Troy Wilkinson, on Tough Task at the PBR Cairns Invitational in 2016, has been riding well this year.
Troy Wilkinson, on Tough Task at the PBR Cairns Invitational in 2016, has been riding well this year. Phillip Wittke

PBR competition heats up

THE stage is set for one heck of a showdown in July with the PBR Cup Series.

On July 8, it will all kick off at Cairns Convention Centre, with the best of the best set to battle it out.

Alongside the rankest bull riders in the country, a contingent of international riders will look to make the trip a memorable one.

From there it will be on to Brisbane Entertainment Centre on July 15 for Last Cowboy Standing before heading to Sydney Qudos Bank arena on July 22 for the Australian National Finals.

The National Finals will determine who will be crowned the new PBR Australian champion. This season is perhaps the tightest battle witnessed in PBR Australia's history.

Any one of the top 10 in the current standings has a shot at the title and the cool $20,000 bonus.

On the weekend at the Great Western Hotel Showdown in Rockhampton, rookie cowboy Aaron Kleier dominated the event and moved closer to the number one spot.

In round one he scored an impressive 88.50 on Night Stomper, incidentally contracted by his parents Fred and Julie, then backed up in the championship round to successfully ride Dittman's Ride the Lightning with a score of 83.5 and seal his third event win for the season.

Another cowboy to feature in the placings at Rockhampton and one to keep an eye on for the title race - Troy Wilkinson.

Many PBR fans were keen to see Troy back in the arena following his success earlier in the year on the toughest tour in the world - PBR's Built Ford Tough. But unfortunately he had been sidelined for seven weeks due to injury.

Troy admitted to being a little nervous just before the event Saturday night.

"I hope I'm all healed up, I feel good but we are just about to find out,” he said.

Troy certainly was not disappointed with his performance and did not miss a beat - his 86-point ride on Curran's Devil Diamond confirmed Troy is back in peak form and super keen to throw his hat in the arena for the title this season.

Next stop on the PBR tour will be Mt Isa, June 23 and 24, followed by Darwin's Territory Day, July 1. Tickets are now on sale for Cairns, July 8; Brisbane, July 15; and Sydney, July 22.

Get in early to avoid missing out. Visit www. to purchase tickets.