NZ-born rider to put on a show at bull riding series
IF AN Australian bull riding championship tour is the last place you'd expect to see the haka, think again.
New Zealand-born rider Fraser Babbington is keen to put on a good show for Grafton at the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) series this month, complete with his country's signature moves.
First by a mile in APN's live series standings - second placed Lachlan Richardson is chasing 415 points to match Babbington's score of 790 - and second in the overall Australian standings, the 28-year-old is in with a good chance to be on top of the ladder by the time the series arrives in the Clarence Valley.
Born and bred in Gisborne, Mr Babbington is a relative newcomer to bull riding, having been introduced to the sport through a dare to get on a bull while doing work experience in the Northern Territory at age 17.
From that day on he got "buck fever" and turned his attention to rodeo, competing at a number of NZ events.
In 2005 he took out the NZ titles for Rookie Bull Rider of the Year, Saddle Bronc Rider of the Year and All Round Champion.
He joined the ranks of PBR in 2008, but a year later sustained life-threatening injuries including a collapsed lung, hematoma on the liver and broken ribs when a bull fell on him.
After three weeks in intensive care, Mr Babbington was sidelined for six months but since re-joining the tour in 2010 he has been on the up and up, posting a number of top 10 finishes and most recently winning the Rockhampton event in September.
The larrikin rider's next test is the Dalby round this weekend, before the PBR tour hits the Grafton Showground on March 28.
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Premium ringside: Adult, $40; children 4-16, $20; families (two adults and two children), $100.
General admission: Adult, $30; children, $15; and families, $75.
Tickets are available from The Northern Star office on the Bruxner Hwy at Goonellabah or http://www.eventopia.co