Game Notes – Rockhampton
By: Kacie Albert Friday, November 12, 2021 @ 4:19 PM
ROCKHAMPTON ENDS REGULAR SEASON – This weekend, for the seventh time in 2021, and 30th time in league history, PBR Australia will travel to Rockhampton, Queensland. Marking the seventh iteration of the Monster Energy Tour’s PBR Rockhampton Invitational, action at Great Western Hotel for the Back to the Heartland Series event will get underway Saturday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. AEST.
The PBR Rockhampton Invitational will mark the final regular-season event of the year 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 Rockhampton within 234.51 points of one another. This weekend, one rider will have the chance to earn 95 national points.
THIS WEEKEND’S FORMAT – The PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour’s Rockhampton Invitational at the Great Western Hotel will feature three rounds of bull riding. After all competing bull riders attempt one bull each in Round 1 and Round 2, the Top 8 riders will advance to the championship round. The event champion will be the rider with the highest total score from their three draws.
WILLIS WINS CABOOLUTRE, CRACKS TOP 10 – With double points on the line at last weekend’s PBR Australia event in Caboolture, Beau Willis seized the moment, going a near perfect 2-for-3 to win the tour stop and crack the Top 10 in the race for the 2021 PBR Australia Championship. Willis began his campaign for his first event victory in five years when he topped the field in Round 1, covering Shotgun for 85 points. The home state contender remained perfect in Round 2 when he outlasted Amigo for 79 points. While Willis was unable to conclude the event with a score, bested by Big Buck Hunter in 3.13 seconds, his initial two scores proved enough to clinch the win. For his efforts, Willis earned a critical 148 national points. After beginning the event ranked No. 25, Willis surged 18 positions in the national standings, now the No. 7 rider in Australia. The 31-year-old is within 330.33 points of No. 1 Aaron Kleier. Willis will look to continue his climb up the standings this weekend in Rockhampton when he faces Fast & Furious in Round 1 and Night Fury in Round 2.
KLEIER’S HISTORIC PURSUIT PERSISTS – After making history in 2020 by becoming the first rider in history to win the PBR Australia Championship in three consecutive seasons, Aaron Kleier is attempting to further etch his name in the league record books in 2021. Should he once again be crowned the national champion, Kleier would tie David Kennedy for most Australian national titles won by one rider in league history (4). Kennedy topped the national standings in 2009-2010, 2012 and 2014. After injury briefly sidelined him following his league-leading third event win of the season in Mackay, Kleier was back to his championship-contending form at the most recent tour stop in Caboolture. Remaining in firm control of the No. 1 rank in the national standings, Kleier tied for fourth at the Monster Energy Tour event in Caboolture to collect 60 national points. In the opening rounds of action, Kleier was quick to rebound from a 5.96-second buckoff dealt to him by Mr. Meaner in Round 1, making the 8 aboard Rip Slinger for 82 points in Round 2. Kleier’s successes, however, did not continue in the championship round, dispatched by Pretty Boy in a hard-fought 4.53 seconds.
In the standings, after beginning the event 81.33 points ahead of the No. 2-ranked rider, Kleier is now 106.83 points out front.
In addition to leading the league in event wins, Kleier holds the top riding percentage in Australia, having covered 17 of his 27 bovine athlete opponents (62.96%). Additionally, Kleier is one of two riders to have recorded a 90-point score in 2021. Responsible for the high-marked ride to date this year in Australia, Kleier covered Black Tuxedo in his first draw of the season for a monstrous 90.5 points. The ride propelled him to the event win and led him to sure to an early No. 1 ranking in the national title race.
Kleier will look to further grow his lead in Rockhampton when he faces off against Red Flash in Round 1 and Ariat’s Flaunt It in Round 2 at the Great Western Hotel.
