bull hasn’t faced a rider with the experience that Richardson possesses in quite a long time, so this will be his biggest challenge. I am leaning towards the Gresford talent making the 8-seconds, but I think the matchup is a real flip of the coin with the bull expected to turn back to the left and away from the 28-year-old’s hand.
Brady Fielder on False Pretenses (ST Bucking Bulls):
The Clermont talent’s riding record has been patchy since the restart, but I don’t think Fielder is far off putting together a string of qualified rides and he gets an excellent chance to kick off a run here against False Pretenses. This bull has bucked off four straight riders to begin his PBR Australia career with the clock stopping at an average time of 4.5 seconds, but Fielder is a class above his previous opponents. False Pretenses will be around to the left and away from the 21-year-old’s hand, but Fielder has been riding well in that direction, and he always seems to give himself a good start.
Round 2 Matchups
Caiden Sandilands on Roger Rabit (ST Bucking Bulls):
Sandilands rode very well in Rockhampton last month, going 2-for-4 but last weekend we saw him luck out in Beaudesert. The Rockhampton young gun sits a little too close to the Grand Finals bubble, but he gets a chance to bounce back. Roger Rabit made his debut at Beaudesert with two trips averaging 41.25 points, and he bucked off two right-handed riders. He looks to be a much more suitable matchup for left-handed cowboys, and I think Sandilands fits the bill. The bull’s timing wasn’t perfect last week, so that will be something that the 22-year-old will have to counteract if he is to reach the bell.
Aaron Kleier on Django (Wallace Bucking Bulls):
The 22-year-old and Django will go head to head for a second time in PBR Australia competition after the bull emerged victorious in their previous matchup. That was in Newcastle last season where the bull got the better of Kleier late in the trip with the clock stopping at 7.95 seconds. He does like to turn back to the right, and he keeps coming for the entire duration of the ride. That will be away from Kleier’s hand. There are not too many bulls that get by the defending PBR Australian National Champion more than once, so I am happy to side with Kleier to make amends.
Lachlan Richardson on Scene of the Crash (Wallace Bucking Bulls):
Scene of the Crash has been tough to ride over the past couple of years, winning 14 straight matchups before Eli Bee rode him a month ago in Bundaberg for 80.5 points. He tends to leave the chutes in a hurry, before making a turn back to the right and that should play into Richardson’s hand. We saw a lot of good right-handed riders make it deep into the 8-seconds during the bull’s buck off streak and it is in the last few seconds of the ride where the bull usually gains the upper hand.
Bailey Woodard on Rockin On (BK Bucking Bulls):
Woodard is another young gun who has been riding very well at the past few tour stops, covering 33% of his bulls since Mackay to move up into 15th place in the standings. His opponent, Rockin On, has been quite rider-friendly since making his PBR Australia debut last season, allowing two 8-second rides from his three trips. He likes to take a significant look to the left before turning back to the right, and he keeps attempting to throw the cowboy forward. Both qualified rides went the way of right-handed riders, but I think he should team up with lefties just as well.
Kurt Shephard on Suga Boom Boom (BK Bucking Bulls):
This draw looks a nice matchup for Shephard who will be hoping to keep contact with the front runners in the National Standings. The Mareeba cowboy is riding at 50% since the Mackay tour stop despite encountering some unfavourable draws over the past few weekends. Suga Boom Boom has five PBR Australia trips to his name and left-handed riders are 2-for-3 against him for an average ride score of 86 points. He will buck to the left, and I think we should see the 26-year-old contend for the round win.
Jack McArthur on Freckles Brown (Wallace Bucking Bulls):
The Cooyar bull rider hasn’t had the best run through his last six events, encountering a lot of tough bulls that have been turning back away from his hand. McArthur will get another one that turns left here, but Freckles Brown is known to reverse back to the right, and I think that will allow him to finish strong into his hand. This bull has been covered in his last three outs with ride scores averaging 83.33 points going the way of right-handed riders. The 25-year-old has slipped back into the cut zone for Grand Finals qualification, but a ride here will see that pressure ease considerably.