Backing up from a disappointing performance last weekend in Shepparton, a hungry Cody Heffernan produced a clutch ride in the final matchup of the Championship Round to take home the 2019 Bendigo Invitational Event Champion buckle.
“I fell off pretty easy last weekend, and I went home and trained pretty hard. I came down here [to Bendigo] and really wanted to win.” Heffernan said from the dirt after being presented as the Bendigo Invitational Champion on RidePass.
As the No.1 ranked rider heading into the Championship Round, Heffernan set up a matchup with a familiar foe in Lost Signal (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls). The pair had matchups twice previously with one win each a piece.
Just one week ago at the Shepparton Invitational, Lost Signal surprisingly got the better of the Singleton, NSW cowboy to end his night after only 4.01 seconds.
Heffernan took the opportunity to exact revenge with both hands, dominating Lost Signal into his hand from the moment the gate cracked, with the judges awarding the ride 86.5 points.
“We have got a bit of history. I really like that bull. He is getting to be one of my favourites.” Heffernan said when PBR Australia’s Warren Matotek asked about matching up with Lost Signal for the second time in a week.
The qualified ride took his event total to 172.5 points which was well above the 170 required to jump his opponents on the Bendigo Invitational leaderboard and claim victory.
Earlier, Heffernan used an 86-point ride in long round aboard the rising Wild Paint (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) to put himself in a favourable position to claim his first victory since Dubbo in October last year.
Wild Paint was unridden heading into their Round 1 matchup, but the bull turned back to the right, and despite throwing plenty of tricks at the 29-year-old, Heffernan’s class prevailed.
Heffernan added a total of 580-points toward the PBR Australian National Standings. His Round 1 win, split Championship Round win and Event win boosted him up into third place with a total of 795 points, 290 points shy of leader Aaron Kleier.
The 2016 PBR Australian National Champion also gained 190 World Points which saw him climb to 40th in the PBR World Standings.
Finishing runner-up in the event was Lachlan Richardson, who shared the Championship Round win with Heffernan thanks to an 86.5 point ride of his own.
The Gresford, NSW bull rider was almost flawless riding away from his hand against Bring The Action (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) in the short-go, taking the lead with just a few riders remaining with a total of 169.5 points.
The 27-year-old has now covered seven straight bulls after easily accounting for Hazmat (Kasper Bucking Bulls) in the opening round of the night. The pair combined for a fast-paced 83 point ride.
Richardson also made a jump up in the Australian Standings with a total haul of 360 points moving him into fourth place, just 5-points behind Heffernan.
2018 Rookie of the Year Lane Mellers looks to have found his groove, finishing in third place on 163-points.
The 19-year-old covered Kasper Bucking Bulls’ Amigo in Round 1 for 81.5 points. The Mundubbera, QLD cowboy then capitalised on a re-ride opportunity in the final round to record a further 81.5 points aboard Bad Apple (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls).
Despite a slow start to the 2019 season, Mellers has now made the jump into the top-10 of the Aussie Standings thanks to a 240 point haul in Bendigo.
Upper Horton, NSW’s Troy Wilkinson was the only other rider to finish the night 2-for-2 after covering the seldom ridden Jack Hammer (Woodall Rodeo Co.) in the long round.
The 2017 Aussie Champ then declined a re-ride in the Championship Round and kept a 77.5 point score after Hot Rock (Woodall Rodeo Co.) didn’t have his best night inside the arena.
Wilkinson consistent form has seen him continually climb the rankings, adding a further 175-points in Bendigo with the 28-year-old now positioned in second place, 256.67 points behind Kleier.
The best rider with one qualified ride was Sam Woodard who now finds himself ranked inside the top-15. The Eidsvold, QLD bull rider finished second in Round 1 after covering Wrangler’s Volatile (Kasper Bucking Bulls) for 83.5 points.
It was a mixed night for the No. 1 ranked rider in the country Aaron Kleier. The 21-year-old made the whistle in the opening round, taking his record against Feel The Fire (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) to 2-0.
The score was 83 points which ultimately was enough to finish in sixth place, retaining his lead in the standings on 1170 points.
In the Championship Round, High Flying Akubra got the better of the reigning PBR Australian National Champion in 5.6 seconds to end his night.
Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls took out the 2019 Bendigo Invitational Champion Bull Team.
Mr Buckmore was the highest marked bull of the night for the team and the event, with 44.5 points awarded in his 6.46 second battle with Brady Fielder in the Championship Round.
Team members Bring The Action (42.5 points) and Night Hawk (43-points) also produced impressive buck offs in the final round of the night.
The Monster Energy Tour heads further south next weekend with Ballarat hosting another night of PBR Australia action on Saturday.
Stay tuned to RidetheRage.com for full coverage of everything PBR Australia.