By: Kacie Albert
AIRLIE BEACH, Queensland – With just one regular-season event remaining prior to the 2020 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Australia Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals, 21-year-old sensation Bailey Woodard (Dingo, Queensland) delivered a dominant Round 1 performance to win the Monster Energy Tour’s opening edition of the PBR Airlie Beach Invitational, cracking the Top 10 in the national standings.
Seeking his third qualification to the PBR Australia Grand Finals, Woodard captured his first event win of 2020, and third of his career, compliments of his commanding 85-point score on Bad Moon (Dunne Bulls) in the opening round.
The ride, which was the high-marked, 8-second effort of the event, earned Woodard a critical 65 national points and a check for $1,835.40.
Woodard’s victory allowed him to surge nine positions in the national standings, rising from No. 16 to No. 7, climbing within 392.67 points of No. 1 Lachlan Richardson (Gresford, New South Wales).
Richardson competed at the first-ever PBR event in Airlie Beach, however failed to earn any points after he was bucked off by Reload (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) in 4.02 seconds in Round 1.
Two-time PBR Australia Champion and current national No. 2 Aaron Kleier (Clermont, Queensland), Richardson’s top challenger, finished eighth to further intensify the race for the 2020 PBR Australia Championship.
Courtesy of his 79.5-point ride on Guilty Pleasure (Dunne Bulls) in Round 1, Kleier collected a crucial four national points to hone within 22.5 points of the No. 1 ranking.
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 winningest rider in Australian history. Kennedy is a four-time PBR Australia Champion, winning the title in 2009-2010, 2012 and 2014.
Following the PBR Airlie Beach Invitational double-header, the 2020 season will conclude with the PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals on Nov. 20-21 in Townsville, Queensland. At the season-culminating event, the nation’s Top 22 riders will battle it out one final time in an effort to be crowned the 2020 PBR Australia Champion.
Kurt Shephard (Mareeba, Queensland), Jackson Gray (Barcaldine, Queensland) and Brendan Buckholz (Bundaberg, Queensland) tied for second after recording matching 81.5 point rides in Round 1, each collecting 39 national points and $828.40.
Angling for his first-ever PBR Australia Championship, Shephard, who covered Under Seige (Dunne Bulls), rose from No. 4 to No. 3 in the national standings. He is now within 231.5 points of No. 1 Richardson.
Gray, who has now ridden to three Top-10 finishes in 2020, made the 8 aboard Kalkadoon Kid (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls). He is now No. 9 in the PBR Australia standings, up from No. 11. Attempting to qualify for his career-first PBR Australia Grand Finals, Gray is within 411.5 points of the top spot.
Buckholz, who is also seeking his career-first qualification to the season-culminating event, nearly cracked the Top 22 threshold to compete at the 2020 PBR Australia Grand Finals, rising from No. 35 to No. 26 after he rode Oooh Yah (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls). The Queensland native is 4.5 points outside of the cutoff to earn a berth to Townsville for the final event of 2020.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Jack Keats (Cloncurry, Queensland) and Joseph Down (Warrnambool, Victoria) who tied for fifth. Marked 80.5 points aboard Rip Slinger (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) and M60 (Dunne Bulls), respectively, each rider earned 11 national points and $119.70.
For 23-year-old Keats, he climbed from No. 46 to No. 39 in the nation, positioning himself within 46 points of the Top 22 and his career-first qualification to the PBR Australia Grand Finals.
Down’s Top-5 finish allowed him to crack the requisite threshold of reaching the PBR Australia Grand Finals for the first time in his career, surging from No. 26 to No. 21. He is now one point ahead of No. 23 Lachlan Slade (Tamworth, New South Wales).
In the bull pen, POA Lock n Load (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) was the high-marked bull of the event. Bucking off event winner Woodard in 2.53 seconds in the championship round, POA Lock n Load was scored an Airlie Beach Invitational-best 43.5 points.
Fans can relive all the action for the 2020 PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour’s Airlie Beach Invitational on RidePass starting at 8:00 a.m. AEST on Sunday, November15 at RidePass.com or via the RidePass app available on iOS, Android and Roku.
The PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour is anticipated to next travel to Townsville, Queensland, and the Townsville Entertainment Centre for the 2020 PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour Grand Finals on Nov. 20-21. The tour stop will feature the Top 22 riders in the PBR Australia National standings battling it out one final time in an effort to be crowned the 2020 PBR Australia Champion. Action will get underway at 8:00 p.m. AEST on Friday, November 20, and at 7:30 p.m. AEST on Saturday, November 21.
Stay tuned to PBRAustralia.com.au for the latest event information.
PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour – PBR Airlie Beach Invitational 1
Whitsunday Sportspark – Airlie Beach, Queensland
Event Leaders (Round 1- Round 2-Event Aggregate-Payout-Australian Points)
1. Bailey Woodard, 85-0-85-$1,835.40-65
2 (tie). Brendan Buckholz, 81.5-0-81.5-$828.40-39
Jackson Gray, 81.5-0-81.5-$828.40-39
Kurt Shephard, 81.5-0-81.5-$828.40-39
5 (tie). Jack Keats, 80.5-0-80.5-$119.70-11
Joseph Down, 80.5-0-80.5-$119.70-11
7. Brady Fielder, 80-0-80-$0-6
8. Aaron Kleier, 79.5-0-79.5-$0-4
9. Braydon Wellby, 77-0-77-$0-2
Ben Gard, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Brody Woodard, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Budd Williamson, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Caiden Sandilands, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Cody Heffernan, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Cameron McLennan, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Jake Curr, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Kelsey Pavlou, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Lachlan Richardson, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Lachlan Slade, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Lane Mellers, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Lawson Nobbs, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Michael Smith, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Mitchel Paton, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Rohan Markham, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Sam Woodall, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Sonny Schafferius, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Tyler Morgan, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Beau Willis, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Brumby Brandenburg, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Jake Whalan, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
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