Inside the Bullpen – 2019 Shepparton Invitational

The bullpen at last season’s Shepparton Invitational produced one of their finest performances of the 2018 PBR Australia season, recording an average bull score of 42.19 points.

But it was the riders who dominated proceedings, finishing the event with a season-high riding percentage of 42.22% and an average ride score of 85.08 points.

The pen for the 2019 event features a good mix of the experienced and up and coming bulls, and I expect the bovine athletes to get their revenge this Saturday night in Shepparton.

I think we will see riding percentages finish much closer to the 2018 season average of 30%.

Take a look my 2019 Shepparton Invitational Event Preview

PBR Australia’s regular Victorian and Southern NSW Stock Contractors Woodall Rodeo Company and George Hempenstall will once again face the task of defending home dirt against the Cowboys.

They will be supported once again this year by 2018 PBR Australia Stock Contractors of the Year Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls. The Kasper Bucking Bulls team have also made the long journey down to Victoria and will make their debut south of the border.

Round 1 Key Matchups

PBR Australia’s number one and two ranked riders, Aaron Kleier and Brady Fielder will go up against Red Man (9-8, PBRAus) and Twisted X Hidden Agenda (0-0, PBRAus) respectively.

Lachlan Richardson faces off against Spokane (0-1, PBRAus) who gave up an 86-point ride to Brady Fielder in his debut out at PBR level in Marrabel last week while Cody Heffernan gets a rematch with Lost Signal (7-8, PBRAus) in section two after combining for 83.25 points at the PBR Global Cup in Sydney.

Troy Wilkinson will look to continue his excellent form aboard YTB (0-2, PBRAus) as he leads off the second half of the draw while Lane Mellers will face off against Wrangler’s Geronimo (0-0, PBRAus) who will make his debut in Shepparton in the final out of the long round.

Matt Pfingst and Ethan Watts have drawn rider favourites Twisted X (1-2, PBRAus) and Snitch (0-4, PBRAus) in the opening section.

Check out the PBR Australia Website on Saturday morning for more in-depth analysis of Round 1 matchups in this week’s edition of The Morning Line.

View the full 2019 Shepparton Invitational Daysheet

Championship Round Pen

Bulls to watch for in the Championship Round include Wrangler’s Volatile (Kasper Bucking Bulls) who is quickly making a name for himself as one of Australia’s best. Volatile has been out five times in PBR competition and has allowed just the one qualified ride while averaging an outstanding 43.40 point bullscore. The bull combined with 2018 PBR Australian National Champion Aaron Kleier for a solid 89-point trip in Dubbo last season.

George Hempenstall’s Maximum Rat is another nice draw for riders in the short round. He is not the biggest bull, but he always gives it everything, averaging 42.75 points through his twelve PBR outs. Maximum Rat can throw a trick or two into his work, but he mostly has good rhythm and tempo.

Broken Halo has been producing solid bull scores and will lead the charge for Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls. In his short PBR career, he has averaged 42.5 points in his four outs, giving up just the one qualified ride. Broken Halo can be a handful in the opening seconds of the trip, but if riders can outlast that period, they will be well positioned to receive a quality score.

Stay tuned to Ride the Rage for my 2019 Shepparton Invitational Late Mail after lunchtime on Saturday.