With only a handful of events remaining in the 2018 PBR season, it is a ride or go home situation for many bull riders worldwide.
PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour
After the washout in Beaudesert a fortnight ago, the battle for the PBR Australia National Championship resumes this weekend with the Monster Energy Dubbo Invitational.
The PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour makes it’s Central West Slopes debut at the Dubbo Showgrounds this Saturday night with action beginning at 6pm AEST (7pm Local).
Aaron Kleier (Clermont, QLD) continues to lead the way in the race for the gold buckle with 4318.32 points accumulated this season. He has a great opportunity to maintain or even extend his lead over the field with a good draw in the long round. The 20-year-old has drawn Lost Signal (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) who has been covered in his last three outs.
Cliff Richardson (Gresford, NSW) is currently ranked in second place, 658 points adrift of Kleier with 2015 PBR Australia Champion Fraser Babbington (Gisborne, NZ) less than 50-points behind in third place.
Richardson has drawn Dark Destroyer from John Gill & Sons in Round 1. This bull has only been covered once from his nine outs in PBR competition.
Babbington will face off with a debut bull from Kasper Bucking Bulls called Hazmat in the opening section of the night.
2016 PBR Australia Champion Cody Heffernan (Singleton, NSW) sits fourth in the standings and has drawn well to continue closing the gap between himself and the front-runners. Heffernan is now only 707.5 points from a podium finish.
The 28-year-old has drawn a bull that he is familiar with in Ramsom 2 from John Gill & Sons. These two met in Adelaide last year, resulting in an 85-point qualified ride and the Round 1 win.
There is a maximum of 550 possible points available at the Dubbo Invitational. The winner of the event aggregate will receive 350 points with each of the round winners receiving 100 points.
So while none of the title contenders can catch Kleier this weekend, a good result will is crucial to keep them within striking distance with the PBR Australia Grand Finals just around the corner.
Both Richardson and Babbington have extra motivation in Dubbo with the announcement that Aaron Kleier will not be accepting the Australian Invite position at the PBR’s Velocity Tour Finals. This spot will now go to the No. 2 ranked bull rider following the Dubbo Invitational.
While the battle is raging at the top of the standings, there is also the fight to qualify for the PBR Australia Grand Finals. Only the top 22 riders in the PBR Australian National Standings are assured of a spot in Townsville on 22-23 November.
Half of the riders competing in Dubbo are currently ranked outside of the top-22 and must use the Dubbo Invitational as a launch pad if they have qualification aspirations. Only two events remaining before the Grand Finals with the penultimate stop being in Tamworth for Iron Cowboy on 17 November.
I won’t be in attendance at the Dubbo Showgrounds to provide live coverage but I will pass on any information that comes through via my Live Updates page.
This weekend’s edition of The Morning Line will feature all the matchups to watch and it will be available on the PBR Australia website on Saturday Morning.
The 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast
The last stop of the PBR’s Premier tour is here. There will be plenty at stake for riders at both ends of the PBR World Standings in Nampa, Idaho this weekend.
Round 1 will start on Ridepass at 10:45am AEST on Sunday with the final Rounds kicking off at 7:45am AEST on Monday morning.
Our Aussie bull riders fall safely in between the championship race and the bubble race but it is still imperative that both riders produce solid results. With the calibre of bull power at its highest in Las Vegas, you don’t want to arrive at PBR Finals Week out of form and lacking confidence.
Lachlan Richardson (Gresford, NSW) slipped to 28th in the PBR World Standings after being shut out last weekend in Greensboro. He faces a Canadian bull that he should be familiar with in Round 1. Double Major (Wild Hoggs Bucking Bulls/Corey Chmelnyk) has been out 15 times at PBR Canada events this year and has given up just three qualified rides.
Double Major generally takes a couple of long leaps out of the chutes and turns back to the left with good rhythm and kick. We have seen him turn back to the right as well but his latest outs have been to the left with Dayton Johnston scoring 86.0 points in McGrath last month. This looks a nice bull for Richardson to gain some momentum heading into Las Vegas.
World number 25 Nathan Burtenshaw (Coonamble, NSW) also left Greensboro without a qualified ride and has drawn an unknown bull from Red Knection called Missy. While I was unable to find any information on this bull on ProBullStats, I did find a practice pen out on Facebook.
Missy put in a wild jump out of the chutes, turning back to the left in that video but he did look to have quite a flat style after the initial explosion. We will just have to wait and see how it plays out.
I will update the Round 2 Matchups here on Sunday afternoon. Live results will be posted on Ride the Rage social media across the weekend with The Final Wrap available on Monday afternoon.
UPDATE: Round 2 Matchups
It will be a 7:45am AEST Monday morning start for fans wanting to Listen Live on Ridepass.
Lachlan Richardson will be out early in Section 1 again for Round 2. He will face Whiskey Bent from Talbert & Anderjaska Bucking Bulls. This is not the same bull that carried Jose Vitor Leme to the round win in Round 1.
We have not seen this Whiskey Bent on the premier tour since Last Cowboy Standing where Ryan Dirteater put up 84.0 points. That was only the second qualified ride from ten recorded outs with most performances in the minor leagues.
The bull is usually turns to the left and does jump around a bit. Richardson does seem to like the scrappy ones so he might enjoy this challenge.
Nathan Burtenshaw will look to get on the board against Pop A Top from Dakota Rodeo – Berger/Struve/Julie Rosen. This bull has been out ten times for three qualified rides with Cooper Davis and Valdiron de Oliveira making the whistle at events in September.
Davis put up 86.75 in Fairfax with a sensational ride while Valdiron was 82.5 in Austin.
This bull has a high kick and should be around to the right. If he can keep his feet down and stay off the front end, Pop A Top looks a good fit for Burtenshaw.