COONAMBLE rookie Nathan Burtenshaw picked up one of the biggest win of his careers at the Australian Equine Livestock and Events Centre on Saturday night, taking out the Professional Bull Riders’ Tamworth Invitational.
Burtenshaw only qualified for the Cup Series event two weeks ago at Cunnamulla but showed he can match it with the best cowboys in the country and the world, not to forget some of the meanest bulls in the country.
He put together two exceptional rides to score 172.5 points and finish one-and-a-half points clear of Arkansas’s Chase Outlaw.
It was the 2011 Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association’s (ABCRA) 14-U18 juvenile steer ride champion’s first appearance in the Tamworth event and he was one of the youngest qualifiers.
Drawn on the Trevor and Tony Dunne-owned bull Rip Curl in Round 1, Burtenshaw marked 86 to share the round honours with Outlaw on Dan Klabe’s Who Your Daddy.
Burtenshaw backed up to score 86.5 on another Dunne bull – the notorious Chick A Saw, giving him a slight lead over Outlaw and first pick in the bull draft.
Outlaw was determined to continue his good form on Australian soil and, after his 86 first round, was fourth in round two with an 85 point score aboard the Stuart Timms-owned Zee Force.
Uralla’s Chris Lowe, Morpeth’s Brendan Clark and Gresford’s Lachlan Richardson also went two for two, with Lowe placing third in the second round for his 86-point ride on Buck Owens.
The top score of the round, and the night, went to Tamworth’s Josh Birks, with his ride on the George Hempenstall-owned Turbo earning him 87.5 points.
Of the international contingent, Outlaw, Jory Markiss and runner-up from Townsville Jordan Hupp, were the only ones to qualify for the Championship Round.
Stacked full of Australia’s top bulls, including two times Bucking Bull of the Year That’s Gold, Bambi’s Blood, Suicidal, Delta 32 and four others of the nation’s leading bulls, the Championship Round was on paper going to be a true test for the qualifiers.
It was, as for the second time this year, every rider was bucked off.
Many of the bulls were tested, but none of the riders could last the eight seconds, giving Burtenshaw his first major event win on the PBR Australian Tour.
Lowe was third for the second consecutive Cup event with 167 points.