Jason Mara (Cloncurry, QLD) scored his third event win in as many events, taking out the 2018 PBR Australia Cairns Invitational in front of a capacity crowd at the Cairns Convention Center on Saturday night. The 31-year-old was announced as the thirteenth member of Team Australia earlier in the week and he didn’t let coach Troy Dunn down going 2-for-3 to earn 120 world points to move up seventeen spots into 41st on the PBR World Standings.
It was a fast start for the Cowboys in Round 1 with 14 qualified rides recorded.
Mara held the early lead after riding Troy Keliher’s Google.com for 84.25 points in Section 1 of the night with Mexican Alvaro Aguilar Alvarez close behind with 83.75 points. Alvarez rode George Ayers’ Kudu Child. Team Australia members Budd Williamson and Justin Paton both rode for 83.25 points with Fraser Babbington, Roy Dunn and Troy Wilkinson also on the board.
Lachlan Slade kicked off Section 2 of Round 1 with an 84 point ride on Keg from Diamond J Bucking Bulls to sit 4th in the round. Australian National Standings leader Aaron Kleier moved into the Top 8 with a great ride on Booger Man (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) for 83 points with Lachlan Richardson taking the Round 1 lead with 84.75 points on Bad Booger (Dittmann Bucking Bulls). Team USA member Matt Triplett was hoping to spoil the party with 84.5 points on Brian King’s Shoulda Could Woulda. Ethan Watts, Nathan Burtenshaw and Michael Smith also finished the round 1-for-1.
The bulls fought back in Round 2 with only 8 successful rides.
Team Australia member Cliff Richardson got the cowboys on the board in Section 1 with 83 points on Fire Cracker (Brian King) with 2017 PBR Australian Champion Troy Wilkinson the first to go 2-for-2 with 84.5 points on Dittmann Bucking Bulls’ Silent Rage. Rohan Markham was the best cowboy 1-for-2 with 85.25 points while Nathan Burtenshaw continued his return from a broken collarbone with 86.5 points to be the second cowboy to go 2-for-2. Jason Mara closed out the section with 86.25 points on Pistol Whip (Dunne Bulls) to sit atop the leaderboard with just 11 riders remaining in Round 2.
Team Mexico’s Jorge Valdiviezo made his first ride of the night in Section 2 of Round 2 for 80.5 points but that would not be enough to get the 19-year-old back for the Championship Round. Lachlan Richardson made it 2-for-2 covering Tick Tock (George Ayers) for 81.5 points with Matt Triplett also remaining perfect with 82.75 points on Fire Ball (Fred Kleier).
Five riders were 2-for-2 heading into the Championship Round with the Top 8 on the Leaderboard advancing:
Jason Mara 170.5
Matt Triplett 167.25
Nathan Burtenshaw 166.25
Lachlan Richardson 166.25
Troy Wilkinson 164.5
Rohan Markham 85.25
Lachlan Slade 84
Alvaro Aguilar Alvarez 83.75
The bulls went 8-for-8 in the Championship Round sealing victory for Jason Mara.
Un Broken (Brandenberg Bucking Bulls) and SweetPros Fully Locked & Loaded (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) were both being marked an event high 44.75 points.
Team Australia Roster Update
After the event, Australian Coach Troy Dunn opted to select Mitchel Paton and Ky Hamilton to ride for Australia in the PBR Global Cup next weekend. Both riders did not compete in Cairns but with no standout riders, Dunn opted to head in another direction.
Mitchel Paton (Nebo, QLD) is on his way back after missing nine months recovering from shoulder surgery. The 27-year-old with join Team Australia in good form after recording four Top 10 finishes since his return while riding at 40%. 18-year-old Ky Hamilton (Mackay, QLD) will also join the team after riding 41.7% of his bulls at PBR Australia events this year.
You can read more about the two newest Team Australia team members at ridetherage.com later in the week as part of my PBR Global Cup preview.