WOREE, Australia – One of the veteran leaders for Team Australia is going to be headed back to the United States later this season after all.
Fraser Babbington was informed on Saturday by the PBR competition department that his suspension for missing the Ty Murray Invitational in March has been overturned after he appealed the suspension to the PBR’s competition committee.
Based on rule 188.8.131.52, Babbington had been deemed inelgible for the Unleash The Beast until March 16, 2019, after missing the Ty Murray Invitational this past March.
According to rule 184.108.40.206, all riders inside the Top 30 of the world standings must compete on the Unleash The Beast unless he is either injured or has an excused absence.
Babbington informed the PBR later in April that he was unaware of the rule, and that by the time he learned he had to compete in the United States he didn’t have enough time to get his passport renewed.
“I am pretty over the moon about that,” Babbington said of the decision to reinstate him. “I am pretty stoked. It is what I always wanted to do. I intended to go back in August. Obviously, I didn’t make it until the Top 30 last year, and then my passport had ran out in six months. That was the whole thing about the suspension. When I got called up and notified about the rule, it was part of the process and it can take a while to get a passport.”
Babbington finished 40th in the 2017 PBR world standings despite riding with a broken pelvis.
Following the season, Babbington took over the operations of his family’s ranch in Gisborne, New Zealand.
His passport then expired during the transition, and he was unable to get a passport in time to make it to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and not face a suspension.
“I got (my passport) all up to date now,” Babbington said. “I knew it was expired, but I didn’t know it was in the rules. It wasn’t until I was told and it was too late. Now I am all sorted out and ready to go.”
The 31-year-old was ranked 29th in the world at the time of his suspension, and he is now 35th in the world.
The 2015 PBR Australia champion has been having a fantastic year in Australia.
He has gone 21-for-34 (61.76 percent) with five victories, three second-place finishes and two third places.
The No. 2 ranked rider in PBR Australia is tied with Aaron Kleier – the PBR Australia No. 1 rider – for the series lead in victories.
Babbington is the first New Zealand bull rider to compete on the PBR’s premier series in the United States, and he is the second-oldest rider on the 15-man Team Australia Global Cup roster.
Fans can watch the Sydney Global Cup exclusively on RidePass beginning at 5:30 a.m. ET on June 9.
The team is currently spending three days at the Big4 Ingenia Holiday Cairns Coconut Resort in Woree, Queensland.
Babbington, who is making his Global Cup debut, and the Aussies spent their first day doing a series of recovery exercises in a cold water pool and hot tub after competing in Saturday night’s Cairns Invitational.
The team also spent time relaxing in their two condo-style cabins watching rugby games on television, bonding over fun conversation and having a pizza dinner.
Head coach Troy Dunn then had the team write down on pieces of paper, and then read in front of the group, what it meant to be a part of the team on Sunday evening.
Babbington brought the team to life when he said to him his involvement on Team Australia as a New Zealand native is a bull riding equivalent of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).
Anzac day occurs every April 25 in Australia and New Zealand and pays homage to all the men and women who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, as well as veterans suffering from the consequences of their involvement.
The holiday at first honored the ANZAC soldiers who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I – the battled rage on for over eight months and over 10,000 soldiers lost their lives.
“We are Anzacs,” Babbington said. “I don’t know if America knows about the war at Gallipoli. It was the Australian and New Zealand army corp that stormed the beach and was on the frontline. That is why we are brothers in arms.
“We are brother countries.”
The Anzac spirit is a belief that Australian and New Zealand soldiers have shared characteristics, such as endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humor, larrikinism – an Australian term for a mischievous young person, who is rowdy and good-hearted – and mateship.
Babbington is eligible to compete for Team Australia, according to the PBR Global Cup ground rules. Any New Zealand bull rider can compete for Team Australia, while riders from any Spanish-speaking country could compete for Team Mexico.
Also competing for Team Australia is six-time PBR World Finals qualifier Lachlan Richardson, PBR Australia leader Aaron Kleier, 2017 PBR Australia champion Troy Wilkinson, 2016 PBR Australia champion Cody Heffernan, No. 25 Nathan Burtenshaw, No. 52 Cliff Richardson, No. 44 Justin Paton, No. 72 Bailey Woodard, No. 95 Budd Williamson, No. 113 Ethan Watts, No. 124 Ky Hamilton, No. 127 Mitchel Paton and No. 207 Bradie Gray on the team.
“I am really pumped,” Babbington said. “Australia has been like a second home to me. Obviously, I started my career here. I have a lot of friends and family over here. A lot of my friends are my family over here. To represent them, is an honor.”
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