After an electric start to the inaugural PBR Global Cup last November in Edmonton, the five-nation competition travelled down under where the Sydney leg proved equally as exhilarating, decided in the event’s final 8 seconds.
The chute gates inside Qudos Bank Arena had burst open more than 100 times across the two-day Sydney PBR Global Cup. And now the second leg of the inaugural five-nation showdown was to be decided on the final out.
After a gutsy performance in the event’s opening rounds, going 14-for-27, Team Australia sat second heading into that final out, trailing Team Brazil by a mere 5.75 points.
In the bucking chute, Nathan Burtenshaw got settled on SweetPro’s Enemies Everywhere.
On the line was the $400,000 AUD event purse guaranteed to the winning team, the Australian horn from the glittering Global Cup trophy filled with the host nation’s home soil, and bragging rights to be called the world’s best bull-riding nation.
With the weight of the country on his shoulders, Burtenshaw, who was already 2-for-2 in Sydney, needed to deliver an 85.75-point score aboard the Throsby & Russell Bucking Bulls bovine athlete in order to replace a lower score and catapult his team to victory.
The 24-year-old, coming back from a broken collarbone seven weeks prior and battling a torn left ACL sustained a week earlier at the Cairns Invitational, danced with his bull, move for move, making the 8. The fans erupted, as did his teammates, hurling hats and jumping onto the dirt to congratulate the 6-foot-2 cowboy.
But what is now one of the most famous rides in PBR Australia history wasn’t enough.
Burtenshaw’s 84.75 points fell 0.75 points short of besting Team Brazil, which captured its first international bull riding victory in eight years.
Team Brazilian, collectively going 15-for-18, avenged their second place finish in Edmonton largely on the determined back of current world No. 1 Kaique Pacheco, one of two riders to go a perfect 4-for-4, earning a $30,000 AUD bonus as the winner of the individual aggregate.
After coming from behind to win the inaugural event in Edmonton, Team USA took a sharp fall, ending the Sydney leg fourth.
While his team was unable to take another country’s soil, Team USA Captain Cooper Davis once again delivered one of the event’s most memorable rides when he covered previously unridden Un Broken for 86.5 points in the first bonus round.
While the leaderboard read much different in Sydney than Edmonton, the sentiment from the competitors remained the same – excitement and appreciation for the team format.
“It’s wicked, I love this team concept,” said Team Canada’s Tanner Byrne. “You’re on your own at all times in the sport of bull riding. This just adds that team pride where when you nod your head, the other seven guys on your team want you to stay on just as much as you want to stay on. So when somebody does good on the team, the whole team does good.”
“The guys who had never been before didn’t know what to expect,” Davis said of Team USA which had four new faces, including 2017 PBR World Champion Jess
Lockwood. “Now they are grasping the whole fact that it is pretty dang special team deal to be a part of.”
In its first “two outs,” the PBR Global Cup is 2-for-2. Fans can relive all the action on the new digital network RidePass, with the remaining dates for the next three stops to be announced in the future.