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Mellers best young rider in Australia
BULL RIDING: He has spent the past few months on a bull-riding scholarship in Texas, unable to compete in Australian rodeos, so when it was announced at the weekend that Lane Mellers was Professional Bull Riding Rookie of the Year it came as a huge surprise.
The title was the cherry on top of a fantastic weekend for the 19-year-old after he placed fourth in the 2018 PBR Grand Final at Townsville.
“It was pretty unbelievable, especially because going into the PBR Grand Finals I didn’t think there was a chance of that happening being so far behind the rest of the boys,” Mellers said.
“There were about five or six of us all going for Rookie of the Year all year and I got it, but only by a very little margin.
“We didn’t expect it all, my girlfriend even cried when it was announced.”
Rookie of the Year is awarded to the rider who accumulates the most points in their first year of professional bull riding, their “rookie year”.
Mellers went home with a plaque for his once-in-alifetime achievement, and almost $4000 for his placing in the grand final.
The Mundubbera teenager said he didn’t even think he was going to qualify as one of 18 of Australia’s top riders who compete at the PBR Grand Final.
“I never won any PBR events this year but I was always in the mix, consistently placing and getting points,” Mellers said.
“It felt really good to know that what I had achieved before I went to America was enough to get me in.
“I had numerous top tens and numerous top threes, and I just didn’t give up.”
Mellers competed in four rounds at the weekend’s event before being called back as one of the top eight competitors for a fifth and final round.
“My best round was in round two where I got eighty-seven and a quarter points to win,” Mellers said.
“The bull is pretty tough to get by and not many fellas ride it, he’s big and electric and he was getting high and twisting.
“But I just rode him pretty neat and it got me the win.”
Mellers has two PBR events to compete in before the year’s end, one in Melbourne and one in Adelaide.
“After those events I will probably come home to Mundubbera for a little while and then keep going to PBRs and Rodeos and keep trying to do well,” he said.
Mellers said his success wouldn’t have come without the support he had received from friends and family, and the North Burnett community, since he began riding.
Former Monto local Ryan Storey was also in the Grand Final line-up at the weekend and placed eighth with over $1000 in winnings.
Since the inception of the PBR in Townsville nearly two decades ago, more than $1 million in prizemoney has been paid out.
ON TOP: Mundubbera's Lane Mellers is named Rookie of the Year at the PBR Grand Finals in Townsville.