FORT WORTH, Texas - It's been seven years since
Troy Dunn last competed on the Built Ford Tough
Regardless of how much time has passed, the stories of his
domination are legendary.
Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray recalled how
Dunn, who never relocated from Australia to the United States,
would spend a day flying half around the world, go right to an
event, "kick our (butt)," and then turn around and fly right back
home only to do it again a week later.
Dunn, whose wife Jackie will be honored with the Sharon
Shoulders Award in October, is arguably the greatest professional
bull rider in Australian history.
He won the 1998 world title, 12 regular-season events and
covered 58.49 percent of his bulls in 89 events, before retiring at
the conclusion of the 2005 season.
While current Australian riders, such as Brendon
Clark and Ben Jones, may have equaled
Dunn's popularity in America, no other Aussie has matched his
Earlier this year, 19-year-old Lachlan
Richardson made his BFTS debut in Uncasville, Conn., where
he was the lone rider to cover all four bulls and managed to win
his first career event.
In recent years, there have been other Australian riders on the
BFTS - Jared and Pete Farley,
David Kennedy, Jock Connolly,
Jason O'Hearn, Brett Hanrahan,
Rhys Angland - but only once in PBR history have
as many as five Aussies competed in the same BFTS event.
However, in the coming months, that trend could change.
Currently, they're all back in Australia for this weekend's
Australian Finals in Sydney, but a number of young riders will soon
return stateside with Richardson, Jones, Clark and Jared Farley -
the older of the Farley brothers.
Among the new wave of Aussie newcomers are Mitchell
Paton, Jesse Van Nek, Justin
Robards, Beau Willis, Budd
Williamson and Cody Heffernan.
The current PBR Australia standings are led by Kennedy,
Richardson and Connolly, while the Top 10 is rounded out by
Chris Lowe, Fraser Babbington,
Sam O'Connor, Sam Larson,
Jason Mara, Hanrahan and Paton.
Paton had a Top-10 finish at a Touring Pro Division event in
late May at the Critical Provisions Red River Showdown in Paris,
Texas, while Jones finished fourth at the Cedar Park PBR Challenge
just before heading home to Australia.
Any number of the top Aussies could also join the others in
Texas following this weekend's Australian Cup Finals and begin
competing at various TPD events through the end of the season -
with hopes of qualifying for the World Finals in Las Vegas.
In recent years, Brazil has dominated the international
headlines, having produced three of the past four World Champions -
Silvano Alves (2011), Renato
Nunes (2010) and Guilherme Marchi
Brazil has accounted for seven of the previous 18 world titles,
including three by Adriano Moraes.
The Australian contingency has a long way to go to match the
success of the Brazilian riders, but the next couple of seasons
could prove to be the deepest pool of talent in the nearly 20-year
history of the PBR.
In the meantime, Kennedy is hoping to claim his third Australian
title in the past four years.
Last year's champion was Connolly, who also won the title in
2007, while Pete Farley won in 2008. Tim Wilson
took the first title in 2006.
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.