Paton eyes national and world points at Hervey Bay's PBR
A SERIES victory may be well beyond reach but Mitch Paton will still come to Hervey Bay in search of personal glory.
Paton is one of more than 30 riders who have entered Saturday night's Pro Bull Riding Australia Rural Weekly Live Series event at Seafront Oval.
If every rider shares Paton's determination then the PBR, which returns to the site at which it wowed about 2500 fans last year, will be an event not to be missed.
"It seemed to be a bit of a rowdy crowd last year and that makes it better for all of us," he said.
"Usually, it's the more rural towns that host (the PBR) but that waterfront location makes it more exciting."
Paton grew up on a cattle property and has ridden bulls competitively for about nine years.
"I was in Grade 11 and a few of my friends were doing it so I thought I'd give it a go," Paton said.
"I'd have a go at the local rodeo each year and enjoyed it more every time."
He is a former Central Rodeo Cowboys Association rookie of the year (2009), open champion (2010), national finals champion (2011) and an Australasian Bull Games Championship winner.
He has qualified for the PBR National Finals every year since 2012, and will be one to keep an eye on.
"Everyone's keen to win but coming to the end of the season, everyone's trying to get points to qualify for finals," he said.
"They don't just go to national but to world events.
"(Cody Heffernan) outperformed us all this year (he leads the series by 380 points) but everyone wants to finish high up."
Paton's career has taken him throughout the United States, where he has travelled - and competed - several times.
"I've been overseas a fair bit," the 26-year-old said.
"I probably did it four years, but I was there six months every time.
"I've been back home for about two years now but I would like to go again, maybe next year."