Atherton cowboy Kurt Shephard rode his way to a second PBR Australia Last Cowboy Standing title at the Entertainment Center in Brisbane, Queensland on Saturday night.
The 2017 Last Cowboy Standing was the only rider to go 3-for-3 at the 2019 event on a night where riders went head to head in bracket-style competition for two rounds of competition to qualify for the Championship Round.
In front of a vocal home state crowd, Shephard rode Ooh Call Me Joe (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) for 86.5 points in the Championship Round to finish on top of the leaderboard and claim his fifth career PBR victory.
The 24-year-old kicked off his night by eliminating Ethan Watts with an 82.5 point ride aboard Posting Bail (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) in Round 1. Shephard then took the Round 2 win and sent PBR Mexico Champion Francisco Morales packing with a massive 88.5 point effort on Lock n Load (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) to move on to the final round.
“It was a great night. You can’t ask any more than to stay on all of the bulls that you draw so I was happy with that,” said Shephard speaking live on RidePass.com during the presentation ceremony.
“It’s a good feeling. Each and every bucking bull event you win holds a special place in your heart.
Shephard finished with a three bull total of 257.5 points and moved him into 45th spot in the PBR World Standings. The win also catapults him into the No. 5 spot in the PBR Australian National Standings.
Finishing runner-up in the event was Lane Mellers, who was the first rider to record a Championship Round qualified ride. The 20-year-old combined with Tough Task (Dunne Bulls) for an 85.5 point score to put himself into a winning position with just a handful of riders, including Shephard remaining.
The Mundubbera cowboy opened his account with an impressive 84 point ride on Shots (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) to move past veteran Budd Williamson, setting up a matchup with World No. 46 Lawson Nobbs in the second round.
In one of the toughest matchups of the Round 2 bracket, Mellers faced Annihilation (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls), and Nobbs drew Slam n Jam (Brandenburg/MJ Bucking Bulls). Both cowboys came down early, but Mellers was able to progress onto the Championship Round by just 0.15 seconds.
The 2018 Rookie of the Year finished with an aggregate total of 167.5 points.
Lachlan Slade led the 28-man field on the aggregate leaderboard as we headed into the last round of the night. The Tamworth bull rider took the Round 1 win and eliminated PBR Origin teammate Troy Wilkinson with a spectacular 88.5 point ride aboard Super Natural (Wallace Bucking Bulls).
In the second round, Slade combined with Silver Lining (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) for 84.5 points to move past young-gun Josh Cavanagh and then drew POA Fully Locked & Loaded (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) for the Championship Round. Slade held nothing back but the bull came out ontop in 4.77 seconds and put up a 45 point bull score.
Slade’s aggregate total came out at 173 points.
Also progressing through to the final eight riders were Aaron Kleier and Brady Fielder who also finished the night 2-for-3 with 172 and 167.5 points respectively. They were joined by Cliff Richardson who advanced through the second chance bracket thanks to an 82 point ride on Gangster Jack (Stuart Timm) in Round 1. Robinson Guedes and Merv Church were able to progress through to the Championship Round on time in their early round matchups.
Josh Cavanagh, Jay Borghero and Lawson Nobbs also added their names to the Last Cowboy Standing aggregate leaderboard in Round 1. Cavanagh scored 87 points aboard Gangatino (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls), Borghero pushed Richardson into the second chance bracket with 85 points on Pole Dancer (Stuart Timm), and Nobbs combined with Wild Paint (Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls) for 84.5 points.
Both the riders and the bulls were outstanding in Brisbane.
The cowboys completed 29.41% of their rides against what was statistically the toughest bullpen they have faced so far in 2019. The bovine athletes averaged an outstanding 42.29 point bull score with a season-high seven bulls marked over 44 points.
Dittmann Bucking Bulls and Wallace Bucking Bulls shared the High Marked Bull award with 45 points awarded to POA Fully Locked & Loaded and Iron Jacket respectively. Wallace Bucking Bulls also took home the Champion Bull Team buckle.
The PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour heads to North Queensland next Saturday night for the 2019 Cairns Invitational. Kurt Shephard won his home event back in 2017 so he will be one to watch once again.
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