The PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour returned in a big way over the weekend with a couple of exhilarating nights of bull riding inside the arena at the Great Western Hotel.
The wrap-up articles on the PBR Australia website have covered the rundowns for the 2021 Rockhampton Invitational. So, let’s look at some of the stats and facts to come out of the weekend because I think there is a fair bit that needs recognising.
Let’s start with the riding percentages. Thirty riders featured in the draw for Friday night, and thirty-one riders competed on Saturday. We saw nine qualified rides in Event 1 and six in Event 2, which gave us the riders success rates of 22.50% and 14.63%.
In comparison, the 2020 season average percentage was 22.57%, while in 2018 and 2019, the rates were both in the 31% range.
So while the riding percentages are still relatively low, we should see this average continue to climb as this group of young riders continue to gain experience at this level of competition. These rates can also be attributed to the strength of the bulls.
The bull power hauled to Rockhampton by the stock contractors was awesome.
The pen was solid on both nights, and the average bull score from both events was at a level that we rarely see.
On night one, the bulls averaged 42.11 points, and on night two, they averaged 42.17 points.
Dating back to the May 2018 edition of the Great Western Event, only six events had produced an average bull score of over 42-points. I guess we can now make that eight.
In 2019 the average score was 41.47 points, and in 2020 the average mark was 41.24 points, so we are looking at a performance of around 0.78-points higher per bull.
Three bulls were marked 44-points or higher on Friday, and there were six on Saturday.
The last time there were six or more bulls who scored 44 points or higher at an event was at Cairns and Mount Isa in consecutive weekends during 2019.
Cattle King Boogers Beach posts huge numbers
Over the past three years, there have been just six 45-point or higher bull scores awarded, and two of those now belong to Dittmann Bucking Bulls’ Boogers Beach for his trips on Friday and Saturday.
Rookie bull rider and Event 2 winner Macaulie Leather lined up against Boogers Beach on both occasions in the Short Rounds, with the bull winning on both matchups in 6-seconds and 2.49 seconds.
On Friday, the judges awarded him 45-points, and on Saturday, he went better, posting 45.50-points to take home Bucking Bull of the Night for each performance.
Boogers Beach is the first bull to achieve back-to-back 45-point trips since POA Fully Locked & Loaded did it for Dittmann Bucking Bulls at Touring Pro events in Mackay and Innisfail in 2017.
Back to the Cowboys
With high bull scores come high ride scores. In 2019 the average qualified ride was worth 83.05 points, and in 2020 it was worth 82.27 points.
On the Friday night of the competition, we saw the average mark come in at a whopping 85.89 points.
That is the highest average seen on tour since the 2018 Tamworth Invitational, which was 86.23 points at a similar riding percentage.
The only other event that has reached that level in the past six years of competition was the 2016 Great Western Hotel Showdown, where the average was 85.91 points with a riding percentage of 32.00%.
The average ride score for Event 2 in Rocky also came in above average at 83.58 points.
Kleier and Richardson resume their battle in Event 1
During the Event 1 long round, Aaron Kleier posted a ride score of 90.50 points on Wallace Bucking Bulls Black Tuxedo on his way to victory.
That was the first 90-point ride completed on tour since Ryan Storey rode POA Fully Locked & Loaded from Dittmann Bucking Bulls at the 2018 Mackay Invitational for the same score.
Kleier’s rider score in that matchup was an incredible 46.50 points. That is the highest that we have seen in all PBR Australia competition dating back to the final events of the 2015 season.
Later that evening, Lachlan Richardson’s share of his 89.50-point ride aboard Reloaded from Dittmann Bucking Bulls in the Championship Round was 46-points. Outstanding.
Again reaching back to mid-2015, just four other riders have been marked 46-points or higher. They are Nathan Burtenshaw, Ryan Storey, Lucas Divino and Matt Triplett.
Kleier’s event winning two bull total of 178.5 points is the highest that I have in my records which go back to mid-2015.
Richardson’s second-place aggregate points total was 174.50, which would have just about won him every two-round event on tour since the Dubbo Invitational of 2018. The only exception is the 2020 Beaudesert Invitational, which Richardson himself won with 175-points.
I might leave it there for now. What a great weekend it was in Rockhampton.
The next stop for the cowboys is the North Queensland Junior Elite Rodeo, where twenty riders will go head to head on the last weekend in May. We then return to the Great Western Hotel on the 12th of June for more Monster Energy Tour action.