CAIRNS, Australia. – The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) returned to Cairns, North Queensland, on Saturday with Justin Paton taking home the Montana Silversmith Championship buckle for the second time in two weeks.
The atmosphere inside the Cairns Convention Centre was like no other with 4,500 people all eagerly watching as 22 of the most accomplished bull riders representing Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Brazil and the United States went head-to-head against Queensland’s toughest bulls.
PBR Australia General Manager Glen Young said it normally takes 3-5 years to establish these marquee events, however Cairns is quickly positioning itself as one of the top PBR Australia tour stops.
“It may have taken us several years to finally get a major PBR Event in Cairns, but now that it is here, we will be working hard to create this into one of our major destination events,” Young said.
Paton (3-for-3) sealed the victory with an 86.75-point ride on Mudslide during the championship round. He was the only rider to cover all three of his bulls.
The event featured 22 riders competing in two rounds before the Top 8 bull riders advanced to the championship round.
The powerful bull pen dominated the first round with only four riders being able to reach the 8-second mark.
Four-time Australian Champion David Kennedy won Round 1 with 82 points on Domino Effect. He was closely followed by rookie Damien Herden on Tuff Intentions (81.25 points).
The only other scores of the round went to Brazilian Cristiano Cunha with 79.25 points. However, Cunha missed the rest of the event after sustaining an injury during the ride.
Paton finished Round 1 in fourth place after picking up 74.75 points on Dust n Bones.
Round 2 was a different story with eight qualifying rides.
Dave Mason won Round 2 by riding Black & Decker for 85 points. He was followed by Fraser Babbington (84 points). Fellow Built Ford Tough Series rider Ryan Dirteater finished seventh in the round with a 79.25-point ride.
Dirteater finished 1-for-3.
Mason would be the first to post a qualified ride in the championship round when he rode Blossom for 86.75 points.
That was when Paton concluded his night of perfection with his ride aboard Mudslide.
Gustavo Pedrero covered his re-ride bull, Jabbawockeez for 85.25 points.
Mason (171.75 points) would finish second in the event, while Pedrero (169 points) and Babbington (84 points) finished third and fourth.
With the PBR Australia National Finals next Saturday night at Sydney’s Qantas Credit Union Arena, the title race for the No. 1 position is really heating up. Paton trails Babbington by only 321.6 points and less than 21 points separate Paton and No. 3 Mason.
Considered as one of Australia’s top tourist locations and located in tropical North Queensland on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, Young said Cairns welcomed the PBR back with open arms.
”In such a short time we have created many great relationships with both the business community as well as council, hence our reasoning to relocate this event into the shoulder season of March next year in order to help generate a positive economic impact at a time of year when the town is in need of a major signature event.”
Tickets for the 2016 event go on sale Sunday July 5 available from ticketlink.com.au.
1st David Kennedy – 82
2nd Damien Herden – 81.25
3rd Cristiano Cunha – 79.25
4th Justin Paton – 74.75
1st Dave Mason – 85
2nd Fraser Babbington – 84
3rd Gustavo Pedrero – 83.75
4th Lachlan Richardson – 83.5
5th Robson Guedes – 81.25
6th Justin Paton – 79.75
7th Ryan Dirteater – 79.25
8th Beau Willis – 77.5
Equal 1st Justin Paton 86.75, Dave Mason 86.75
1st Justin Paton – 241.25
2nd Dave Mason – 171.75
3rd Gustavo Pedrero – 169
4th Fraser Babbington – 84
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