2018 Sydney PBR Global Cup Wrap-up

After a few busy days in Sydney I have finally made it home to Central Queensland following a thrilling PBR Global Cup. Although Justin Felisko has provided excellent in-depth coverage of the PBR Global Cup at PBR.com, I though I would add a quick wrap-up post to ridetherage.com which includes some improvements that I would like to see made to the format of future PBR Global Cup events.

First of all, Thanks to everyone that I met over the weekend who shared their thoughts and offered suggestions on the website. I hope you continue to visit ridetherage.com through the second half of the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast Season and in the lead up to the 2018 PBR Australia Finals.

The Teams

What a superb performance by Team Brazil and it was a pleasure to be in attendance to witness it. The talent and depth of their squad really shone through over the weekend with the team completing 15 of their 18 outs to take home just shy of $400,000 in prize-money. Kaique Pacheco reaffirmed his status as the number 1 ranked bull rider in the world with a 4-for-4 effort to win the PBR Global Cup Individual title. The 23-year-old was backed up strongly by world number 4 Luciano De Castro who went 3-for-3 to finish 4th in the individual event with Team Brazil ultimately finishing the weekend with an average ride score of 83.43 points.

I thought Team Australia was very unlucky not to retain their horn of the PBR Global Cup Trophy with a couple of decisions not going their way. Nathan Burtenshaw was outstanding in his home state, riding 3-for-3 whilst competing with a torn ACL to finish 5th in the individual event. Cliff Richardson backed up his excellent event in Edmonton with another good performance on home soil while Aaron Kleier showed why he leads the PBR Australia standings with an excellent ride in Round 3 on Championship Sunday to keep Team Australia in the hunt. The team averaged 82.95 across the weekend going 15-for-28 to fall just short of victory.

Team Canada bounced back from a disappointing event in Edmonton to fill their quota of 12 rides and finish third overall. The Canadians rode 72.22% of their bulls at in Sydney with Tanner Byrne leading the way with a perfect 4-for-4 effort to finish 2nd in the individual standings. Jared Parsonage also remained perfect at the conclusion of the weekend covering three bulls to finish in 6th spot on the individual standings.

Back in fourth place, but only one ride short of victory was Team USA. 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis finished 3rd in the event going 3-for-4 which included an 86.50 point ride on the previously un-ridden Un Broken (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls). Matt Triplett continued his good run on Australian soil with two qualified rides from two outs to finish 9th in the event. The American team finished 11-for-18 with an average ride score of 84.0 points.

Team Mexico finished in the fifth position but produced an improved performance covering 6 of their 18 bulls across the weekend. Jorge Valdiviezo was the highest placed Mexican rider going a perfect 2-for-2 and finishing in 7th position in the individual standings. Juan Carlos Contreras and Gustavo Pedrero also finished in the Top 25 recording one qualified ride each. With the Mexican riders gaining more and more experience in events around the world, it won’t be too long until we see them competing for a place on the podium.

The Bulls

I thought the bulls were very flat on Night 1 of competition. Many of the bulls who produce solid outs on a weekly basis on the PBR Australia Monster Energy tour struggled to produce their best in the Qudos Bank Arena dirt. I am not sure what changed overnight but they were much better on Sunday night. Take The Gamble’s (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls) out in Round 2 made him the high marked bull of the event with SweetPro’s Palooka (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) and Slam n Jam (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls) not far behind with solid outs in Round 4 of competition.

Take The Gamble had an outstanding PBR Global Cup event, sending 2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood to the dirt in Round 2 for 44.00 points and he backed that up with a 43.50 point demolition job in Round 4. Take The Gamble also took home the PBR Australia Bucking Bull of the Year award which was announced on Sunday night after averaging 43.0 points per out in the 2018 season.

The Format

Whilst the format of the competition certainly makes for exciting viewing, I think the alterations to the rules being applied at each stop of the PBR Global Cup will need to be standardised to allow the event to remain competitive and easier for fans to follow and know what is expected. I am sure I wasn’t the only fan expecting to see the same event format that we saw in Canada, only to hear about the Team Australia rider handicap on the Thursday before the event and the change to the ride quota via the big screen inside the Stadium on Saturday night.

