World Finals Qualifier Kurt Shephard Captures First Event Victory of 2020 with Flawless Effort at PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour’s Mackay Invitational

By: Kacie Albert  Sunday, October 11, 2020 @ 10:34 AM

Kurt Shephard won the evening edition of the PBR Mackay Invitational. Photo: PBR Australia.

MACKAY, Queensland – As the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Australia Monster Energy Tour’s double-header Mackay Invitational wound to a close inside BB Print Stadium Saturday evening, World Finals qualifier Kurt Shephard (Mareeba, Queensland) captured his first event victory of 2020 courtesy of a flawless 2-for-2 performance.

Fresh off a fifth-place result in the opening edition of the double-header, Shephard tied for third in Round 1 when he made the 8 aboard 25 to Life (Dunne Bulls) for 82 points.

Remaining red-hot, Shephard clinched the victory when he won the championship round courtesy of an 85.5-point ride on Black Tuxedo (Peter Wallace).

The Queensland-native’s win earned him a check for $2,063.40, in addition to a critical 72.5 national points.

Seeking his third qualification to the PBR Australia Grand Finals, scheduled for Nov. 20-21 in Townsville, Queensland, at the Townsville Event Centre, Shephard is now ranked No. 4 in the national standings, surging 14 positions after beginning the event no. 18.

Shephard now trails No. 1 Lachlan Richardson (Gresford, New South Wales) by 213.5 points with just eight regular-season events remaining prior to the nation’s season-culminating tour stop.

Courtesy of a runner-up finish at the PBR Mackay Invitational, Richardson not only furthered his stronghold on the PBR Australia No. 1 ranking, but he clinched the nation’s invite the PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour (PWVT) Finals, presented by First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Nov. 6-7 at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.

At the 2020 PBR PWVT Finals, seven-time PBR World Finals qualifier Richardson will then have the opportunity to earn one of four berths to the 2020 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast in Arlington, Texas on Nov. 12-15 at AT&T Stadium.

Richardson’s silver finish was headlined by a 79.5-point ride on Reload (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) in Round 1, and 83-point trip atop Freckles Brown (Peter Wallace) in the championship round.

The Queensland-native’s fifth Top-5 finish of the season earned him $1,379.40 and 55 national points. Seeking his first-ever PBR Australia Championship, Richardson now leads No. 2 Aaron Kleier (Clermont, Queensland) by 58 national points.

Two-time PBR Australia Champion Kleier was fourth, earning $684 and 32 national points. He rode Slam n Jam (Brandenburg/MJ Bucking Bulls) for 83.5 points in Round 1, but was unable to make the whistle aboard POA Fully Locked & Loaded (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) in the championship round, bucked off in 3.66 seconds.

Should Kleier once again win the PBR Australia Championship in 2020 he would become the first rider in league history to win the nation’s championship in three consecutive seasons. Additionally, Kleier would be on the precipice of tying David Kennedy (Kyogle, New South Wales) for winningest rider in Australian history. Kennedy is a four-time PBR Australia Champion, winning the title in 2009-2010, 2012 and 2014.

While Kleier finished short of earning the Australian invite to the PWVT Finals, he is presently ranked inside the Top 35 to earn a berth directly to the 2020 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast when the event debuts inside the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys in November.

As the No. 27-ranked rider in the world, Kleier, who is attempting to qualify for his career-first PBR World Finals, leads No. 36 Dakota Louis (Browning, Montana) by 68.33 world points.

Third was Bailey Woodard (Dingo, Queensland), netting $1,219.80 and 45 national points.

His second Top-10 effort of the year was highlighted by a Round 1-winning, 84-point ride on Cattle King Ray Ban (Dittmann Bucking Bulls).

Woodard is now ranked No. 18 in the national standings, 280.67 points behind No. 1 Richardson.

Rounding out the Top 5 in fifth was Ty Thomson (Mount Walker, Queensland).

He parlayed an 82-point ride on Ranga (Dittmann Bucking Bulls) in Round 1 to a $353.40 payday, while also earning 17.5 national points.

Amid his rookie season, the 19-year-old is seeking his first qualification to the PBR Australia Grand Finals. He is now ranked No. 20 in the national standings, 299.5 points behind the No. 1 ranking.

POA Fully Locked & Loaded was the bull of the event, marked 43 points when he bucked off Kleier in 3.66 seconds in the championship round.

Fans can relive all the action for the 2020 PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour’s Mackay Invitational on RidePass starting at 8:00 a.m. AEST on Sunday, October 11 at or via the RidePass app available on iOS, Android and Roku.

The PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour is anticipated to next travel to Rockhampton, Queensland, and the Great Western Hotel with the 2020 PBR Rockhampton Invitational on Saturday, October 17. The tour stop will once again feature a double-header competition, with action getting underway at both 1:00 p.m. AEST and 6:00 p.m. AEST. Stay tuned to for the latest event information.

PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour – PBR Mackay Invitational 1
BB Print Stadium – Mackay, Queensland
Event Leaders (Round 1- Round 2-Event Aggregate-Payout-Australian Points)
1. Kurt Shephard, 82-85.5-167.5-$2,063.40-72.5
2. Lachlan Richardson, 79.5-83-162.5-$1,379.40-55
3. Bailey Woodard, 84-0-84-$1,219.80-45
4. Aaron Kleier, 83.5-0-83.5-$684-32
5. Ty Thomson, 82-0-82- $353.40-17.5
6. Brady Fielder, 81-0-81-$0-9
Brendan Buckholz, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Brody Woodard, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Budd Williamson, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Caiden Sandilands, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Cameron McLennan, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Jack Keats, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Jay Borghero, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Kelsey Pavlou, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Lachlan Slade, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Lane Mellers, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Lawson Nobbs, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Matt Hollis, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Mitchel Paton, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Rohan Markham, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Sam Champ, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Sam Woodall, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Zane Hall, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Clay Hall, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Dan Ruhland, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Beau Willis, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Sam Spencer, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Brumby Brandenburg, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Joseph Down, 0-0-0.00-$0-0
Jackson Gray, 0-0-0.00-$0-0