Justin Robards claimed his first career PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour event win with victory at the 2019 Traralgon Invitational on Saturday night.
The 27-year-old excelled in the wintery conditions, opening his account with an outstanding 85 point ride aboard On Point (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) who turned sharply back to the right and into his hand.
The score was enough to split the Round 1 win and set up a match against Night Hawk (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) in the Championship Round.
After multiple riders put up scores in the short round, each moving into the event lead, Robards required a qualified ride of 84 points or more to put himself in position to take the win.
Night Hawk seemed to lose his footing on the shifting surface as the pair left the chute, but the Bulahdelah cowboy stayed composed as the bull upped the tempo and put together a great ride away from this hand.
In front of a packed house at the Traralgon Recreation Reserve, the judges awarded the ride 84 points, which was enough to take the event lead with an event total of 169 points. After a short wait, Robards held on to be announced as the 2019 Traralgon Invitational event Champion.
Robards, whose first career win came at a US Touring Pro Division event in Dothan, Alabama back in 2014, took home a total of 530 points and earned $2,837.72 for his Traralgon triumph.
The added points rocketed Robards up the PBR Australian National Standings leaderboard from the 29th spot and into the 9th position. He has also made the jump up into 62th in the PBR World Standings.
Finishing in second place was Ethan Watts who put together his 2-for-2 night with rides aboard Cowboy Tough (Diamond S Bucking Bulls) and Train Wreck (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls).
The Tamworth bull rider was 82.5 points at the whistle on Cowboy Tough for a fifth-place finish in Round 1, but when Watts combined with Train Wreck for 86 points in the Championship Round, he looked the winner with just a handful of riders remaining in the short-go.
The 27-year-old’s aggregate total of 168.5 points was good enough to finish runner-up, collecting 353.75 event points and earning $2,041.78.
Watts jumped from 24th in the PBR Australian National Standings to 11th place and boosted his 2019 season riding percentage to an even 50%.
Cliff Richardson joined his travelling partners on the Traralgon podium, finishing his night in third place with 168 points on two bulls.
Class Act (Woodall Rodeo Co) was the 27-year-old’s opponent in the long round, with the two combined for 82 points. The score was enough to scrape back into the Championship Round in ninth place.
Lost Signal (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) was the bull waiting for Richardson, and he became the first rider to stay perfect with an 85 point ride into his hand.
The Gresford cowboy moved up two spots in the National Standings into fourth place, 745 points behind PBR Australia’s No. 1 Cody Heffernan.
Flávio Vinícius da Silva capped off his Australian trip with his second Monster Energy Tour placing from four starts. Da Silva put up rides aboard Red Man (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) for 84 points and Jack Hammer (Woodall Rodeo Company) for 77.5 points to finish in the fourth spot on an aggregate total of 161.5 points.
The Brazilian now finds himself ranked in tenth place in the PBR Australia Standings following his third and fourth place finishes in the two rounds of competition.
A total of seventeen riders made the whistle in Round 1, with Lachlan Richardson the best-placed rider on one bull in fifth place. The Gresford bull rider shared the Round 1 win with Robards, thanks to his 85-point effort aboard Let’s Party Marty (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls).
The 26-year-old was earlier awarded the option of a re-ride after scoring 74 points on McCrackin (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls); an opportunity which Richardson took full advantage.
With the No. 1 ranked Cody Heffernan recording no score in Round 1 and Aaron Kleier taking the week off, Richardson managed to edge himself closer to the top two in the PBR Australia National Standings but remains in third place, 370 points adrift.
The Stock Contractors and their animal athletes had everything against them in Traralgon with the wind and rain creating freezing cold conditions and the shifting surface tending to favour the riders.
Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls added yet another Bull Team award to their mantle with the high marked performance on the night going to Aces & Eights.
In the final out of the event, Aces & Eights was scored an outstanding 44.5 points by the judges for his 2.01 seconds demolition of Lachlan Richardson.
The 2019 PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour now takes a couple of months off before it resumes with the PBR Monster Energy Origin inside the ICC Sydney Theatre on June 1st.
We do have Touring Pro Division action scheduled so stay tuned to Ride The Rage for coverage of those events, plus, all the news and previews for our Aussie riders competing abroad.