PUEBLO, Colo. – Lachlan Richardson’s eyes were locked on three-time World Champion Adriano Moraes last week inside the Team Australia locker room.
Richardson had previously been leaning against a backbench before he was on the edge of his seat as he talked about his journey to three World Championships.
With every word and annunciation, Richardson’s eyes gleamed in belief.
Richardson arrived in Edmonton for the PBR Global Cup confident in his abilities, but he admitted Moraes flipped a switch in his brain in ways.
“It is not like I have more talent than I did before, but he definitely has helped me head, especially coming off a bad week at the Finals He has fired us all up. He has done everything that, not just our locker room, but everyone has dreamt of doing. He has been through all of the highs and lows. Just a few of his stories he told when he was winning his world titles will make you try a little bit harder and put it behind you.
“It was good to have him here.”
Richardson made one of the many marquee moments at Global Cup when he rode for 87.75 points in the first Bonus Round inside Rogers Place.
By the time Richardson was hitting the ground, Team Australia was going nuts on the back of the bucking chutes and throwing their cowboy hats in Richardson’s direction.
“That was really cool to have all of them right there, throwing their hats,” Richardson said. “They were more pumped up than me.”
Moraes had named Richardson his Team Captain earlier in the day, noting his experience and success at the highest levels of bull riding. Richardson was the only rider on the team that competed at the World Finals.
Richardson left Edmonton on Sunday night to return to Australia. He will stay through the holidays until the start of the 2018 PBR Built Ford Tough Series on Jan. 5-7 in New York.
He plans on competing at three PBR Australia Cup events, including this coming weekend’s PBR Australia Iron Cowboy in Townsville, Australia, before coming back to the states.
“I will have a few weeks off, but not for a long time,” Richardson said.
Richardson is excited to be able to hit the ground running for 2018 after missing the first six months of 2017 recovering from a torn right bicep in his riding arm.
Despite missing the first half of the 2017 Built Ford Tough Series, Richardson was able to earn enough points during the final five months of the regular season to qualify for his sixth consecutive PBR World Finals.
However, Richardson went 0-for-5 in Las Vegas to finish the season 4-for-21 (14.81 percent) in 11 events.
“Obviously, I had a disappointing Finals,” Richardson said. “I did no good there, but that is what I wanted to do. I wanted to make the Finals. I know some people fight all year to do that, but I did it in six months. If you look at it that way, it is a pretty good achievement. I still would have liked to be a lot more consistent.”
The 14-percent riding average was far off the 23.54 percent he covered in 2016 when he finished a career-best 16th in the world.
Richardson went 20-for-74 (14.81 percent) at all levels of competition in 2017 and finished 35th in the world standings. He will begin the 2018 season with five guaranteed BFTS events before being subjected to the cutline. Riders that finished ranked in the Top 30 are given eight guaranteed events.
Therefore, competing in Australia this weekend could give Richardson a head start on the other riders electing to rest until the New Year.
“Yeah, they are definitely good points over there,” Richardson said. “I could do a few more events, but a little bit of time off, and I will be fresh and ready for New York.”
Following his two qualified rides at the Global Cup, which was the best Richardson had looked all season long, the Gresford, Australia, native is setting high expectations for himself in 2018.
“The Finals is over and it is a new season,” he concluded. “I am looking forward and not back. I know I can be right up there, and I know I can win a world title. Last year was injuries and that. I can’t blame that. It is a new year, and I am just looking forward and up.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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