LEATHER RISES TO NO. 2 RANK – 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 has recaptured his winning ways as the season winds to a close. After winning the tour stop in Emerald, Queensland, Leather overtook the No. 2 position in the national standings after finishing third at the most recent tour stop in Caboolture. Leather was red-hot in Round 1 inside QSEC Arena, delivering the second-best score when he rode Titanium for 84 points. Leather, however, was denied scores by his subsequent two animal athlete opponents, bucked off by Flyin Hippie in 2.87 seconds and Ambush in 2.47 seconds. The 1-for-3 effort earned Leather 84 national points, elevating him from No. 3 to No. 2 in the standings. He is now within 106.83 points of the No. 1 position and capturing his career-first PBR Australia Championship. Leather will look to continue his momentum this weekend in Rockhampton when he faces I’m a Thug in Round 1 and Little Thunder in Round 2.
FAMILIAR WATERS – Here are the rematches for Round 1 and Round 2 of the PBR Rockhampton Invitational:
Aaron Kleier vs. Red Flash (2021 Mackay, Queensland – Round 2 | 3.79 seconds)
Brady Fielder vs. Zoo Animal (2020 Toowoomba, Queensland – Round 1 | 4.95 seconds)
Mitchel Paton vs. A Force (2021 Burnett Heads, Queensland – Round 1 | 81 points)
Aaron Kleier vs. Ariat’s Flaunt It (2021 Rockhampton, Queensland – Round 2 | 84.5 points)
Brady Fielder vs. Arm Chair (2020 Toowoomba, Queensland – Round 2 | 2.26 seconds)
Joshua Jones vs. Blinky Bill (2021 Caboolture, Queensland – Round 2 | 2.43 seconds)
Kurt Shephard vs. Bang Ya Drum (2021 Rockhampton, Queensland – Round 2 | 4.98 seconds)
Lachlan Richardson vs. Freckles Brown (2020 Mackay, Queensland – Round 2 | 83 points; Rockhampton, Queensland – Round 1 | 84 points; 2021 PBR Origin I – Brisbane – Round 2 | 87 points)
Lane Mellers vs. Bang and Grind (2020 Rockhampton, Queensland – Round 1 | 3.35 seconds; 2021 Rockhampton, Queensland – Round 1 | 2.92 seconds)
PAST ROCKHAMPTON EVENT WINNERS – One of the longest tenured events in PBR Australia history, since the Queensland city welcomed the league for the first time in 2006, PBR has held a total of 29 events in Rockhampton, including six tour stops already held in 2021. The complete list of past winners is as follows:
Kurt Shephard (2021)
Bailey Woodard (2021)
Aaron Kleier (2021)
Kurt Shephard (2021)
Macaulie Leather (2021)
Aaron Kleier (2021)
Sam Woodall (2020)
Aaron Kleier (2020)
Lawson Nobbs (2020)
Lawson Nobbs (2019)
Ryan Storey (2018)
Jason Mara (2018)
Bailey Woodard (2017)
Lachlan Richardson (2016)
Fraser Babbington (2015)
Roy Dunn (2015)
David Kennedy (2009)
Kevin “Jock” Connolly (2009)
Cody Heffernan (2008)
Ben Seeds (2008)
Ben Jones (2007)
Budd Williamson (2007)
Ben Keliher (2007)
Denny Farley (2006)
Ben Jones (2006)
Steven Clark (2006)
Ryan Storey (2006)
Wayne Brokenbrough (2006)
Heath Shrimp (2006)
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. While Boogers Beach holds a 45.13-point average, Razor Sharp is within 0.5 points of the top spot with a 45.13-point average.
Hailing from the deep roster from Dittmann Bucking Bulls, Cattle King Boogers Beach has bucked at 10 of the 13 PBR Australia events held to date, earning the top bull score in nine of his outs. As the season got underway with a doubleheader in Rockhampton, Cattle King Boogers Beach was first marked 45 points for his 6-second buckoff of Macaulie Leather before posting an improved 45.5-point score for his swifter 2.49-second buckoff of Leather the next day. Cattle King Boogers Beach returned to the arena in Townsville for the Touring Pro Division event held in tandem with the North Queensland Elite Junior Rodeo, tying for the top bull honors with fellow Dittmann bovine athlete POA Fully Locked & Loaded. Both bulls posted a 45-point score. Cattle King Boogers Beach again bucked off Leather, this time in 3.66 seconds, while POA Fully Locked & Loaded sent Bailey Woodard to the dirt in 3.94 seconds.
