be_ixf;ym_202207 d_06; ct_100
Derek KOLBABA RISING IN PBR STANDINGS, WORLD FINALS APPROACHING . Shots taken at the Nashville Unleash the Beast PBR Competition in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kolbaba Rises In PBR

Oct 212021

It’s not how you start. It’s all about how you finish.

For Derek Kolbaba, the past two months have been a successful preamble to the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas. In that time frame, he’s recorded four Top 5 elite televised event finishes and five in the Top 10—four of which came during a five-event stretch from Nashville, Tennessee to Deadwood, North Dakota.

Kolbaba is currently ranked eighth in the PBR world standings and, with one regular-season event remaining, the Monster Energy bull rider is merely 150 points outside of the Top 5 in the world rankings.

In addition to his regular-season success, Kolbaba has ridden off with a pair of 89.5-point outs in the past two 15/15 Bucking Battles, which has helped solidify the Walla Walla, Washington, native in the Top 10 for the 2021 season.

The 25-year-old is truly peaking as the season progresses.

“I just love that Kolbaba finishes,” said two-time PBR World Champion turned CBS broadcaster Justin McBride, following Kolbaba’s success in Greensboro, North Carolina, when he rode Dixieland Delight. “He didn’t get lazy, didn’t get complacent, stayed aggressive, and kept riding in the middle.”


Two weeks earlier, Kolbaba had been the first ridder to make the 8-second whistle on the backside of War Dress.


That night, McBride said, “Glad to see a guy not talk himself out of it against this bull. He expected himself to finish this ride.”


Kolbaba is the second-highest ranked Monster Energy behind top-ranked Jose Vitor Leme.


Leme is out with a groin and core muscle injury until the Finals begin on November 3. The defending World Champion is 635 points ahead of any other rider in the world as he tries to become only the second rider in PBR history to win back-to-back world titles.


Along with Leme, 1, and Kolbaba, 8, there are two other Monster Energy riders — Marco Eguchi, 14, Cody Teel, 18 — heading to Las Vegas. Kolbaba, Eguchi, and Teel will close out the 2021 regular season this coming weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska.


The World Finals start Wednesday, Nov. 3, and continue through Sunday, Nov. 7. for six rounds over a five-day period at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.


In his most recent social media posting, a confident Kolbaba wrote, “Getting the round win last weekend. One more event left till the PBR World Finals.”