Kiwi tames fierce bull
LOOK out Central Queensland cowboys, Kiwi Ben Webb has arrived.
The New Zealander has been over here for the past couple of years testing himself out on the tougher local circuit, challenging better quality bulls and competing against some of the best riders in Australasia.
On Saturday night at the Great Western's Nissan Navara Arena, everything came together for Webb as he put in a solid ride on an awkward beast by the name of Johnny Mac.
The score of 76 points might suggest that Webb's ride was not all that special, but Johnny Mac, while not a high-bucking bull, is an all-action animal that will throw a cowboy into the dirt if there is a lapse in concentration even for a moment.
Webb stayed on board for the eight-second encounter, but even then it wasn't quite enough to claim all the prizemoney as Sonny Schafferius matched the Kiwi's 76 points in the second half of the show, also on Johnny Mac.
Stock contractor Brian Duggan was happy to see Schafferius and Webb do well.
"Sonny is starting to ride a few," he said commenting on the recent form of Schafferius.
Webb has been working his way up to the Open Bull Ride and Duggan is happy with the progress of the young Kiwi cowboy.
"Ben is really coming along," he said.
There were others in the Open Bull ride who looked good without reaching the eight-second mark while Troy Mara scored a 74-point ride on the bull Crooked Nose to take third place.
Joe Polkinghorne never looked to be in control on a bull that turned both to the left and the right while Stu Frame was caught out when his bull made a swift turn that left him with nowhere to go apart from a southerly direction.
It was that kind of night with spectators compensated for the small fields by the quality of competitors.
"The Top Guns was well supported by good riders," Duggan said.
It was not just in the Open Bull Ride.
The show began at its normal hectic pace with the Barrel Racers putting together a great display with just 0.4 seconds separating the first four competitors.
PJ Hanrahan returned to the Great Western circuit after recording second place in Sydney but was pipped for the winner's cheque by Jill Lyons.
It was a clash between two riders who have missed a lot of competition in recent times but spectators didn't pick that as Lyons breezed in with a time of 12.364 seconds and Hanrahan just 0.15 seconds slower.
Third place went to Stefi Roberts while Amy O'Neill was a blink of an eye slower to take the fourth position.
There were no winners in the Saddle Bronc apart from the horses while Brett Cross earned the money in the Bare Back.
Harry Hoffman continues to impress and was a classy winner of the Steer ride but even he failed to last the trip when he stepped up to the Junior Bull Ride, an event won by Mitch Power with a 71-point ride.
Duggan said the show was a good lead up to the Top Gun series which is scheduled to start on January 21.
The seven-show series will run in conjunction with the popular Paul Archer The Good Guys Young Guns series and give young cowboys a chance to collect two buckles during the year.
The main prize in the Open section is a return trip to the United States courtesy of the Great Western Hotel.