Cliff Richardson (Gresford, NSW) plans to use the PBR Australia international invite at the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour as a springboard to the PBR World Finals.
After PBR Australia leader Aaron Kleier declined his option to concentrate on his goal of winning the PBR Australian Title, Richardson gets his chance to make his Las Vegas debut.
“It’s pretty awesome to be going over there and riding”.
“My plan was obviously to make it straight to the World Finals but they say everything happens for a reason, so the opportunity will give me another two shots at getting into the World Finals”.
The winner of the RVT Finals, the second and third-place finishers as well as the top international performer and the 2018 RVT Tour Champion will all advance to compete inside T-Mobile Arena alongside the world’s top cowboys.
“Whether I qualify through points to nudge me up in the standings, winning the Velocity Tour Finals or being the highest international qualifier”.
“All I know is I have to have to stay on my bulls”.
Richardson is currently ranked 44th in the PBR World Standings, just 210 points adrift of the Top-35.
The 27-year-old won’t be overawed by the occasion having made two trips to the United States this year with his Unleash the Beast tour debut coming in Springfield earlier this season.
Richardson says having his brother Lachlan and friend’s such as Nathan Burtenshaw already on tour made him feel at home and more comfortable. The experience of captaining Team Australia at the PBR Global Cup level also helped with the added focus and pressure that comes with the step up in grade.
Richardson leads from the front with 87.25 points on Blossom at the Global Cup in Sydney earlier this year.
“It was new in the way of riding at that level, but everything wasn’t new,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s still a bull and it wasn’t like I was stepping into something where I didn’t know anyone”.
It will be no different inside the SouthPoint Arena next weekend.
In Cliff’s corner will be the familiar faces of Nathan Burtenshaw, who is also qualified for the RVT Finals, and David Leake, Richardson’s Uncle who will also be travelling across to Las Vegas.
Leake rode bulls in the late 80’s and early 90’s and has been one of Richardson’s greatest influences and supporters during his career.
“My uncle was one of the reason’s we started riding as kids”.
“He was there when I got on my first calf and he was there when I won my Australian title with the ABCRA and lot of big things and I am glad he is going to be there for this big thing,” Richardson said. “He was flying over to watch Lachlan compete in the World Finals but when he found out I was competing in the Velocity Finals, he paid a bit of extra money to get a ticket on my plane, so he could pull my rope for me there. That means a fair bit to me”.
Despite spending much of the last two months on the road competing, Richardson says that he is feeling fit and healthy with the business end of the PBR and PBR Australia season in full swing.
“Sure, the travel knocks you around a bit, but I get straight back into my routines when I get back home with work and my body feels 100% at the moment, or as good as it can feel with old injuries, but they don’t bother me.”
Richardson covered Long Haired Outlaw for 88 points and the Round 1 win in Pendleton, Oregon last month
The Gresford talent has racked up three wins and sixteen top-10 finishes this season, covering 46% of his bulls in PBR competition and is in the midst of a career year. He puts his success down to his lifestyle outside of the arena and his work as a cattle buyer and property manager.
“I find that enjoying my job and home life is a good start, but also not having that cloud hanging over your head with the extra pressure of having to make the ride to be able to eat, or get down the road the next weekend, and I don’t feel any of that.”
“I do feel pressure, but it’s a good pressure and I like it.”
“I just let it hang like normal and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Richardson will fly to Las Vegas next Thursday with Round 1 of the PBR’s Real Time Pain Relief Velocity taking place at the SouthPoint Hotel, Casino and Spa on Friday, 2 November.