After the first two events, it appears as though the Home Team is required to ride around 42-44% of their bulls to reach the ride quota. Visiting teams are required to ride between 66-78% of their bulls.

At the inaugural event in Edmonton, Team Canada, as the home team was allowed 14 riders on their roster. Each rider was required to ride in Rounds 1 and 3 with 2 team-selected riders competing in Bonus Rounds 2 and 4 for a total of 32 outs. The Top 14 ride scores from each team were to count towards each team’s final total.

For the Australian leg of the PBR Global Cup, the Australian Bull Power was judged to be stronger than what was contracted at the Canada Event, so the goal posts were moved.

Team Australia, as the home team were allowed 14 riders. All 14 riders would compete in Round 1 with the number of riders for Round 3 reduced to 10. Add the bonus rounds for a total of 28 outs. Each team’s ride quota was also reduced to consist of their Top 12 rides.

I am not sure how the advantage or disadvantage is calculated, or how the Bull Power is judged, but looking at the 2018 results of the Top 10 riders in both the Australian and Canadian National Standings, the percentage ridden for both the Australian Bulls (43.60%) and Canadian Bulls (47.43%) is quite similar. Australian and Canadian riders have also been quite well matched over the past few seasons with riders from all PBR Nations recording qualified rides at high percentages when they attend PBR Australia events. The average world ranking of Team Brazil and Team America is also much lower than Team Australia so I struggle to see why the advantage was altered.

With the similarities in riders and bulls, would there have been further restrictions imposed on Team Australia if Team Canada performed very well on home soil in the inaugural event and rode at 70% to record multiple score upgrades while all other nations failed to reach their ride quota? I guess we will never know, but I think this is a good example of why the rules must be standardised.

I understand the attempt to handicap the competition by reducing the number of qualified rides on par with the calculated Bull Power however if this is to occur, only one set of goal posts should move, not both. The ratio of rides should remain the same at each event and all home teams should have the same amount of opportunities to upgrade their scores courtesy of the home advantage and 32 outs. I believe that’s where the home advantage should lie rather than altering the number of outs the home team is allowed to attempt.

For example, When the Global Cup rolls heads to the USA, where the Top 20 bull riders (19 of them are from the USA and Brazil) in the world ride the best bucking bulls in the world at around 45.0%, I think we are going to see some very lopsided competition or a very short USA roster. The Australian’s, Canadian’s and Mexicans’s currently ranked inside the Top 100 in the PBR World Standings are currently a combined 104-for-359 (28.9%) at all levels of 2018 PBR Competition (BFTS, RVT and TPD) in the USA.

That would require the team ride quota to be drop to around 6 to allow teams to be able to reach the target riding percentage of 66%, fill their ride quota and compete with the American and Brazilian Teams.

Obviously, the bar will never be lowered to that extent, however If the ride quota was lowered to include the Top 10 qualified rides for each team in conjunction with the original 14-2-14-2 and 7-2-7-2 ride format used in the inaugural event in Canada, I believe this would result in a much fairer competition in every PBR Nation. With a target score of around 875 points per team, the home team is still able to utilise their home advantage to upgrade their lower scores to push above the target score, whilst it is not out of reach for the visiting teams who are able to reach the target score with 3-4 scores in the excellent range and an attainable riding percentage of 55%.

The Sydney event showed how exciting score upgrades are in this type of competition are and I believe that is what the PBR should be aiming for with their Global Cup format.

The Prize-Money

Another change that I believe should be considered before the next event has to do with the prize-money structure. Rather than lumping the majority of winnings into the first place team, I think there should be a home team bonus or something similar depending on where the home team with extra riders places. We have had some good examples of why this needs to change at both the Edmonton and Sydney events. In Sydney, Nathan Burtenshaw as a member of the second placed Team Australia, who finished 0.75 points shy of Team Brazil and finished in 5th place in the Individual event, took home less prize money than ALL members of Team’s USA, Canada and Mexico. While they did not win the event, members of Team Canada in Edmonton and Team Australia in Sydney both deserved to take home more than the last placed team.

Up Next

I am not sure of where the PBR Global Cup is off to next but it was announced that the event would be returning to Australia in June 2019!

I would like to hear your opinion on the Global Cup Format or if you have anything PBR related you would like to discuss, don’t hesitate to contact me on Social Media or via Email!