Gresford bull rider in inaugural state of origin event

With state bragging rights on the line, Gresford's Cliff Richardson and Singleton's Cody Heffernan have qualified for the NSW team for the inaugural Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Origin event.

The head-to-head team battle that will decide the title of "Toughest State on Dirt" will be held at the new ICC Sydney Theatre in Darling Harbour on June 1.

Heffernan is currently number one on the PBR standings and Richardson number five and were both part of the Australian team that finished second at the 2018 Global Cup in Sydney.

Troy Wilkinson, the 2017 PBR Australia Champion who is from from Upper Horton will lead Team NSW.

The Monster Energy PBR Origin will feature two 11-rider teams representing NSW and Queensland.

The teams will have nine riders from each state, as well as four international wildcards that will include two Mexican champions and two Brazilian champions.

Each rider from the two teams will compete on two bulls each. If the rider makes the eight second whistle he will be judged on his ride, and the score he is given will then count towards his team score.

The top four scoring riders from each team will progress to the bonus round, or in footy terms, the equivalent of the golden point.

The two teams will then face off against the top four bulls from each state. The scores from this round will also add to the team's total, and the team with the highest combined scoring team will take out the win.

A 'man of the match' style award will also be decided on the night, with the rider who notches the highest combined scores over three qualified rides crowned the 2019 'Cowboy of Origin'.

"We're only weeks out from the event, and the excitement is building fast," said PBR Australia General Manager, Glen Young.

"With riders still competing weekly for qualifying points to make their respective state teams, the stakes are higher than ever and rivalry is at its peak.

"Professional bull riding is a sport that is known for mateship.

"These guys put their lives on the line each week, and it instills a high degree of camaraderie among the riders.

"It's been interesting to see this event pit the riders against each other from a state rivalry perspective for the first time - it adds a new competition dynamic to PBR that we've never had in Australia before.

"With tonnes of the best raging bulls from NSW and QLD thrown into the mix, it's going to be a battle fiercer than anything seen on the footy field."

While the footy comparisons are being made, the bull riding event obviously comes with more chance of a serious injury.

Richardson was nearly sidelined by a near-death injury in 2014. While competing, he took a bull horn to the stomach - rupturing his spleen and pancreas which took him nearly two years to recover from. He has also had two knee constructions to repair injuries from bull riding.

When he's not competing, Richardson works for the family business as a cattle buyer and property manager. He is married to Jess (whose father was a bullrider) and is now the father of a young child.

His brothers Lachlan and Eric are also bull riders and their younger sister Olivia works in sponsorship for the PBR Australia Tour. He has cousins are also on the PBR tour.

He led the Australian team (which also included brother Lachlan) at the opening leg of the PBR Global Cup in Canada as well as at the Australian event.

Cody Heffernan who grew up on his family's property outside of Singleton has consistently been one of Australia's top bull riders over the past few years.

His dad was a sound technician managing the music on the rodeo circuit (as well as running their family farm) and that's how he became involved in the sport from a young age - riding his first calf at four years-old.

Heffernan hits the scales at 68kgs and is 175cm tall - he puts his success down to being able to get in sync with bulls that weigh 900kg to more than a tonne.

Tickets for the June 1 Monster Energy PBR Origin are on-sale through Ticketek.