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Derek Kolbaba wins the Uniondale Built Ford Tough series PBR.


Sep 282017

When it comes to the basic fundamentals of bull riding, it’s a very simple sport.

Unfortunately, history has proven that to be easier said than done.

Derek Kolbaba had twice won elite televised PBR events in 2017 and has been ranked in the Top 10 for damn near the entire season, but those first two wins were both followed by far less enjoyable stretches.

The Monster Energy young gun was one for his last 16 coming into this past weekend’s event.

And a trip to Uniondale, New York, located out on Long Island and within a subway ride of New York City, was a long way from Kolbaba’s home in Walla Walla, Washington.

The result was an equally long way from his recent struggles.


The 21-year-old Kolbaba went 3-for-3 and claimed his third elite PBR event win on the final out of the weekend.


“It means a whole lot,” said Kolbaba, who is now fifth in the world and a mere 775 points off the pace to win a world title. “I had a rough spot the last couple weeks, but right now it’s time turn it on, so here we go.”


There are just four regular-season events remaining on the elite televised PBR tour, including this weekend’s upcoming event in Colorado Springs.


Just four events between now and a chance to contend for a gold buckle and the $1 million bonus that comes with winning a world title.


“I had a pretty conversation with my dad earlier this week about just going back to the basics,” said Kolbaba, during a televised interview on CBS Sports Network. “It seemed to work.”


Yes, it did.


He needed 88 points when he climbed on top of Buckeye Bill.


Eight seconds after nodding his head, Kolbaba earned 90 points and his third event win.


“It’s like a mystery,” said nine-time World Champion Ty Murray, when talking about the difference between Kolbaba’s struggles and success.


There was no mystery in New York.


Kolbaba was praised for his veteran-like poise and remained calm, cool and collected throughout all three rounds.


He took the lead in Round 1 with 87.25 points on Loan Shark and followed up with another 87 points in Round 2 before finishing off the event with his first 90-point effort since winning his first event in Oklahoma City back in February.


Murray remarked that Kolbaba did a great job of staying loose and letting the bull do all the work underneath him.


“Now the trick is to be able to carry that one ride forward,” Murray added, at the end of the PBR telecast.


Kolbaba rode away with the event win at the expense of fellow Monster Energy bull rider Chase Outlaw, who finished second in the event and is right there with Kolbaba in the world standings.


Outlaw is ranked sixth in the world.


Both riders and their Monster Energy teammates – Gage Gay and 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi – along with the rest of the Top 35 riders in the world will be in Colorado Springs this weekend for the Rumble in the Rockies.