On a night where the riders covered just seventeen percent of their bulls, it was Cody Heffernan (Singleton, NSW) who reigned supreme to take home the PBR Australia Monster Energy Dubbo Invitational event champion buckle on Saturday evening.
Heffernan picked up his third win of the 2018 PBR Australia season with a gritty 2-for-3 performance, capped off with an 89-point ride on Call Me Joe (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) in the Monster Energy Championship Round.
“Coming to the end of the long round I knew there was a good chance of drawing (Call Me) Joe again and I was pretty excited after scoring 89-points on him to win Shepparton earlier this year.”
“I was thinking about what I could do to be 90-points on him this time.”
Call Me Joe was back to his brutal best, turning back to the right and entering a fast spin with Heffernan scrambling to make the whistle. The bull was scored 44.5, taking home the high-marked bull award with his record now 0-for-2 against the 2016 PBR Australian National Champion.
“I had a bit more trouble with him this time. He had me wrung back quite a bit mid-ride and looked like he was going to buck me off but I got back to my rope, sat back up and finished off the ride strong.”
“I was pretty happy with the 89-points and the win.”
Despite starting the night with a 7.8 second buck off in Round 1, Heffernan made it back to Round 2 on time where he would face Maximum Rat (George Hempenstall). The ride did not appear to go as planned for the Singleton cowboy who was marked down at 7.5 seconds but a confident Heffernan challenged the buck off time. After a judges review, the 28-year-old was ruled to have made the whistle and marked 87.5 points to become one of only three riders to put a score on the board in the Long Rounds.
Heffernan has been one of the most consistent PBR Australia riders since the Monster Energy Tour resumed in Newcastle, recording five straight Top-6 finishes leading into the Dubbo Invitational.
“I’ve placed at all the PBR Australia events since Newcastle so I knew it was about my time to win one. I just try to remain consistent, ride my bulls and let the judges take care of it.”
His 580-point haul keeps him within striking distance of a second National Championship. Heffernan also moves to 40th in the PBR World Standings, just 115 points behind the 35th Marcos Gloria.
Aaron Kleier extended his lead on the 2018 PBR Australian National Standings leaderboard thanks to a second place finish in Dubbo. The 20-year-old was unable to convert his good opening round draw into points but was able put himself onto the leader board with 80-points on The Donald (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) in Round 2.
With his rivals in the title race faltering in the earlier rounds, Kleier had a great opportunity to extend his lead on the unridden SweetPro’s Volatile from Kasper Bucking Bulls in the Championship Round. The bull was outstanding as he wound his way across the arena for a solid 44 points bull score, but he was no match for the Clermont, Queensland cowboy who was almost faultless for the eight seconds and was rewarded with 89-points.
View the current PBR Australia Standings
Toby Leake (Dungog, NSW) was the only rider to put a score on the board in Round 1. His 82.5 points on Windy Gate (George Hempenstall) was good enough to enter the Championship Round in second place, setting up a matchup with John Gill & Sons’ High Flying Akubra.
The 19-year-old rose to task, making the whistle with the judges awarding 85.5 points for his effort. It was Leake’s first ever top-3 finish in PBR Australia competition and I am sure it will be the first of many. He jumped to 26th in the Australian National Standings and if he can put up another solid result at the next event in Tamworth, we could see the young-gun at the Grand Finals in Townsville.
Kurt Shephard (Atherton, QLD) was the only other rider to produce a qualified ride in Dubbo. Shephard was able to progress into the Championship Round on time, where he recorded 83-points on George Hempenstall’s Red Rat. It was the 24-year-old’s fourth straight top-4 finish since his return to PBR competition and he now occupies the 18th spot on the Standings leaderboard.
Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls took out the Dubbo Invitational Bull Team event with Call Me Joe leading the way with his 44.5 points.
He was ably supported by pen mates Night Hawk and Mr Buckmore who were all awarded 43.5 points by the judges.
SweetPro’s Volatile (Kasper Bucking Bulls) and Stealth (George Hempenstall) also produced outstanding outs in the Championship Round for 44-point bull scores. George Hempenstall’s Maximum Rat and Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls’ Bring The Action were both marked 43.5 points in Round 2.
PBR Australia now takes a month break while PBR Finals Week takes place in Las Vegas but will return with Iron Cowboy in Tamworth on 17 November.