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Derek Kolbaba rides JK Elite/Young Bird/Cord McCoy's JJ for 85.5 during the first round of the Oklahoma City Built Ford Tough series PBR


Jan 262017

Every bull rider dreams of one day being the final out of an event, needing one more qualified ride to win and facing a World Champion Bull. Derek Kolbaba’s dream came true Sunday in Oklahoma City. The 20-year-old Monster Energy bull rider was guaranteed at least a share of the event win, but an 8-second ride on Bruiser would secure his first win of 2017 all to himself. Eight-seconds later the judges marked the ride 92 points and Kolbaba had the second elite-level win of his young career.

“It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done.”

“Bull riding is 90 percent in your head,” Kolbaba said, during a post-event interview on CBS Sports Network, “and it’s moments like this that we dream of as kids. I wouldn’t want to be any other place right now.”


Bruiser was the 2016 World Champion Bull.


And the bull was born and raised about 100 miles south of Oklahoma City.


Naturally Kolbaba’s ride brought the Oklahoma crowd to its feet and in the process to brought Bruiser’s streak of 14 consecutive buckoffs to crowd-rousing end.


“I knew Bruiser was a great bull,” Kolbaba said, “and if I did my job, everything else would work out. Thank God it did.”


Oklahoma City is not one of the four major events or the World Finals, but, held in the heart of bucking bull country, it is a big time win coveted by the Top 35 professional bull riders in the world.


According to the CBS telecast, the PBR livestock director said this year’s event was the rankest OKC bull pen in the PBR’s 24-year history—making Kolbaba’s 3-for-3 performance all more impressive.


“That was fantastic,” said nine-time World Champion Ty Murray, who added, it was also “fun to watch.”


Kolbaba was damn-near perfect on the back of Bruiser, who was marked 45.5 points.


“I love it,” Murray added. “That’s just going for it.”


The win gave Kolbaba not one, but two advantages going forward.


He earned a check for more than $45,000.


And, perhaps, more importantly, he’s now ranked third in the world standings.


The young gun from Walla Walla, Washington, has gotten off to a spectacular start in 2017. He’s qualified for three Championship Rounds – New York City, Chicago and now Oklahoma City – on the elite televised series in 2017.


In the off-season, Kolbaba mentioned he needed to focus on finishing events stronger than he had in 2016. He explained the difference between finishing ranked 17th in the world and contending for a world title would be making the 8-second whistle in the final round.


He did just that in Oklahoma and as a result, won the event.


But it wasn’t an easy weekend.


He opened the event with an 85.5-point effort on JJ in the first round and then in Round 2 he called for the gate with Red Moon laying down in the frontend. Kolbaba maintained his composure and finished with 80.75 points.


Murray complimented the youngster saying, “Great job just gutting it out.”


Kolbaba added, “It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done. Sometimes that’s what it takes—gritting it out.”


Kolbaba and his fellow Monster Energy bull riders – Gage Gay, T18; Reese Cates, T18; Guilherme Marchi, 20; J.B. Mauney, 32, and Chase Outlaw – will be in Sacramento, California, this weekend for an event at the brand new state-of-the-art Golden 1 Center.