IT was a nail-biting finish to the inaugural Great Western Challenge Cup, as teams went into the final neck and neck.
The XXXX Gold contingent, skippered by former PBR World Cup contender Ben Seeds, and the Lacey's TJM outfit, captained by 2012 Top Guns champion bull rider Jared Borghero, battled it out over two nights at the Great Western Hotel VCV Rockhampton Rodeo Arena.
Eventually, it was the highly favoured Seeds' XXXX Gold team that emerged winners, to be the first to etch their name on the Challenge Cup.
Teams consisted of 10 bull riders and four saddlebronc riders, who each had three rides during two rounds, with the top three riders progressing to the final shoot out. "We went into the second night with only half a bull ride between us, but then we got a lot more scores on the second night...we went into the shootout ahead, and Lacey's couldn't have caught us from there," Seeds said.
Seeds captured the crowd's attention with a 91 point ride on Hang Tough in the shootout, while team mates Callum Gleeson and Troy Mara put on some impressive rides.
"Callum Gleeson won the average, and rode all three of his rounds, while Troy Mara rode two of his rounds, and finished in third," Seeds said.
The XXXX Gold team were delighted to win the inaugural Challenge, an event both Seeds and opposing captain Borghero thought would catch on in Rockhampton.
"I think it will be bigger and better next year," Borghero commented.
It was a disappointing loss for Borghero, who was competing in his first rodeo after four months out with an injured groin.
"I was a bit fresh but I pulled up pretty good - I should be all right with a bit of training and some fitness," he said.
Brett Cross was a standout for the Lacey's TJM team, earning 91 points on Chickasaw during the event.
The winning team shared the prizemoney, with individual event winners also receiving a cut.