At the final Monster Energy Tour event held prior to the start of the 2021 PBR Origin tournament, Cattle King Boogers Beach wowed again, turning in a 44-point score to lead the bull pen when he dispatched Brady Fielder in a quick 2.58 seconds. Boogers Beach split the honor in Rockhampton with Bull of the Year rival Razor Sharp, who earned his score compliments of his 2.8-second trip with Cody Heffernan. As the 2021 PBR Origin tournament got underway in Brisbane, Cattle King Boogers Beach was back to being the top bovine athlete. He turned in a 44-point score when he denied Lachlan Slade a qualified ride, bucking off the Team New South Wales rider in 3.38 seconds. When the PBR Origin tournament continued in Cairns, Queensland, Cattle King Boogers Beach again tied for the top honor with Razor Sharp, both marked 45 points. Boogers Beach teamed with Slade for a 90-point ride, while Peter Wallace’s Razor Sharp dispatched Kurt Shephard in 3.22 seconds. Cattle King Boogers Beach was back in the lineup in late July when PBR Australia returned to Rockhampton for the fourth time in 2021. Drawn by Daniel Rogan, Cattle King Boogers Beach was marked an event-best 44.5 points for his 2.69 seconds of work. At the fifth installment of the PBR Rockhampton Invitational, Boogers Beach kept his streak alive, tying for the honor of top-marked bull when he was marked 43.5 points for his 3.57-second buckoff of Aaron Kleier. Cattle King Boogers Beach last bucked in Emerald, Queensland in late October splitting the top bull honor with pen mate Roid Rage. Both scored 44.5 points, Boogers Beach earned his marks for his 7.74-second trip with Beau Willis, while Roid Rage wowed we he bested Kelsey Pavlou in 4.3 seconds.
Apart from Cattle King Boogers Beach, Razor Sharp and Roid Rage are the only other bull to earn the top score at multiple tour stops. Roid Rage is currently tied for No. 5 in the YETI PBR Australia Bull of the Year race, holding a 44-point average and 1.13 points behind the top spot.
Razor Sharp is a four-time recipient of the Bull of the Event 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 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. At the most recent event in Caboolture, Razor Sharp was scored 44.5 points for his 1.97 seconds of work against Qynn Andersen.
With Cattle King Boogers Beach not in competition this weekend, the door is open for Razor Sharp to gain ground on the No. 1 bull. Razor Sharp is one of eight bulls that will buck in the final round. He is joined by Shotgun, Suga Boom Boom, Humdinger, Pretty Boy, King Kong, Russian Roulette, Big Bang Theory.
PROVIDING PROTECTION – This weekend’s protection athletes are Jayden Hakaraia of Rockhampton, Queensland; Gus Roberts of Yeppoon, Queensland; and Kirstin Wood of Aratula, Queensland.
NEXT UP – The 2021 PBR Australia season will conclude on Nov. 26-27 in Townsville, Queensland, at the Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre for the 2021 PBR Australia Grand Finals. Action will get underway at 8:00 p.m. AEST on Friday, November 26 and at 7:30 p.m. AEST on Saturday, November 27.
ROCKHAMPTON COMPETITORS BY COUNTRY
Australia (16) – Qynn Andersen, Taran Chirgwin, Brady Fielder, Joshua Jones, Aaron Kleier, Macaulie Leather, Lane Mellers, Lawson Nobbs, Mitchel Paton, Kelsey Pavlou, Lachlan Richardson, 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, Joshua Jones, Aaron Kleier, Macaulie Leather, Lane Mellers, Lawson Nobbs, Mitchel Paton, Kelsey Pavlou, Caiden Sandilands, Kurt Shephard, Beau Willis; Victoria – Sam Woodall.