PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour action rolled into the Rum City on Saturday night for the 2020 Bundaberg Invitational.
All eyes were on the title fight between Lachlan Richardson and Aaron Kleier with both riders drawing well in the long rounds. After going 0-for-2 in Caboolture last weekend, the No. 2 ranked Kleier was hungry to bounce back with a big performance, but Richardson had plans of staying atop of the standings.
A talented bunch of young-guns were also looking to make their mark under the bright lights with plenty of points on offer throughout the two events.
Here is how each event unfolded under the roof at the Bundaberg Recreation Precinct.
No. 1 ranked Lachlan Richardson backed up his solid restart of the 2020 season in the first event of the day, extending his lead in the PBR Australian National Standings in the process.
The Gresford talent picked up his second win of the year with a 2-for-2, 172 point performance which earned him 75.5 points towards the standings leaderboard.
Richardson got off to a fast start in the opening section of Round 1 with an 84-point trip aboard Western Sky (Kleier Bucking Bulls) to hold the early lead. The ride wasn’t all smooth sailing, but the 27-year-old ended it well on top to be marked 2 points above the bull.
That long-round score was good enough to finish in a tie for second place, setting up a matchup against Jersey Joe (BK Bucking Bulls) in the Championship Round. The bull turned back to the right with Richardson making no mistakes with a 45-point share of the round winning 88 points awarded.
The event win pushed Richardson’s lead over Aaron Kleier in the 2020 PBR Australian National Standings to 116 points.
Finishing the event in second place was Braydon Wellby, who made his return to PBR Australia competition for the first time since the 2018 Grand Finals. The 23-year-old also finished the event 2-for-2 with an aggregate total of 168 points. Wellby picked up 56 championship points for his runner up result.
In Round 1, Wellby handled the multiple direction changes of John Wayne (Kleier Bucking Bulls) in the bovine’s PBR debut for 81.5 points to finish in fifth place on the leaderboard.
The Townsville bull rider would matchup with POA Lock n Load (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) for the second time in his career, and he maintained his perfect sheet, posting 86.5 points to better his 85 point score from Atherton in 2016.
Defending PBR Australian National Champion Aaron Kleier led the field into the final round but ultimately finished in third place, collecting 45 points.
The Clermont cowboy combined with Flyin Hippie (Wallace Bucking Bulls) for a spectacular 89-point Round 1 winning ride. Kleier looked outstanding riding away from his hand in a great bounce back from a disappointing 0-for-2 result the week earlier in Caboolture.
The 22-year-old was unable to capitalise on his front running position in the Championship Round, where he was bucked off POA Fully Locked & Loaded for the second time in his career. The bull posted 43.5 points with the anti-clockwise spin bringing the Kleier down in 2.69 seconds.
Rockhampton young-gun Caiden Sandilands took advantage of a favourable draw in Round 1 to post an 84-point ride aboard Super Natural (Wallace Bucking Bulls) to split second-place points in the long round.
The 21-year-old slipped to fourth place for the event after coming down early in the final round to record his best finish on tour, and he collected 35 points towards the standings.
Rounding out the Top-5 was rookie Zane Hall, who again impressed with 82.5 points into his hand aboard Seek and Destroy (Wallace Bucking Bulls).
Brady Fielder and Jake Curr shared sixth place with 81-points apiece in Round 1 with Kelsey Pavlou and Ben Gard also getting their names onto the leaderboard with 80 and 63 points respectively.
High marked bull of the event was shared between Flyin Hippie from Wallace Bucking Bulls and Boogers Beach from Dittmann Bucking Bulls who both posted 44.5 points.
Aaron Kleier and Jackson Gray shared the buckle in the evening event with both the bulls and the cowboys aiming up in a bull riding session that was full of highlights.
Both Kleier and Gray picked up a round win with their two-bull totals equalling 174.5 points. They both also boosted their championship points totals by 72 points.
Rookie Jackson Gray was the victor in Round 1 after he became the first rider to record a qualified ride on Get A Haircut (Diamond J Rodeo Co.). The judges awarded the 19-year-old 87 points for his excellent ride away from his hand.
In the final section of Round 1, Aaron Kleier got his revenge against Ray Ban (Dittmann Bucking Bulls), who had bucked him off in his rookie season. As the 8-second whistle approached, the bull was starting to get the better of the dual Australian National Champion, but Kleier fought hard to score 86-points and finish second in the round.
In the final rides of the Championship Round, Kleier applied the pressure to Gray with a sensational 88.5 point effort, combining with POA Lock n Load for 88.5 points and the round win. The bull thew plenty at the Clermont cowboy including a mid-ride direction change but was unable to unseat him.
But Gray was unfazed, sticking to 2019 PBR Australia Rookie Bull of the Year Black Tuxedo (Wallace Bucking Bulls) who wound his way across the face of the chutes and spun away from the Barcaldine talent’s hand. The judges marked the ride 87.5 points.
It was Gray’s first career PBR event win, while Kleier picked up buckle number sixteen.
With ratings leader Lachlan Richardson bucking off his Round 1 bull, Kleier trimmed the gap between himself and No. 1 to just 44 points.
Also finishing the event a perfect 2-for-2 was Jake Curr, who finished just a handful of points adrift of the winning pair with 171 points.
The Mount Isa bull rider finished in third place in both rounds of competition and the event to pick up 48 National Standings points.
Curr opened his account with a solid 85.5 point ride aboard Suga Boom Boom (BK Bucking Bulls) and then conquered Barn Yard (Kleier Bucking Bulls) in the Championship Round for a further 85.5 points. Both bulls turned back into the 20year-old’s hand and didn’t stray too far from the gate.
The best rider with one score was Sam Woodall. The Heywood bull rider kept the cowboys perfect aboard Onion Head (Kleier Bucking Bulls) in his PBR Australia career, with an 84-point trip which featured multiple direction changes.
Michael Smith added his first Top-5 finish of the year after he combined with Bucksnort (Wallace Bucking Bulls) for 81.5 points early in the round.
The remaining three riders to post scores were Braydon Wellby (81-points), debutant Eli Bee (80.5 points) and Zane Hall (75-points).
Dittmann Bucking Bulls once again featured at the top of the bull scores, with Boogers Beach and Fully Locked & Loaded awarded 44.5 points.
Check back tomorrow for some more statistics from the 2020 Bundaberg Invitational, and we will take a look at the big movers in the race towards the PBR Australia Grand Finals.
The 2020 PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour heads further north for another multi-event stop in Mackay on Saturday, 10th October with events starting at 1 pm and 6 pm at BB Print Stadium.