For the third consecutive weekend, the cowboys and bucking bulls of the PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour were in action with another dual-event stop for the 2020 Mackay Invitational.
Before I get into the recap of all the action, I want to mention the scores briefly.
The bull and the ride scores were consistently low all day, so while figures mentioned the match report below might make it seem that the event was a bit of a drag, it was an excellent event with some great rides and rank trips.
There were are a couple of reasons for the scores to be a bit lower than usual. The weather was hot, and the arena surface was quite deep and made from beach sand, but I still think that we were awarded at the low end of the scale.
I will add some statistics into tomorrow’s Weekend PBR Wrap-Up and look at how they compare to previous events with a similar bullpen.
The first event of the day kicked off with the sun high in the sky on a beautiful warm North Queensland day, and it was Lane Mellers who shone the brightest on an afternoon that was dominated by the young-guns.
The 21-year-old amassed 164 points across the two rounds of competition to claim his maiden win in PBR competition on home soil.
Mellers entered the Championship Round in second place after covering Cattle King Ray Ban (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) in Round 1. The bull threw every trick in the book at the Mundubbera cowboy, but Mellers kept his seat and was awarded 81-points.
His final opponent was Freckles Brown (Wallace Bucking Bulls) and again, the former Rookie of the Year was equal to the task, handling the bull’s big moves into his hand for a further 83 points.
Mellers picked up 74 much need points towards the 2020 PBR Australian National Standings to bound into the No. 8 ranking.
Jake Curr entered the Top-3 in the standings after collecting 58 points thanks to his runner up finish with an aggregate ride score 163 points.
The Mount Isa bull rider pushed his season riding percentage above the 50% mark with his first-round ride aboard Meet Ya Maker (Brandenburg/MJ Bucking Bulls) which was worth 80.5 points.
The 20-year-old then teamed up with Iron Jacket (Wallace Bucking Bulls) for 82.5 points in the Championship Round.
Finishing in third place was Sam Woodall, who took full advantage of a second chance opportunity after bucking off his opening round draw.
The Heywood bull rider was the No. 6 man on time in the Championship Round. In Round 1, Woodall made some excellent corrections to stick with Notorious (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls). He finished the 8-seconds strong, opening up with the outside leg for 84.5 points.
It was the third straight event where Curr has finished in the points, this time collecting 45 points towards the standings and that moves him up into the Top-5.
The leader at the conclusion of Round 1 was Brady Fielder, but he was unable to capitalise on his rematch with the defending Bucking Bull of the Year POA Fully Locked & Loaded (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) in the Championship Round.
The 21-year-old wound up finishing fourth with a single ride score of 83.5 points which he achieved aboard Seek and Destroy (Wallace Bucking Bulls) in a high flying trip during Round 1 that covered plenty of ground.
With the round win and fifth-place finish, the Clermont talent picked up 35 points which boosted Fielder into 15th place in the standings.
Also picking up points in rematch opportunities during Event 1 was Mareeba’s Kurt Shephard who was 79.5 points in the long round aboard High Class Hooker (Dittmann Bucking Bulls), and Clermont’s Aaron Kleier, who was 78 points on Mixed Culture (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls)
The high marked bulls of the afternoon session both came from the Brandenburg Bucking Bulls truck, with Hair Trigger and Incredibull both marked 42.5 points.
As the sunset behind the grandstand and the temperature dropped, it was the veteran riders who turned up the heat in the evening, with Kurt Shephard prevailing under the lights at BB Print Stadium.
In just his third PBR Australia tour stop since returning from left shoulder surgery, the 26-year-old put together a two-ride score of 167.5 points to earn the sixth event win of his career.
Shephard got his 6 pm event started right, combining with 25 for Life (Dunne Bulls) for a solid 82 point ride into this hand.
The 2019 Rookie Bull of the Year Black Tuxedo (Wallace Bucking Bulls) awaited the Mareeba cowboy in the third slot of the Championship Round draw. Shephard looked in good shape as the bull commenced his clockwise spin and he settled into his rhythm for the remainder of the round winning 85.5 point ride.
For his win, Shephard moved into the No. 8 spot on the 2020 PBR Australian National Standings with 72.5 points added to his total.
Lachlan Richardson entered the final round as the last of six riders to post a score in the Round 1, and he made amends for his Event 1 long round buck off with a 79.5 point ride into his hand on Reload (Dittmann Bucking Bulls).
The Gresford cowboy then produced a textbook 83-point bull ride in the Championship Round after sticking with Freckles Brown (Wallace Bucking Bulls) as the bull made some big moves across the sand to take his aggregate total to 162.5 points.
For his runner-up finish, Richardson picked up 55 points which strengthened his lead in the Australian Standings, and he now leads by 58 points on 334.
Dingo’s Bailey Woodard picked up the round win in the long round with 84-points into his hand aboard Cattle King Ray Ban (Dittmann Bucking Bulls).
The 21-year-old was unable to last the 8-seconds aboard Gangatino (Brandenburg/MJ Bucking Bulls) in the Championship Round, but with a third-place result, Woodard equalled his best Monster Energy Tour finish and moved up into the Top-20 after adding 45 points to his 2020 earnings.
Defending Australian Champion Aaron Kleier was fourth on the night after he scored 83.5 points when he covered the change of direction of Slam n Jam (Brandenburg/MJ Bucking Bulls) in the opening round.
The 22-year-old Clermont bull rider earned 32 points towards the National Standings to remain second and maintain contact with the No. 1 ranked Richardson.
Finishing in fifth place was Mt Walker’s Ty Thomson who earned 17.5 points with his first Top-5 finish on the Monster Energy Tour. The 19-year-old recorded an 82-point qualified ride when he rode Ranga (Dittmann Bucking Bulls)
2019 PBR Australia Rookie of the Year Brady Fielder also collected points in the second event after he posted 81-points early in the long round aboard Double XL (Wallace Bucking Bulls).
Dittmann Bucking Bulls‘ POA Fully Locked & Loaded was the high marked bucker in the evening session with 43 points.
The 2020 PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour heads back to where it all began with two events inside Rockhampton’s Great Western Hotel on Saturday, 17th October with events starting at 1 pm and 6 pm.
Check back tomorrow for some more statistics from the 2020 Mackay Invitational, and we will take a look at how the final field for the PBR Australia Grand Finals is shaping up.