PBR GRAND FINALS – TOWNSVILLE FRIDAY 23 & SATURDAY 24 NOVEMBER
In front of a packed crowd at the Townsville Entertainment Center Queenslander Aaron Kleier took top honours in the biggest event on the Australian Professional Bull Rider (PBR) tour.
Kleier, who was the 2017 PBR Australia Rookie of the Year, 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 throughout the year.
Battling for glory in Townsville, only five hours from his home base in Clermont, 20 year-old Kleier has enjoyed a stand-out year. He was dubbed ‘Mr Consistency’ as he has ridden more bulls than anyone else on the PBR Australia Tour.
A man of few words, tonight Kleier could not hide his emotions as he was announced the new Australian PBR National Champion – and the crowd erupted in support of the young champion who took home $15,000 prize money.
Eighteen of Australia’s top riders, as well as four key internationals, competed across the weekend – with one of the internationals Lucas Divine (Brazil) coming out on top as the event champion.
Despite gallant efforts, #2 Cliff Richardson (Hunter Valley, NSW), #3 Fraser Babbington (Gisborne, New Zealand) and #4 Cody Heffernan (Hunter Valley, NSW), who had been head-to-head with Kleier throughout the hotly contested Australian season, could not close the gap for the title.
Lane Mellers (Mundubbera, Qld) walked away as the 2018 Rookie of the Year, with the 19 year-old granted a release from his US College coach to fly home to Australia to try and qualify for the Finals.
In his acceptance speech Mellers acknowledged that the Rookie of the Year title had caught him by surprise.
The competition amongst the bull contractors at the Townsville event was close. Bull of the event honours was shared by Dittmann’s Paradise Outdoors Advertising Fully Locked and Loaded and Brandenburg’s Lock N Load; Bull Team honours went to Dittman Bucking Bulls
The overall 2018 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 in a night otherwise dominated by Queenslanders.
Of their win the Throsby and Russell partnership that makes up TnR Bucking Bulls said, “A big thank you to PBR Australia for allowing us to bring our animal superstars to the best events, with the best cowboys and best bulls you’ll ever see. They say you’re only as good as your competitors so we must go alright. Thanks to anyone n everyone that has helped us over the years.”
It has been a tough PBR season for competitors – and next weekend it starts all over again in Melbourne at the PBR Monster Energy Tour: Melbourne Invitational on Saturday December 1, 2018 which is the opening event for the 2019 season.
Tickets for the Melbourne and Adelaide events are on-sale now at www.ticketek.com.au