By: Kacie Albert
TOWNSVILLE, Queensland – As action got underway for the first night of competition for the 2020 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Australia Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals, the already heated battle for the 2020 PBR Australia Championship, and accompanying $10,000 bonus, intensified. Lachlan Richardson (Gresford, New South Wales) went a flawless 2-for-2 to decimate No. 1 Aaron Kleier’s (Clermont, Queensland) lead atop the Australian standings, inching within 29 points of his career-first national championship.
Seven-time PBR World Finals Qualifier Richardson snapped a streak of five consecutive buckoffs when he went the distance aboard Annihilation (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls) for 84.75 points during Round 1 inside the Townsville Entertainment Centre.
On the heels of his runner-up finish in Round 1, Richardson then dominated Round 2, recording the high-marked ride of the night by covering Cattle King Boogers Beach (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) for 87.75 points.
The 28-year-old’s perfect performance, which propelled him to the top of the event aggregate for the PBR Australia Grand Finals, earned him a crucial 35 national points and brought the Townsville crowd to its feet.
After entering the two-day Finals 56 points behind Kleier, Richardson is now within 29 points of the top ranking heading into the last night of the season.
With three rounds of competition remaining, one rider has the chance to earn 160 national points – 20 available to each round winner and 100 slated for the event winner.
The 2020 PBR Australia Grand Finals will conclude on Saturday, November 21. After all competing riders attempt one bull each in Rounds 3 and 4, the Top 8 will advance to the championship round. In addition to the $10,000 2020 PBR Australia Champion bonus, $15,000 will be on the line for the competing riders throughout the four-day event.
Kleier is not going down without a fight, and he went 1-for-2 to conclude the opening day of the Australian Grand Finals fifth in the event aggregate, earning eight national points, to maintain his slim hold atop the standings.
Two-time and reigning PBR Australia Champion Kleier rode Bad Moon (Dunne Bulls) for 84.25 points in Round 1 before being bested by Mighty Whitey (Peter Wallace) in 5.45 seconds in Round 2.
Should Kleier once again win the PBR Australia Championship in 2020, he would become the first rider in league history to win the nation’s championship in three consecutive seasons. Additionally, Kleier would be on the precipice of tying David Kennedy (Kyogle, New South Wales) for most Australian Championships in league history. Kennedy is a four-time PBR Australia Champion, winning the title in 2009-2010, 2012 and 2014.
Young gun Jake Curr (Mount Isa, Queensland) delivered a qualified ride in Round 1 to retain his lead atop the 2020 PBR Australia Rookie of the Year race.
Covering Iron Jacket (Peter Wallace) for 84 points in Round 1 in his first appearance at the PBR Australia Grand Finals, the 21-year-old sensation earned six national points, and he is now No. 4 in the national standings.
Alongside Richardson, two additional riders went a flawless 2-for-2 on the opening night of competition. Kurt Shephard (Mareeba, Queensland) and Brady Fielder (Clermont, Queensland) are currently second and third in the event aggregate.
Three-time PBR Australia Grand Finals qualifier Shephard began the evening’s action on a hot streak, dominating Round 1 with an 86-point ride aboard Bucksnort (Peter Wallace). Continuing the momentum, the 26-year-old once again reached the 8 on his bovine athlete counterpart in Round 2 when he rode Notorious (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls) for 82 points.
Shephard’s 16 seconds of work earned him a crucial 30 national points and allowed him to rise from No. 4 to No. 3 in the national standings.
For Fielder, after riding Personal Space (Dunne Bulls) for 79 points in the opening round, he climbed the event leaderboard when he delivered the second-best score of Round 2, an 83.5-point effort on Cattle King Ray Ban (Dittmann Bucking Bulls).
The 20-year-old earned 15 national points and maintained his No. 6 rank in the national standings.
Lawson Nobbs (Moura, Queensland) is fourth in the event aggregate following two rounds of action. Going 1-for-2, the Queensland-native netted 10 national points after he rode Freckles Brown (Peter Wallace) for 84.5 points in Round 1.
Nobbs’ efforts in front of the raucous crowd allowed him to climb five positions in the national standings. He is now No. 14 after entering his second career appearance at the PBR Australia Grand Finals No. 19 in the nation.
The 2020 PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals will conclude with Round 3, Round 4 and the Championship Round on Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. AEST.
Fans can watch all the action LIVE on RidePass at RidePass.com or via the RidePass app available on iOS, Android and Roku. Tickets are also still available and start at $35. They can be purchased at the Townsville Entertainment Centre box office, online at Ticketek.com.au and PBRAustralia.com.au, or by calling Ticketek at 13 28 49.
Fans can relive all the action from Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2020 PBR Australia Grand Finals on RidePass.
PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour
2020 PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals
Townsville Entertainment Centre – Townsville, Queensland
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Round 4-Round 5-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Lachlan Richardson, 84.75-87.75-0-0-0-172.5-35
2. Kurt Shephard, 86-82-0-0-0-168-30
3. Brady Fielder, 79.75-83.5-0-0-0-163.25-15
4. Lawson Nobbs, 84.5-0-0-0-0-84.5-10
5. Aaron Kleier, 84.25-0-0-0-0-84.25-8
6. Jake Curr, 84-0-0-0-0-84-6
7. Lachlan Slade, 83.75-0-0-0-0-83.75-4
8. Bailey Woodard, 83.25- 0-0-0-0-83.25-3
9. Caiden Sandilands, 81.5-0-0-0-0-81.5-2
Jackson Gray, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Brendan Buckholz, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Joseph Down, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Mitchel Paton, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Lane Mellers, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Kelsey Pavlou, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Braydon Wellby, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Brody Woodard, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Cody Heffernan, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Sonny Schafferius, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Rohan Markham, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Ty Thomson, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
Jay Borghero, 0-0-0-0-0-0.00-0
© 2020 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.