MORPETH-raised bull rider Brendon Clark hopes to make it a double celebration when he competes in his signature home-town event tonight.
Clark, who is based in California, is aiming for back-to-back wins at the Brendon Clark Invitational in Newcastle, after winning the tournament last year.
Then on Monday, July 16, Clark and his wife, Allison Renz, will celebrate their first wedding anniversary.
‘‘Allison was a bit nervous this time last year because I had to return to America after this event to get married and she was hoping I didn’t get hurt,’’ Clark said.
The couple are travelling together this time while Clark competes in Australia as part of the 2012 Professional Bull Riders Australian Cup Series.
The series, which features 22 of the best bull riders from Australia, Canada and the United States, begins in Newcastle, with competition in Brisbane (July 14) and the Australian national finals at Sydney’s Allphones Arena (July 21).
The Newcastle clash will also feature Seaham-raised rider Ben Jones and Jason O’Hearn, of North Rothbury.
The invitational will mark O’Hearn’s first ride back after injury.
More than 4500 people attended the Brendon Clark Invitational at Newcastle Entertainment Centre last year and the event is expected to sell out again tonight.
Clark has netted almost $1million in career earnings and set a new Professional Bull Riders record in 2010 with six consecutive wins – a feat unmatched in the history of the sport.
Protest against rodeo
ANIMAL activist Amy Johnson will lead a small group of protesters outside Newcastle Entertainment Centre tonight.
Johnson said bull-riding was cruel to animals and unsafe for humans.
A spokesman for Professional Bull Riders Australia (PBR) said the mistreatment of a bull would be a detriment to the sport upon which a bull rider’s livelihood depended.
‘‘Bulls are far too valuable for their owners or the PBR to allow them to be injured or mistreated,’’ he said in a statement.