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Mellers best young rider in Aus­tralia

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Felic­ity Ripper Felic­[email protected]

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

ON TOP: Mun­dub­bera's Lane Mellers is named Rookie of the Year at the PBR Grand Fi­nals in Townsville.

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