Nathan Burtenshaw performs as part of Team Australia at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas last week. (PHOTO SUPPLIED.)
Coonamble’s Nathan Burtenshaw has again represented his country at the highest level as part of Team Australia in the 2020 PBR (Professional Bull Rider) Global Cup held in Arlington, Texas on 15 and 16 February.
The Aussies had a good tilt at the title, edging out powerhouse performers Brazil, to take second place behind the U.S.A. On their home soil.
The Global Cup is the only team event in PBR Bullriding and this is Nathan’s second selection, having been part of Australia’s 2018 performance in Sydney which also saw the Aussies finish ‘bridesmaids’ to the red, white and blue.
At 25 years old Nathan is currently ranked number 2 in Australia and 27 in the world and has been a professional bullrider for the past seven years.
PBR Australia’s Di Hallam says that Nathan’s strong performance in Melbourne helped to cement his spot in the Global Cup team but he was already “on the radar” with GC Coach, former world champion, Troy Dunn.
She says Dunn selects his best team based not only on their standings but on their experience in U.S. Competition, attitudes and other talents.
“Nathan’s one of the motivators in the team,” Ms Hallam said. “He doesn’t mind rallying the troops.”
“He’s one of the experienced riders and was the last rider out for Australia in Sydney in 2018 where they missed out by less than one point,” she said.
This year’s Global Cup was held at the massive AT&T Stadium, home to the American NFL’s (National Football League) Dallas Cowboys, a venue that can hold 105,000 spectators.
“AT&T stadium is mind-boggling,” Ms Hallam said. “It’s hard to believe how big it is.”
As part of the eight-member team, Nathan rode on both days and on the second day added two points to his team’s total in a surge that saw them temporarily take the lead.
Two-time, and reigning, PBR Australia Champion Aaron Kleier (Clermont, Queensland, Australia) was the nation’s top performer, going 2-for-3 to add 168.75 points.
Kleier was one of two riders to score in the opening round, covering The Tickler for 84.25 points.
He was then part of the dominant wave of Australian success in Round 2, reaching the 8 on Full Count for 84.5 points.
Lachlan Richardson (Gresford, New South Wales, Australia) was the high-marked rider for Team Australia when on his lone qualified ride of the event he conquered Trail of Tears for a massive 88.5 points.
Both Nathan and Troy Wilkinson (Upper Horton, New South Wales, Australia) added a score for Australia in Round 2.
Burtenshaw’s 87-point ride was earned aboard Quasimodo, while Wilkinson rode Night Sweats for 84.75 points.
Riding alongside his younger brother, Cliff Richardson (Gresford, New South Wales, Australia) was the final Aussie to contribute a score. He rode Wicked Hou for 85.5 points.
“Australia came back very strongly from 4th position,” said Di Hallam, who was in the crowd of Australian supporters at Arlington, along with Nathan’s parents David and Donna Burtenshaw. “It became a real battle between the Aussies and the American Eagles.”
Although the dominant Eagles have retained their Global Cup title the Australians have done their country proud.
Unfortunately, Nathan finished his ride with an awkward landing which has added a shoulder injury to his accumulating list.
Nathan will miss a couple of the early events on the Unleash the Beast tour which sees the top 35 riders in the world in individual competition on a schedule that spans events across the United States, Canada and Australia.
But he won’t be sidelined for long.
“Nathan will heal up and hopefully his next event will be at North Charleston this weekend coming,” Ms Hallam said.