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Derek Kolbaba rides D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.'s SweetPro's Bruiser for 93 during the championship round of the Colorado Springs PBR Built Ford Tough series PBR.

8 seconds later

Oct 062017

The stretch run of Derek Kolbaba’s season changed in a matter of 8 seconds.

With one ride, the 21-year-old youngster went from being listed among ‘other contenders’ for this year’s world title to the top of any discussion. Period.

As a matter of fact, with the way he’s ridden the past two weeks, he is the topic of discussion.

One ride, 93 points and his second elite televised PBR event win in as many weeks and now the Monster Energy rider is third in the world and riding better than anyone else on tour.

“It’s a heck of a lot more fun when you’re doing well,” Kolbaba said. “We’re just taking it one bull at a time and enjoying every minute of it.

“Things are rolling.”

That’s an understatement.

For the second week in a row, he went 3-for-3 and has now ridden six in a row after having ridden just 1 of his previous 16 attempts.


Not only has the Walla Walla, Washington, native claimed back-to-back wins, but Kolbaba is now the only rider on tour with four elite event wins.


“Working at a little more and not trying to overthink anything,” said Kolbaba, of his recent successes.


Two weeks earlier, he turned things around with a heart-to-heart moment he shared with his father.


“He kind of lit a fire under me, I guess, you could say,” the younger Kolbaba recalled. “He said, ‘You’re better than just sitting at number five. And you have the opportunity and what it takes to be a World Champion.’


“I don’t know how to explain it. I got rejuvenated a little bit and here we are.”


In Colorado Springs, Kolbaba opened by splitting the round win after earning 87.5 points on Hot Habanero. Then he followed with 85.75 points on Too Smooth to land the first pick of the Championship Round bull draft.


He took Bruiser, a World Champion Bull contender.


“That bull is one you want to pick every time you have the chance,” Kolbaba said, “just because you know that if you do everything right he’s going to feel awesome and you’re going to be a lot of points.


Kolbaba said the real payoff for Sunday’s 8-second effort comes with “a little bragging rights to be able to ride those rank bulls.”


Bruiser was the high-marked bull of the weekend with 45.75 and Kolbaba’s 93 points was a career-best.


“It’s pretty awesome when you step off and your buddies are cheering and the crowd is going crazy,” Kolbaba said. “At that point you really don’t care what the score is, you just got that blood flowing and you’re on top of the world. Then when they announce your score it just makes it that much better.”


Kolbaba and his fellow Monster Energy bull riders – Chase Outlaw, Guilherme Marchi and Gage Gay – will be up in Nampa, Idaho, this weekend.


The elite regular-season tour will then conclude with an East Coast event in Raleigh, North Carolina, followed by a trip out West to San Jose, California, before winding up in Las Vegas for the Finals.


In the meantime, Kolbaba is looking to maintain the momentum he’s generated the past few weeks.


“You have to be consistent in those Championship Rounds,” he concluded. “Just making it there and not capitalizing on the opportunity that you have in the short round is not going to get you where you want to be.


“That’s the main thing with taking it one bull at a time and just sticking to the basics.”