Cunha Wins Tamworth Invitational

TAMWORTH, Australia. – The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) returned to Tamworth Saturday night for their eighth consecutive event, and Brazilian invitee Cristiano Cunha went 3-for-3 to take home the Montana Silversmith championship buckle at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre.

The bulls dominated the first round with only five scores. Built Ford Tough Series rider Rubens Barbosa won the first round with 87 points on John Gill & Sons Bad Attitude.

Just returning from the United States, Justin Paton, who competed at the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals posted 85.75 points on Hell Bent. The other three qualified rides went to Cunha 84.25 points, Fraser Babbington 83.25 points and Robson Aragao 80 points.

There were nine qualified rides, but only two cowboys covered both their long round bulls, Cunha and Aragao.

Matt Gakowski won the second round with 86 points on Candy Cane. Followed by Cody Heffernan with 85.25 points on Earth Bound.

The championship round saw the Top-8 cowboys take on the best bulls in the pen. Aragao was the first to cover all three of his bulls by posting 83 points on Crazy Cane. Nathan Burtenshaw was awarded a re-ride after his first bull, but then scored 84.75 on Sugar Cane.

It all came down to Cunha and the last bull of the night, Sports Machine, to determine the event winner. Cunha successfully won his challenge after the judges confirmed he made the 8-second mark and awarded him 87.75 points.

This is Cunha’s second event win in Australia, after also winning PBR Australia’s first Last Cowboy Standing event in Brisbane in July.

PBR General Manager Glen Young said this has been another exceptional year in Tamworth for the PBR with another sell out audience (4,000).

“This kind of response will help as we progress towards establishing this as a major signature event for the region and expanding the number of performances,” Young said.  “We are keen to make a long-term commitment with Tamworth and develop a business plan that will not only see this event expand in the number of performances, but also generate a positive economic impact that the region can count on annually. Cristinao has put in a great effort to win this event in a field of riders which could see anyone of the 22 take the honors tonight.”

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