Clermont cowboy crowned champion
IN FRONT of a sold-out crowd at the Townsville Entertainment Center Queenslander Aaron Kleier took top honours of PBR 2019 National Champion, the biggest event on the Australian Professional Bull Rider (PBR) tour.
Kleier, who was the 2018 PBR National Champion and 2017 PBR Australia Rookie of the Year, made it a hat trick by cinching the 2019 PBR National Champion title approached the second night of make or break bull riding competition in the PBR Grand Finals with the same grit and determination that has seen him maintain the #1 spot on the national rankings for most of the year.
Battling for glory in Townsville, only five hours from his home base in Clermont, 21 year-old Kleier has enjoyed another stellar year. He was able to retain the title after battling for the top honours with his good mate and fellow Clermont local 19 year-old Brady Fielder (#2 ranked) who finished the year as runner up to Kleier, and was also named the 2019 PBR Rookie of the Year.
The two-night competition saw seventeen of Australia’s top riders, as well as five key internationals, battle it out for a share of the $100,000 prize pool.
The international riders who competed in the tightly contested event were 2018 World Champion Kaique Pacheco – who made his much anticipated global return to competition in Townsville following injury, Rubens Barbosa and Eduardo Aparecido, Brady Sims (USA) and Cody Rodeo Tyler (USA).
It was the Hunter’s Lachlan Richardson who won the event, with Kaique Pacheco in the #2 spot and Tamworth rider Troy Wilkinson at #3.
Fraser Babbington came in at #4 for his retirement ride and last night of competition, with Cliff Richardson at #5.
“This weekend has been the best Finals since our inception in Australia 20 years ago. It’s a big congratulations to all the riders who made it possible from me,” said PBR General Manager Glen Young.
The competition among the bull contractors at the Townsville event was close. The Bucking Bull of the Year title went to Dittman’s Fully Locked N Loaded, while Bull Team of the Event honours went to Wallace Bucking Bulls.
The overall 2019 PBR Australian Stock Contractor of the Year title was also announced at the Grand Final event – with the Hunter based TnR Bucking Bulls taking that win home for NSW. It is also the second consecutive year that TnR Bucking Bulls have won the PBR Australian Stock Contractor of the Year title.
Of their win Mitch Russell, who makes up half of the Throsby and Russell partnership of TnR Bucking Bulls said, “We went into the competition at #1 on the leaderboard for the title, but you never know what might happen on the night. And our bulls had had a big week, travelling further than the North Queensland based Brandenburg and Dittman bucking bulls. So for them to come out on top is an awesome result. Edward (business partner Edward Throsby) and I couldn’t be happier.
“We got them on the road early this week to avoid the road closures and to escape the fires in the Hunter Valley, that came right onto our properties. I think the nice rest up in sunny Townsville before competing this weekend has done them good,” joked Mitch Russell.
The action-packed PBR Grand Finals also saw Country music singer Ryan Weaver perform, straight from the USA.
Before becoming the Patriotic Voice of PBR in the US, Weaver was a Military Intelligence Analyst and then a Black Hawke helicopter pilot who was deployed to Baghdad International Airport. He has since toured the US with the PBR performing at sellout events and raised the roof in Townsville on his first trip to Australia.
It has been a tough PBR season for competitors – and next weekend it starts all over again in Tamworth at the PBR Monster Energy Tour: Tamworth Invitational on Saturday November 23, 2019 which is the opening event for the 2020 season.
Ryan Weaver will also perform in the home of Australian Country Music in Tamworth.