Hold­ing on to his lead

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - News -

AUS­TRALIAN cow­boy Kurt Shep­hard made his way to the front of the pack again this week­end at PBR’s Last Cow­boy Stand­ing in Bris­bane.

For the sec­ond time in two weeks Shep­hard won the Mon­tana Silversmith cham­pi­onship buckle and valu­able points to­wards the PBR World Stand­ings.

Pro­gress­ing through the first two rounds on times rather than scores, when it came down to the wire Shep­hard made his last bull count, post­ing 85.25 points on Big Bucks to win the event.

Miss­ing out on the first spot po­si­tion by just a quar­ter of a point was Amer­i­can bull rider J.W. Har­ris (85pts The Hump).

The first up­set of the night came as fel­low Queens­lan­ders Kurt Shep­hard and Ja­son Mara both had buck-off times of 3.61 sec­onds on the clock.

Rev­ert­ing back to the judge’s stop­watches, Kurt man­aged to just slide into round 2, where he’d next be matched against Sonny Schaf­ferius (Dysart, QLD). Rid­ing just one sec­ond longer than Schaf­ferius, Kurt se­cured his po­si­tion in the short go round.

Mex­i­can na­tive Jorge Val­divezo, still ad­just­ing to the Aus­tralian buck­ing bull power, went down to Coon­am­ble cow­boy Nathan Burten­shaw, who took ad­van­tage of the Last Cow­boy Stand­ing rules, pro­gress­ing through to round 2 with a longer buck-off time of 7.08 sec­onds.

Sam Champ, up against world ranked num­ber 35 Luis Blanco, didn’t let the more ex­pe­ri­enced rider in­tim­i­date him.

He moved onto round two with 83pts (Bubba) and Blanco with 80.5pts (Cheap Trix).

Luck­ily for Blanco, be­ing one of only two cow­boys to re­ceive a score in round 1 and not win his match-up, he along with Ro­han Markham both qual­i­fied for the sec­ond chance bracket – a new ad­di­tion to this year’s event.

Troy Wilk­i­son (Up­per Hor­ton, NSW) made two qual­i­fied rides on Jumpin Jack (81pts) and Spe­cial Forces (85.5) found his way into the cham­pi­onship round up against Freck­les Brown.

With each cow­boy in the cham­pi­onship round on a clean slate, the buzzer was a lit­tle too far away for Wilkin­son.

Bray­den Wellby, Aaron Kleier, Ro­han Markham, Robin­son Guedes and Bai­ley Woodard also hit the dirt ear­lier than they wanted in the short go round.

JW Har­ris was the only cow­boy on the night to ride all three of his bulls, there­fore tak­ing away the ma­jor­ity of the points pool and 80 points to­wards the PBR World Fi­nals.

The race to­wards the Na­tional Fi­nals in Syd­ney next Satur­day night is turn­ing into an in­ter­est­ing one, with rook­ies Aaron Kleier and Bray­don Wellby both mak­ing two qual­i­fied rides at one of the big­gest events on the PBR Aus­tralia Tour.

Bris­bane was kind to th­ese young cow­boys, with both pick­ing up much-needed points to­wards the Aus­tralian Na­tional Stand­ings.

We’re just one week­end away from one cow­boy be­ing crowned the 2017 PBR Aus­tralian Cham­pion.

PBR Aus­tralia Na­tional Fi­nals: Satur­day, July 22, Qu­dos Bank Arena, Syd­ney. Lim­ited tick­ets avail­able at www.tick­etek.com.au.

PHO­TOS: PHILLIP WITTKE

GREAT FORM: Kurt Shep­hard on Big Bucks in the Cham­pi­onship Round at the PBR Last Cow­boy Stand­ing event held in Bris­bane.

Cham­pion Kurt Shep­hard at the PBR Last Cow­boy Stand­ing.

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