A handy field of 26 riders will kick off a two-day Monster Energy Tour stop in the Garden City this afternoon. We will see three complete rounds run with the top-8 riders returning to the Championship Round on Saturday evening.
With the bulk of the 2022 PBR Australia events held in NSW so far this year, we haven’t seen many of these bulls perform in quite a few months, so I am looking forward to seeing how they return. Both sides of the draw contain a good mix of veterans and up and coming athletes, and with that in mind, I think a pass mark for the riders will be a success rate in the 20-25% range.
Let’s look at the highlight matchups:
Lachlan Richardson on 560 Holy Moly (Wallace Bucking Bulls)
The Gresford talent picked up his first score of the season at PBR Origin I and finished third across the long rounds. This season, four of his six buck offs have come later than 5.8-seconds, so that 84.5 point ride would have boosted his confidence. Holy Poly has bucked off two left-handers to begin his PBR career, but his pattern looks much better suited to right-handed riders such as Richardson.
Nathan Burtenshaw on 1011 Houston Calling (Ruhland Ranch)
Burtenshaw was shut out at Scone in his first PBR Australia appearance in more than two years, but I think it won’t be long until we see him back to his old self. Houston Calling seems to be a reasonably no-nonsense bull. We have only seen him buck once on tour, and that was at Caboolture last year, where Sam Woodall was marked 81.5-points. He turned back to the left and bucked at a nice tempo on that occasion. That means the Coonamble cowboy will need to get it done away from his hand, but a qualified ride doesn’t look be out of his reach.
Lachlan Slade on 103 Old School (BK Bucking Bulls)
This will be the third time these two have matched up in a PBR Australia arena, and Old School holds a 2-nil advantage. The bull turned back to the right from the left-side delivery on both occasions. His wins came in 5.75 and 7.91 seconds, with bull scores of 42.5 and 42.25 points. For just the third time in his PBR Australia career, he will be bucked from the right chutes, and that tends to reverse his direction to the left. Slade looked pretty good against a challenging set of bulls at Origin I, and despite the expected anti-clockwise spin, I think the Tamworth bull rider can break the bull’s unridden streak.
Will Purcell on 222 Rifleman (BK Bucking Bulls)
We saw Rifleman ridden for 86-points by Brady Fielder to pick up the first round win of the new season at the New Year’s Eve event in Rockhampton. The bull likes to turn back to the right not far from the chute, and he bucks at a nice tempo. This season, the Merrijig talent has been going great, covering half of his bulls, but he has been falling short of an event win. This draw looks an excellent way for him to get his weekend off to a solid start and should allow him to enter day two in a strong position.
Aaron Kleier on 700 Double Dealings (ST Bucking Bulls)
The four-time National Champion picked up exactly where he left off in 2021 with a 2-for-3 performance in his season debut at Newcastle. Double Dealings has been ridden just once for a low 80-point score by Lachlan Richardson at Caboolture last year. He continues to improve with each trip, and he appears to prefer a right-handed spin, but he has shown us plenty of tricks in his six PBR outs. Kleier will need to take this one jump-for-jump, but that is when the Clermont talent is at his best.
Cody Heffernan on 864 Night Fury (ST Bucking Bulls)
Night Fury has split his four PBR trips with the cowboys, with the average of the qualified rides sitting at 83.5-points. Qynn Andersen picked up the Round 1 win on this bull at Origin I a fortnight ago, and on that occasion, we saw him turn back to the left from the right side chutes after bucking from the left delivery early in his career. He has mixed up his trips in the past, so I am not sure we can rely on him to go a certain way. Heffernan brushed off a tough draw in the opening round at Origin to win Round 2 and the Bonus Rounds. With form like that, he will be hard to hold out again.