Kennedy set for US stint
FOR Dave Kennedy, Las Vegas wasn’t just about gambling – it was about riding some of the toughest bulls in the world.
Following a successful year that has seen the Kyogle-based bull rider become the top rider in Australia, he was invited to compete in the PBR Built Ford Tough Professional Bull Riders world finals held in the glitter strip.
In one of the finals, Kennedy finished just outside the top 10, and he has the chance to gain more experience with a planned move to the US next year.
“I got in as an ultimate, where the top riders from Australia, Canada, Brazil and Mexico go for the first weekend and try to earn enough money to compete the following weekend,” he said.
Kennedy scored 87.5 points on his first ride, Monty the Bull, but was unable to ride the next two, an impressive effort considering he had broken his foot in a ride at Warwick the week before and his second ride was a bull who has ‘only been ridden five times’ before.
“It’s pretty tough; when you go to the world championships you have the best bulls and the best riders,” he said.
“I wasn’t really planning on it but even to ride one was pretty good.”
While Kennedy’s efforts on the first weekend of the event, on October 30 and 31, meant he didn’t progress to the following weekend, he said the event allowed him to ‘have a look at the competition’ before he competes in the US next year.
“You needed $45,000 to get to the second finals, and I’ve made $22,000 this year,” he said.
“I’m moving to America next year which is pretty tough to do, but there are so many more bull rides over there and I’ll get used to getting on better bulls.”
According to Kennedy, for bull riders the world finals were ‘like the Olympic Games for other sports’.
“The world finals are held in Las Vegas every year, and the winner gets a US$100,000 bonus,” he said.
“The top 40 bull riders from the world were there, and I met a lot of cool people, including eight world champions and they look after us and take us in.”
After his stint in Las Vegas, Kennedy is second on the Australian competition ladder and is hoping to take out the Australian finals in Tamworth later this month.
“We have five US riders coming over to compete with the top 30 Australians, as well as the best bulls we have in Australia, which aren’t very far behind the American bulls,” he said.
“It’s definitely a hard sport to win in; it’s an individual thing so if you have a bad day you don’t have anyone to back you up, but I think I’ve got a pretty good chance of winning the Australian championships.”