Eight Aussie bull riders, including all members of Team Australia, will compete in the United States of America this weekend on the PBR’s Unleash the Beast and Velocity tours. These events will be the last chance for riders to boost their confidence before heading to Texas next week for the 2019 PBR Global Cup, so you don’t want to miss a minute.
Nathan Burtenshaw will be a notable absentee over the next few months following confirmation that he re-broke his right collarbone last weekend in Sacramento. The 24-year-old underwent surgery yesterday to repair the break, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
PBR Unleash the Beast Tour
This weekend, the PBR’s Unleash the Beast tour returns to the Sooner State for one of the most anticipated regular season events of the Season.
The Express Ranches Invitational will be a two-day event and will feature two long rounds followed by a fifteen rider Championship Round.
After the completion of the opening night long round, the second 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season will be up for grabs.
Ryan Dirteater is the defending champion after winning the 2018 event in OKC, producing a perfect 3-for-3 to take home the buckle.
Lachlan Richardson (Gresford, NSW) makes his 2019 season debut this week in Oklahoma after missing the first two months of the current season with an ankle injury suffered at the PBR Canada Finals.
The 27-year-old finished the 2018 season in 24th position on the PBR World Standing’s leaderboard after a tough start to the year. Fingers crossed that Richardson can put together some solid early season results as he enters his eighth year on tour.
Cody Heffernan (Singleton, NSW) has also gained an alternate spot on the Unleash the Beast tour this weekend. The 29-year-old returns to the US soil for the first time since May in 2018 where he competed in the PBR’s Last Cowboy Standing in Las Vegas.
Heffernan heads across the Pacific in good form after going 2-for-3 at the ABCRA National Finals to clinch a second-straight ABCRA Bullriding Championship.
The opening night long round will feature some of the top three and four-year-old bulls who are competing in the ABBI Classic competition.
Heading the competition will be Hocus Pocus (Barthold/Almand/D&H Cattle) who averaged a massive 46.25 points in his two outs at the PBR World Finals last year.
We will also be cheering for Yatesy Down Under (Star E Ranch/Just Have Faith Ranch) who will start our sentimental favourite, and we hope he puts up big numbers.
Over the past few years, Classic bulls have made long rounds tough going for the worlds best riders, but I think there are some interesting matchups and we should more qualified rides in OKC than we regularlly do.
The 15/15 will feature some serious bull power with Smooth Operator (Dakota Rodeo-Berger/Struve) headlining the pen. It will be his second appearance this season after he put up 46-points in Chicago during his 1.46-second demolition job of Rubens Barbosa.
PBR Pendleton Whiskey Velocity Tour
The Aussie invasion on the Velocity tour continues this weekend with six Aussie riders featured on the daysheet for the Knoxville Invitational.
The long round will be another CBR Million Dollar Bull Team Challenge where contractors are encouraged to bring rank, but ridable stock. As this competition is only just winding up, we see quite a few unfamiliar bulls nominated, but due to the way that the winner is determined, we should see a bunch of qualified rides.
Cliff Richardson (Gresford, NSW) and Jason Mara (Cloncurry, QLD) will join fellow Team Australia memberss Aaron Kleier (Clermont, QLD), Kurt Shephard (Atherton, QLD) and Justin Paton (Nebo, QLD) on the Velocity Tour this weekend.
19-year-old Brady Fielder (Clermont, QLD) has also named to make his first appearance on the Velocity Tour start following a successful PBR Australia debut back in December.
The Clermont cowboy finished in third place at the Monster Energy Adelaide Invitational after covering two of this three bulls on the night, including an 84-point ride on High Flying Akubra.
A second scheduled Velocity Tour event in Grand Rapids, Michigan will also be decided this weekend. It promises to be nice and cold. There are no Australian riders entered to ride at the Grand Rapids Classic.
|2-Feb 11:30 am||UTB – Oklahoma City||Round 1||RidePass|
|Following R1||UTB – Oklahoma City||15/15 Bucking Battle||No Coverage|
|3-Feb 10:00 am||VT – Knoxville||Round 1 + Champ Round||RidePass|
|3-Feb 10:00 am||VT – Grand Rapids||Round 1 + Champ Round||No Coverage|
|3-Feb 10:45 am||UTB – Oklahoma City||Round 2 + Champ Round||RidePass|
Express Ranches Invitational Round 1 Preview
Lachlan Richardson on Concealed Carry
Concealed Carry (Rockin R Bucking Bulls/Jerry Rush) is a big, strong bull who looks an excellent fit for the left-handed Richardson. He generally turns back to the left but jumps around and bit with a rank action; however, I think he has a bit more tempo to his movement that it appears.
In his debut ABBI Classic season, Concealed Carry was ridden twice on the Premier tour from four trips. Cody Nance put up 88.5 points in Tulsa while Tanner Byrne was 86.25 points at the World Finals.
Cody Heffernan on Modified Hou
Modified Hou is having his first out in ABBI Classic competition, and while this may be the first time the PBR has seen him, I am quite familiar with this bull from my good friends at Dakota Buckers, Robison Bucking Bulls and 5G Farms.
This Red River son only knows one way, and that is left and fast. He has plenty of kick and power and is unridden in his 25 outs. In saying that, Modified Hou has not matched up with many riders with the talent of Heffernan, so this should be a good matchup.
Knoxville Invitational Round 1 Preview
Cliff Richardson will take on Bring The Bling from GEM Bucking Bulls. Justin Granger was 85.5 points on this bull in December last year, and the bull was around to the left and had a rider-friendly action.
I have not been able to track down any information on either of the Danley Bucking Bulls that the Australian riders will face. Aaron Kleier will go up against Magnum while Justin Paton will climb aboard Fat Boy.
Minimal information is also available for Sho-Me Rodeo’s pair of One Boot and Big John. Kurt Shephard will go up against the unknown One Boot, while Brady Fielder will go up against Big John who gave up an 87-point ride at a Touring Pro Division event in Nebraska last year.
Jason Mara will also take on an unknown bull in Blood Money from GT Bucking Bulls.
Express Ranches Invitational Round 2 Preview
Lachlan Richardson on In For Life
In the night two long round, Richardson will go up against In For Life from Hart Cattle Company and Clapp Cattle.
Jose Vitor Leme rode this bull in Glendale a fortnight ago for 87.5 points and the round win. In For Life turned back to the right with good rhythm after he was clear of the chutes and then reversed the spin late in the rider after Leme had him covered. I think as long as Richardson can stay in a good seat until In For Life turns back, he should still be there at the whistle.
Cody Heffernan on Pocket Rocket
Pocket Rocket (Anthony Thornton) returns to PBR action for the first time in over two years, so it is hard to tell how this one will play out.
The bull is undefeated with Nevada Newman and Rubens Barbosa the only two riders to attempt Pocket Rocket. Both of his previous outs came at the premier tour level with bull scores over 43-points awarded.
Stay up to date with all things PBR across the weekend via the Ride the Rage Live Updates page