By: Kacie Albert
For many riders in the PBR, 2020 has been a year of firsts.
And for 21-year-old Jake Curr, he is hoping that he won’t just continue to reach new heights at the season’s PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals on Nov. 20-21 in Townsville, Queensland, but that the two-day event will conclude with him being crowned the 2020 PBR Australia Rookie of the Year.
“For the season I haven’t really been thinking about the rookie title or anything like that,” Curr admitted. “I am just doing my own thing to enjoy every event. Yeah, just to enjoy the year, really. It’s been quite the year.”
After his 2020 campaign began with a shutout at the Tamworth Iron Cowboy, the Mount Isa native logged his first of seven Top-5 finishes this season when he was fourth at the elite Monster Energy Tour event in Melbourne.
Following yet another disappointing effort in Rockhampton, where Curr failed to reach the 8, the season went on an unprecedented hiatus as the world responded to the onset of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
“I did a lot of cattle work,” Curr said of the downtime from competing. “That was sort of my fitness, really. Being in the yard all day, riding horses and stuff. It kept me in the physical condition I wanted to be in for the season.
“Then when the season finally started, I was looking forward to a break from work, decided to have a bit of fun and enjoy it. Treated it like a holiday sort of thing.”
On Sept. 26, after a near seven-month break, the PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour resumed competition, announcing a seven-city slate of double-header events leading into the league’s 2020 Grand Finals on Nov. 20-21 in Townsville, Queensland at the Townsville Entertainment Centre.
And while Curr failed to convert at the return to action in Caboolture, he has been electric at every event since, earning national points in each of the subsequent six cities and reaching numerous career milestones.
“I would really like to go into the Finals with the chance for the national title,” Curr said. “It is something I have always wanted to do. That is the No. 1 goal of mine.
“Also the Rookie of the Year would be, too. It’s something I really thought about before coming down. Those are the two I had in mind.”
Curr took his first steps towards actualizing both of his goals when he delivered a third- and sixth-place finish in Bundaberg, Queensland. As a result, he surged from No. 13 to No. 5, giving him solid positioning to qualify for his first-ever PBR Australia Grand Finals.
Registering a runner-up finish the subsequent weekend in Mackay, and a fourth-place result at the following Monster Energy Tour event in Rockhampton, Curr reached a crucial career marker when the nation’s premier series visited Beaudesert.
Going a perfect 2-for-2, Curr captured his career-first PBR victory and rose to a career-best No. 3 in the national standings.
“The highlight of the year would be Beaudesert,” Curr said. “It was my first win at it, and something I was dreaming about for a long time. One to tick off the bucket list as something I always wanted to do.
“The first bull I got on, Socket, was a bull that I didn’t know much about. I saw one or two videos. I knew he was meant to be pretty good and I was pretty excited for that. Then, after I covered him I found out my short round bull was Back in Business. I had heard a lot about him. I had never actually seen him, but a lot of guys had said a lot of really good stuff about him. So, I was ready to get on it.”
Reaching the 8 aboard both bovine athletes, for 79.5 and 85.5-point scores, Curr was able to inch within 258 points of then Australian No. 1 Lachlan Richardson.
Curr went on to compete at the final two double-header regular-season events of 2020, recording matching fourth-place finishes in Toowoomba and Airlie Beach, and is ranked No. 3 in the national standings with just days remaining prior to the PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals. He trails new No. 1 Aaron Kleier by 278.5 points and No. 2 Richardson by 222.5 points.
“To try and catch up with two guys as good as Aaron and Lachlan, I am going to have keep doing what I’m doing, really not try and think about it too much,” Curr said. “Really make it count wherever I can. Make the most of every bull I get on, make as many points as I can in the regular season before going into the Finals. That has sort of been my game plan.”
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