Game Notes – Caboolture
By: Kacie Albert Thursday, November 4, 2021 @ 5:32 PM
CABOOLTURE GETS RANK – This weekend, for the second consecutive season, PBR Australia will travel to Caboolture, Queensland. Action at QSEC Arena for the Back to the Heartland Series event will get underway Saturday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. AEST.
Including the PBR Caboolture Invitational, two events remain prior to the 2021 PBR Australia Grand Finals Nov. 26-27 in Townsville, Queensland. With an intense battle underway for the 2021 PBR Australia Championship, the Top 5 riders in the nation will travel to Caboolture within 210.83 points of one another. This weekend, one rider will have the chance to earn 190 national points, with the PBR Caboolture Invitational set to be a bonus round, awarding double national points.
THIS WEEKEND’S FORMAT – The PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour’s Caboolture Invitational at QSEC Arena will feature three rounds of bull riding. After all competing bull riders attempt one bull each in Round 1 and Round 2, the Top 6 riders will advance to the championship round. The event champion will be the rider with the highest total score from their three draws.
LEATHER REBOUNDS WITH WIN IN EMERALD – After an electric start to the 2021 season, leading Rookie of the Year contender Macaulie Leather hit a bit of a slump as the season wound towards the year-end Grand Finals in Townsville Nov. 26-27. However, Leather recaptured his winning ways last weekend in Emerald, Queensland. Capitalizing on the absence of No. 1 Aaron Kleier, who was sidelined by a shoulder injury, Leather delivered a flawless 2-for-2 performance to capture his second event win of the season, inching within 130.83 points of the top ranking in the heated battle for the 2021 PBR Australia Championship. After being shutout at the league’s then most recent tour stop in Mackay, Leather was back to his winning ways in the opening round of action from the Emerald Showgrounds Rodeo Arena, delivering the second-best score when he covered Little Bitty for 81.5 points. The 20-year-old then faced off against Super Natural as the penultimate rider to leave the chutes in the final round. Poised, Leather matched the bovine athlete jump-for-jump, making the requisite 8 to tie for the round win with an 87-point score. For his efforts, Leather earned a much needed 75.5 points as he looks to reach the 2021 PBR Australia Grand Finals, scheduled for Nov. 26-27 in Townsville, Queensland, for the first time in his career. Leather rose one position in the national standings to No. 3. Making a significant dent in Kleier’s lead atop the rankings, Leather, who began the event 206.33 points behind the No. 1 position, is now within a mere 130.83 points of the top spot.
The event win was Leather’s second of the year, previously topping the field at the second PBR event held in Rockhampton in 2021. Leather will look to continue his momentum this weekend in Caboolture when he faces Titanium in Round 1 and Flyin Hippie in Round 2.
SHEPHARD INCHES CLOSER TO FIRST AUSTRALIAN TITLE – PBR World Finals qualifier Kurt Shepard has his sights fixed on one goal in 2021 – the PBR Australia Championship. Capitalizing on the absence of No. 1 Aaron Kleier at last weekend’s event in Emerald, No. 2-ranked Shephard inched one step closer to actualizing that goal. The PBR World Finals qualifier was unrivaled in Round 1, delivering the high-marked ride of the PBR Emerald Invitational, presented by Kent Hire, when he covered Reloaded for 88 points. A familiar opponent for Shephard, this June the Queensland-native covered the bull for 85.5 points in Rockhampton en route to the event victory. Shephard, however, was unable to remain atop the leaderboard in Round 2 when he was bested by Flyin Hippie in 2.68 seconds. Shephard’s silver finish netted him 55 national points. Remaining No. 2 in the standings, the 27-year-old is now just 81.33 points behind No. 1 Kleier.
The 2021 season has been a career-best year for Shephard. Competing at nine events to date on home soil, the Mareeba native has registered a Top-10 effort in each outing. He has gone a torrid 14-for-21, covering a league-leading 66.67% of his bovine athlete counterparts. Shephard notably began the season with a bang, winning his first event of the year at the mid-June tour stop in Rockhampton. Shephard punched his ticket to the championship round of the PBR Rockhampton Invitational after covering Breaking Bad for 78 points in Round 1. Ninth on the event leaderboard following the opening round, Shephard drew Dittmann Bucking Bulls’ standout Reloaded as his final opponent. Making the 8 for a championship round-best 85.5 points, Shephard catapulted to the top of the event standings, capturing what was his first victory since November 2020. Shephard went on to earn his second event win of the season in October, once again leading the field at a Monster Energy Tour stop in Rockhampton. At the event, Shephard was quick to strike, covering Iron Jacket for a second-best 85.5 points in Round 1. The ride was the second of Shephard’s career aboard the bovine athlete, first riding him for 85 points at a 2018 iteration of the tour stop in Rockhampton. In Round 2, Shephard, however, was unable to replicate his initial success, brought down by Bang Ya Drum in a hard-fought 4.98 seconds. Despite the buckoff, the 27-year-old’s opening round effort was enough to earn him one of the coveted six positions in the championship round. Shephard returned, readying to faceoff against the previously unridden Razor Sharp. Undeterred by the 2021 PBR Australia Bull of the Year contender’s impressive resume, Shephard reached the 8-second whistle for an event-best 89 points. The golden finish earned Shephard a crucial 75.5 national points, allowing him to surpass Macaulie Leather for the No. 2 position in the national standings.
