Kyogle cowboy heads for Las Vegas
KYOGLE'S David Kennedy has left for the bright lights of Las Vegas and a date with some bucking bulls with deadly sounding names such as 'Bones', 'Major Payne', 'Code Blue' and 'Voodoo Child'.
He has a shot at superstardom after gaining entry to the PBR Built Ford Tough Professional Bull Riders (PBR) world finals, along with fellow Australians Pete Farley, of Kempsey, and Ben Jones, of Goulburn.
The top 40 bull riders in the world will converge on the Thomas & Mack Centre, at the University of Las Vegas campus, for two weekends of action-packed thrills and a fair amount of spills.
Kennedy, 25, gained entry to the world finals courtesy of a rule that sees the riders leading the standings in Australia, Canada, Brazil and Mexico get a shot at the big time.
It's an opportunity of 'Rocky Balboa' proportions.
Kennedy must score well this weekend to put him above the lowest ranked rider in the top 40 to continue into the second round.
He'll be competing against established stars of the sport such as Kody Lostroh, J.B. Mauney and Guilherme Marchi, who is gunning for back-to-back world titles.
The prize money for bull riding in the US is huge. Marchi is currently ranked fourth on the all-time money earners' list at US$3.2 million.
Kennedy is guaranteed at least three rides and, if he can last the distance and score well enough, he'll secure a second week in Las Vegas.
It's the chance of a lifetime according to Brent Hampstead, a spokesman for PBR Australia.
“Representing your country in your chosen sport at any world finals is an amazing opportunity and, for a guy like Dave Kennedy from a little town like Kyogle, to compete against the top 40 bull riders in the world is incredible,” Hampstead said.
“Dave Kennedy is the kind of bull rider who, if he gets on a roll, can just keep going.
“During the (Australian) PBR mega month this year he rode 10 out of 12 bulls over four events.
“So, fingers crossed, if Dave can ride that first bull, who knows what can happen. If he can ride three out of three he will make it to the second week.
“He's guaranteed to draw a really, really good bull, and even though it will be extremely difficult to ride, if he does manage it, he's going to get a high score.”
Kennedy is currently second on the PBR Australia standings and will return home to contest the Bundaberg Rum PBR National Finals in Tamworth on November 27 and 28.
The world finals will be held over two weekends in Las Vegas starting this weekend and continuing on November 5 to 8.