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Derek Kolbaba rides M Rafter E Bucking Bulls's Mission Impossible for 82.5 during the second round of the Chicago PBR Unleash The Beast.


Feb 082019

It did not look good.

In fact, for a few seconds, it got outright ugly, but Monster Energy bull rider Derek Kolbaba was willing to pay the price in order to assure himself a win at the Windy City Roundup last month.

“When you get up off the dirt and they say you just won $50,000,” Kolbaba joked, “it’s hard not to put a smile on your face.”

Then he admitted, “It didn’t feel very good, but we’ll take it.”

That is precisely the effort Justin McBride is looking for from Kolbaba at the Global Cup, in Arlington, Texas, this weekend. 

McBride, a two-time World Champion and coach of the American team, has been a big believer in Kolbaba ever since he finished second in the world standings two seasons ago. This year’s installment of the Global Cup features six teams—Brazil, Canada, Australia, Mexico and Native America along with the American team.

Monster Energy will be well-represented at the Global Cup.


Joining on the American team will be Chase Outlaw, while Jose Vitor Leme will compete for the Brazilians and Tanner Byrne will represent his home country of Canada. Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney was an alternate for the American’s but opted out because of a broken leg.


McBride marveled at the second and third effort he saw from Kolbaba—there might have even been a fourth effort—after getting strung out and rocked back on his arm in Chicago. But Kolbaba was not about to let go of his bull rope or checkout any sooner than the 8-second whistle.


He saw his time Testified all through to the end.


McBride described Kolbaba’s effort as all guts and pointed out that sometimes cowboys do not have to be perfect in bull riding.


As with that night, in Chicago, Kolbaba just needed a score.


“That’s what I’ve been waiting to see out of Kolbaba,” said McBride, who said the Walla Walla, Washington, rider has “just been steaky his entire career—to this point.”


In Arlington, Team America will need 12 scores. 


It was not easy and not just Kolbaba, but any rider who had been in that situation could have just as easily checked out shy of the whistle, but the 22-year-old made up his mind that he was going to see this one through. He never quit.


He showed a lot of guts.


And it was a statement early in the 2019 season.


“When Kolbaba is on,” said McBride, who believes in Kolbaba even though he’s currently ranked 21st in the world standings, “nobody’s better. This is a young guy with a lot of ability.”


Winning the event, in Chicago, went a long way toward proving to himself and to others, he is a viable World Champion contender.


“I really believe Kolbaba is the type of guy who can step up and challenge for a world title,” McBride said.