Shephard was also a key competitor for Team Queensland during the 2021 PBR Origin tournament. In addition to helping the Maroons to victory in the state vs. state competition, Shephard notched a ninth and second-place finish in the individual standings in Brisbane and Cairns, respectively.
When Shephard takes to QSEC Arena, he will face Night Fury in Round 1 and Big Bang Theory in Round 2 of the PBR Caboolture Invitational.
WILKINSON WOWS AGAIN – The last rider to win the PBR Australia Championship not named Aaron Kleier was New South Wales standout Troy Wilkinson in 2017. While the charismatic cowboy has battle numerous injuries in the years since, he has returned in 2021 in the championship-contending form for which he had become know. His prowess for the sport was on full display at the most recent tour stop in Emerald, going 1-for-2 to conclude the tour third. Wilkinson rebounded from a 5.18-second buckoff dealt to him by Living on Dreams in Round 1, surging to the podium finish when he split the Round 2 victory compliments of his 87-point ride aboard Freckles Brown. For Wilkinson, the qualified ride aboard Freckles Brown avenged a buckoff from the 2017 season when the Peter Wallace bovine athlete dispatched the New South Wales rider in 5.21 seconds at the tour stop in Brisbane, Queensland. Wilkinson’s fourth consecutive Top 10 effort allowed him to crack the Top 10 in the race for the 2021 PBR Australian Championship. Now the No. 9-ranked rider in the national standings, Wilkinson trails No. 1 Kleier by 311.83 points.
Wilkinson’s streak of Top-10 finishes dates to mid-July when he concluded the individual competition at PBR Origin II – Cairns 10th. In his very next outing in early October, Wilkinson climbed the leaderboard, finishing the sixth event of the year in Rockhampton sixth. He then earned his season-best result in Mackay, going 1-for-2 to conclude the event seconds. Eager to continue his momentum, and gain further ground in the standings, Wilkinson will first attempt White Weapon in Round 1 in Caboolture, before facing a rematch in Little Thunder during Round 2 of the tour stop.
RICHARDSON CRACKS TOP 5 IN TITLE RACE – In 2020, Lachlan Richardson’s quest for his first national title ended in heartbreaking fashion, as injury relegated him to the sidelines, preventing him from competing at the final day of the Australian Grand Finals. In 2021, however, he returned determined to conclude the year with a national title, and compliments of a Top-5 finish last weekend in Emerald, Queensland, he is closer to actualizing that goal. Going 1-for-2, Richardson registered his qualified ride in Round 2 when he covered the nation’s largest bovine athlete, King Kong, who tops the scales at 990 kgs. Having covered the bull for 87.75 points during the 2018 Townsville Iron Cowboy, Richardson’s latest 8-second effort aboard the bull earned him an 86.5-point score. Richardson left Emerald having earned 29 national points. He climbed from No.6 to No. 5 in the national standings and now trails the No. 1 position by 210.83 points. In Caboolture, Richardson has drawn Double Dealings in Round 1, and Russian Roulette in Round 2.
FAMILIAR WATERS – Round 1 of the PBR Caboolture Invitational will feature two rematches, with just one rider having experienced past success aboard their draw. In 2020 in Toowoomba, Queensland, Beau Willis rode Shotgun for 73 points in Round 1 of the tour stop. Reigning PBR Australia Grand Finals event winner Brady Fielder will be looking to reverse his fortunes atop Off The Planet. The two faced off earlier this season in Rockhampton, Queensland, with the bovine athlete getting the better of Fielder in 4.23 seconds.
As the PBR Caboolture Invitational continues with Round 2, four riders will face familiar opponents, with none having experienced past success. Fielder will notably attempt his second rematch of the event having drawn Dunya Jacket. The two met in 2020 in Rockhampton during the Great Western New Years Eve PBR with Dunya Jacket dispatching Fielder in a quick 3.09 seconds. Caiden Sandilands and Taran Chirgwin will both have rivalries from the 2021 season reignited. Sandilands bucked off Arm Chair in 2.66 seconds earlier this season in Rockhampton, while I’m a Thug got the better of Chirgwin in 2.07 seconds at the recent tour stop in Mackay, Queensland. Troy Wilkinson has drawn the final rematch in Little Thunder. The 2017 PBR Australian Champion was bested by the bull in Cunnamulla, Queensland in 2019, dispatched in 4.12 seconds.
