SYDNEY, Australia. – Fraser Babbington clinched the 2015 PBR Australia Championship on Saturday at the 9th annual Australian National Finals at Qantas Credit Union.
The Gisborne, New Zealand, bull rider is the first New Zealand-born bull rider to win the Australian title and his championship earns him an automatic bid to the BlueDEF Velocity Tour Finals on Oct. 9-10 in Louisville, Kentucky.
He also took home $10,000 with the championship.
Babbington would only record one qualified ride – 80 points in Round 1 – but it was all he needed as Justin Paton and Dave Mason could not make up enough ground to snatch the title from him.
Brazilian native Robson Guedes (256.75) went 3-for-3 to win the Australian National Finals event average. Guedes clinched the win with an 86.5-point ride on Plant Hire in the championship round.
Guedes was able to hold off Troy Wilkinson (246.25 points) – the only other rider to cover all of his bulls – for the victory. Rounding out the Top 5 in the event average was Cody Heffernan (169.5), Ryan Dirteater (168.25) and Mitch Paton (168).
Guedes placed second in all three rounds. He posted an 85-point ride in Round 1 and an 85.25-point ride in Round 2.
All three rounds were won by 2015 Built Ford Tough Series riders. First, it was Lachlan Richardson winning Round 1 with an 85.5-point ride on Little Brother. Then it was Heffernan placing first in Round 2 courtesy of an 85.5-point ride on Rollin Deep.
Dirteater, currently 29th in the world standings, won the championship round with 87.25 points aboard The Hump, the highest-marked ride of the night.
Four-time Australian Champion Dave Kennedy, who is retiring in November, walked out of the arena for the last time in Sydney with 85 points on Jackie Howe in the championship round.
Female stock contractor Dakota Brandenburg had a very successful night with Gotcha Rockin not only winning National Finals Champion Bull of The Night, but also the 2015 Australia Bucking Bull Championship.
Voted by the bull riders to attend his first Australian Cup Series tour this year, Jared Borghero was named Australia’s Bullfighter of The Year.
Up-and-comer Merv Church earned the 2015 Australia Rookie of the Year title, and Devils Dance won the 2015 Classic Bucking Bull of the Year title.
General Manager Glen Young said the Australian National Finals has been one of the biggest events ever in Australia and has been a major turning point for the sport.
“The bulls were sensational, riders exceptional and we are really looking forward to doing it all over again in Brisbane next weekend,” Young said.
Tickets for the 2016 National Finals event go on sale Tuesday July 21 at 9am available from ticketek.com.au .
Round 1 :
1st Lachlan Richardson – 85.50
2nd Robson Guedes – 85
3rd Mitch Paton – 84.5
4th Ben Seeds – 83.25 (medical out)
5th David Kennedy – 82.25
6th / 7th Gustavo Pedrero – 81
6th/ 7th Ryan Dirteater – 81
8th Fraser Babbington – 80
9th Troy Wilkinson – 78
10th Jason Mara 77.50
11th Damien Herden 75.75
1st Cody Heffernan – 85.5
2nd Robson Guedes – 85.25
3rd / 4th Mitch Paton – 83.5
3rd / 4th Troy Wilkinson – 83.5
5th Mitchell Loudon – 73.25
1st Ryan Dirteater – 87.25
2nd Robson Guedes – 86.5
3rd David Kennedy – 85
4th Troy Wilkinson – 84.75
5th Cody Heffernan – 84.75
1st Robson Guedes – 256.75
2nd Troy Wilkinson – 246.25
3rd Cody Heffernan – 169.50
4th Ryan Dirteater – 168.25
5th Mitch Paton – 168
6th David Kennedy – 167.25
7th Lachlan Richardson – 85.50
8th Ben Seeds – 83.25 (medical out)
2015 PBR Australia Championship Standings
1st Fraser Babbington – 3265.8
2nd Justin Paton – 2944.2
3rd David Mason – 2923.3
4th Cody Heffernan – 1824.9
5th Roy Dunn – 1600.0