Holding on to his lead
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.
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.