Gresford bull rider Cliff Richardson and his Australian team fell agonisingly short of victory in the second leg of the inaugural PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Global Cup in Sydney.
Australian captain Richardson scored the highest ride on Saturday night and watched nervously with his teammates from the sidelines as the event went down to the wire.
The result came down to the last ride as Team Brazil clinched a narrow 0.75-point victory to claim the Australian horn of the Global Cup trophy and $400,000 prize money.
The last ride was by Team Australia’s top rider Nathan Burtenshaw who made the whistle sending fans into raptures at Qudos Bank Arena erupted.
However, his score 84.75 points wasn’t enough to secure the second leg of the five-nation tournament.
It was a fantastic effort by the Australians who trailed Brazil by 5.75 points going into Sunday’s final night of competition.
“The boys really pulled together,” Team Australia coach Troy Dunn said. “I am super proud of them. They couldn’t have tried any harder.”
The final night of competition saw a number of clutch performances from the world’s best bull riders, with a total of 28 qualified rides, 24 of which came in the opening round.
Recovering from a broken collarbone, Burtenshaw ranked No.25 in the world was the only Australian rider to record three qualified rides, going one-for-two on Saturday and two-for-two on Sunday.
He finished with an individual aggregate score of 244.5, three spots in the ranks above Australian captain Richardson who notched an aggregate average of 169.75 from two qualified rides across both nights.
"I am super proud of them. They couldn’t have tried any harder."Team Australia coach Troy Dunn
Richardson scored Saturday’s highest-marked ride on Blossom (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls) for 87.25 points, before covering Stealth (George Hempenstall) in Sunday’s round 2 for 82.5 points.
Current PBR Australia No.1 Aaron Kleier, from Queensland, also contributed a big score to Australia’s total on Sunday, making the the bell on Notorious (Brandenburg Bucking Bulls) during the night’s first round for 86.5 points.
Kleier’s ride nabbed the highest score of the night and kept Team Australia in contention with Brazil.
Brazil final prevailed with 1006.5 points from Australia on 1005.75 points.
Team Canada was third with 986.75 points, Team USA was fourth with 924 points and Team Mexico fifth with 501.25 points.