BIG SKY, Mont. – Amidst a sea of PBR bull riders attending Thursday night’s Music in the Mountains kickoff concert for the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Big Sky, Montana, event there was a big ole’ smile on Lachlan Richardson’s face.
The shaggy-haired, 24-year-old was taking in the beautiful scenery of Big Sky and enjoying the soothing, melodies of the Turnpike Troubadours.
For once, Richardson was able to relax.
The Australian has been a man on a mission all summer long since returning from a torn bicep that he sustained during the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
In fact, he has only been back to his Weatherford, Texas, home for one night since returning to the United States from Australia at the beginning of June.
Richardson has been traveling all across North America in search of bull riding success as he tries to work his way back to the Built Ford Tough Series for the second-half opener in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Aug. 12.
In roughly two months, Richardson has gone from being unranked in the world standings to No. 38 heading into his Round 1 matchup against Chantilly Lace (7-7, BFTS) at the PBR Big Sky event Friday night.
Chantilly Lace bucked off Richardson in 4.37 seconds in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in 2015.
Fans can watch the event this weekend exclusively on Ultracast beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Available for iOS and Android devices, fans simply need to download the Ultracast app in the App store or by visiting www.ultracast.com/app to watch this weekend’s action in 360˚. The stream will not be available on desktop computers.
Richardson has earned 317.5 world points by going 13-for-32 (40.63 percent) with a 90.5-point ride on Moleek, three PBR Canada Touring Pro Division victories and nine Top-5 finishes.
It is hard to find many riders having the kind of torrid success that Richardson has had this summer.
Over the course of a 10-day period (July 12-22), Richardson went 7-for-8 and won three PBR Canada Touring Pro Division events and placed third in another.
“It has all been working out,” Richardson said. “I have been riding pretty good. Maybe I realized how much I miss doing this when I can’t. It has been all coming together.”
Richardson, who has spent weeks this summer traveling and living with Matt Triplett, made his 2017 debut following a six-month recovery from offseason surgery on May 20 at a PBR Australia event. He then came back to North America in June to compete in the PBR Canada International Major event in Quebec.
2017 is Richardson’s best summer run since winning three Touring Pro Division events in the U.S. in Aug. 2015.
Richardson was bucked off by Snortin Whiskey in 1.6 seconds on Wednesday night at the PBR Canada TPD event in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, before making the 11-hour drive to Big Sky on Thursday.
“I like these summer runs,” Richardson said. “I have always done pretty good. These outdoor Velocity shows are extra money you can get. It is better than sitting at home.”
Richardson finished a career-best 16th in the 2016 world standings and appeared ready for a breakout 2017 campaign before tearing his bicep on Torch.
He may have missed the first half of this season, but Richardson believes this summer has him on the right path to turn a greater corner during the final 10 BFTS events of the regular season.
“I feel a little bit better than last year probably,” Richardson said. “I feel really fit and getting back to where I was anyway. Yeah, I am riding more consistent than I ever have been.”
Richardson also has eight injury exemptions for the BFTS at his disposal if he fails to crack the Top 35.
Still, Richardson is only 27.5 points behind the Top 35 thanks to his summer run.
“It is definitely a relief,” Richardson said. “That is what I set out to do when I came back riding. I wanted to earn enough points and not worry about using the exemptions. I am getting close to that goal. That has been the goal from the start, but I am not looking at it. I am going to keep going like I have been. That is the plan.
“I definitely want to try and be in the Top 20. Then when I get to the BFTS you get the real points.”
Richardson understands his summer success has come against primarily inferior bulls compared to the BFTS-caliber that await him, but he doesn’t expect any BFTS bovine athletes to slow him down.
“I haven’t been at the BFTS yet, but I don’t have any amnesia,” Richardson said. “We will pick it up when we get there. My arm doesn’t hurt or nothing.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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