PAST CABOOLTURE EVENT WINNERS – In 2020, PBR Australia’s Monster Energy Tour not only debuted in Caboolture, but the league held its triumphant return to competition in the city, emerging from a 203-day hiatus from live events following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Welcoming the PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour for a double-header, Queensland sensation Jack McArthur won the opening edition of the PBR Caboolture Invitational, with young gun Kelsey Pavlou claiming the victory at the second event of the historic tour stop. McArthur notched his career-first PBR Australia victory courtesy of a perfect 2-for-2 performance, highlighted by the then high-marked ride of his career, an 87.5-point effort aboard Annihilation in the championship round. Also recording his first-ever PBR Australia event win in Caboolture, Pavlou’s golden finish was headlined by the then high-marked ride of his young career. Going 1-for-2, Pavlou claimed the event buckle after covering Black Rat for 83.5 points in Round 1. Prior to the nation’s elite tour debuting in the city in 2020, Caboolture welcomed PBR Australia for Touring Pro Division events in 2013-2014. Those winners were three-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves (2014) and four-time PBR Australia Champion David Kennedy (2013).
Kelsey Pavlou (2020)
Jack McArthur (2020)
Silvano Alves (2014)
David Kennedy (2013)
BULL PEN – Thus far in 2021, a feverish race for the Bull of the Year honor has been brewing between Cattle King Boogers Beach and Razor Sharp. And with Boogers Beach not competing this weekend in Caboolture, all eyes will be on Razor Sharp.
Apart from Cattle King Boogers Beach, Razor Sharp is the only other bull to earn the top score at multiple tour stops. A four-time recipient of the honor to date in 2021, after tying with Boogers Beach for the top score at the third event of the year in Rockhampton, and the Origins event in Cairns, Razor Sharp earned the honor exclusively at the event held in Burnett Heads, Queensland. Razor Sharp was marked 44.5 points for his 2.1-second buckoff of Sam Payne. Razor Sharp lead the bull pen entering the sixth tour stop of the year in Rockhampton, and while he fell just short of posting the top score, the bovine athlete was marked a respectable 44 points when he was covered by Kurt Shepard for 88 points. The score was the first on record atop Razor Sharp, ending the bull’s buckoff streak at 16 outs. Razor Sharp was back in the bull pen in early October in Mackay, becoming the first bull to out buck Cattle Kings Booger Beach. Earning the Bull of the Event honor exclusively, Razor Sharp was marked 44.5 points for his 3.5 seconds of work with Leather. The Peter Wallace animal athlete was again in action last weekend in Emerald. While he fell just short of Bull of the Event, he earned a respectable 44-point score for his 2.35-second buckoff of Joshua Jones.
Razor Sharp is one of six bulls that will buck in the final round. He is joined by Suga Boom Boom, Pretty Boy, Ambush, Black Tuxedo and Big Buck Hunter.
PROVIDING PROTECTION – This weekend’s protection athletes are Brodie Frizzell of Beaudesert, Queensland; and Kirstin Wood of Aratula, Queensland.
NEXT UP – The 2021 PBR Australia season will continue Saturday, November 13 in Rockhampton, Queensland at the Great Western Hotel for the final regular-season event of the year. Action for the Monster Energy Tour’s Rockhampton Invitational will get underway at 7:00 p.m. AEST.
CABOOLTURE COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Australia (18) – Qynn Andersen, Taran Chirgwin, Brady Fielder, Lane Howlett, Joshua Jones, Aaron Kleier, Macaulie Leather, Lane Mellers, Wyatt Milgate, Lawson Nobbs, Kelsey Pavlou, Lachlan Richardson, Dan Ruhland, Caiden Sandilands, Kurt Shephard, Troy Wilkinson, Beau Willis, Sam Woodall
BREAKDOWN BY STATE –
New South Wales – Lachlan Richardson, Troy Wilkinson; Queensland – Qynn Andersen, Taran Chirgwin, Brady Fielder, Lane Howlett, Joshua Jones, Aaron Kleier, Macaulie Leather, Lane Mellers, Wyatt Milgate, Lawson Nobbs, Kelsey Pavlou, Dan Ruhalnd, Caiden Sandilands, Kurt Shephard, Beau Willis; Victoria – Sam Woodall.