By: Justin Felisko
March 28, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – He’s the bull that nearly every PBR rider currently wants to get on right now, and Derek Kolbaba is thrilled to get another crack at him.
Kolbaba has drawn 2016 World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser for this weekend’s 15/15 Bucking Battle at the First PREMIER Bank PREMIER Bankcard Invitational.
“Oh, hell yeah!,” Kolbaba responded when informed he had drawn the reigning World Champion.
Kolbaba has plenty of reasons to be excited with the matchup, especially because the No. 5 ranked bull rider in the world standings previously rode him for a career-high 92 points to win the Oklahoma City Built Ford Tough Series event in January.
There is no other bull Kolbaba would want to get on during the PBR’s showcase round this weekend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“That is first pick every time,” Kolbaba said. “No matter what. He is a bull that is a contender for the rankest bull of all time, but he is a bull that not only bucks outstanding and you can be a pile of points on him, but if you are in the right position he feels like a dream.”
Kolbaba heads into the event following a fourth-place finish (3-for-3) at the Ak-Chin Invitational in Glendale, Arizona.
The 20-year-old has ridden four in a row and is riding at a 66.66-percent clip in his last three events (6-for-9).
It won’t be an easy matchup by any means on Saturday night, but unlike other World Champion Bull contenders Pearl Harbor, TLW’s Big Cat or Seven Dust, Bruiser is a bull that riders are salivating for every time they see their name next to his.
Stormy Wing showed just how explosive a rider can be alongside Bruiser two weeks ago in Bruiser’s last out at the Ty Murray Invitational.
Wing rode the 6-year-old bovine athlete for 95.25 points – the fifth-highest numerical scored ride in PBR history – despite the bull taking two emphatic jumps backward in the final seconds.
“If you do everything right, you are going to be 90-plus just like Stormy, 95.25 points,” Kolbaba said. “That is what everybody dreams of. Riding the rankest bulls for a ton of points.”
Speed, power and kick are all synonymous with Bruiser.
So too is winning.
Bruiser has rewarded riders throughout his four-year career with a 90.5-point ride or higher in six of the seven qualified rides on his back.
“He is one that feels like none other,” Kolbaba said. “You will be 92-93 points and step off and be like, ‘Holy crap what happened.’ Like I said, that is what we dream of. To ride them rank bulls. He is one that if you do everything right he is going to make it worth it. That is one thing about Bruiser. He is pretty much great every out. He doesn’t really falter much.”
Still, it isn’t all peachy with Bruiser.
The D&H Cattle Company superstar does have 30 buckoffs in 37 BFTS outs and 60 buckoffs in 72 outs in all levels of competition.
Kolbaba was first bucked off by Bruiser in 5.18 seconds at the Thackerville, Oklahoma, 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“He is a bull that if you stub your toe, he is going to get you,” Kolbaba said.
The matchup is one of six marque rematches in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
2016 PBR Brazil champion Dener Barbosa also has a grudge match against Stone Sober.
Stone Sober recently bested Barbosa in 2.54 seconds at the Little Rock, Arkansas, event four months after Barbosa rode him for 87.5 points at the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Two riders – Eduardo Aparecido and Jess Lockwood – have rematches against bulls they have hit home runs off.
Aparecido takes on Speed Demon after just recently riding the bull for 91.25 points two weeks ago at the Ty Murray Invitational, while Lockwood takes on BC Circular Insanity, the bull he rode for 90 points to win the Sacramento Clash.
Meanwhile, world No. 1 bull Pearl Harbor will look for a third consecutive buckoff against Ryan Dirteater and Jared Allen’s Air Time will continue his resurgence against 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis.
Air Time smoked Davis in 2.58 seconds at J.W. Hart’s Young Guns Challenge last year in Decatur, Texas.
15/15 Bucking Battle Matchups
Dener Barbosa vs. Stone Sober (45-3, BFTS)
Silvano Alves vs. Hey Jack (15-0, BFTS)
Joao Ricardo Vieira vs. Smooth Operator (36-3, BFTS)
Ryan Dirteater vs. Pearl Harbor (23-2, BFTS)
J.B. Mauney vs. Burn It Down (8-1, BFTS)
Stormy Wing vs. Cochise (21-4, BFTS)
Marco Eguchi vs. Jack Shot (16-2, BFTS)
Cooper Davis vs. Air Time (30-1, BFTS)
Mason Lowe vs. Bad Beagle (8-1, BFTS)
Rubens Barbosa vs. Seven Dust (24-1, BFTS)
Derek Kolbaba vs. SweetPro’s Bruiser (30-7, BFTS)
Kaique Pacheco vs. TLW’s Big Cat (24-1, BFTS)
Chase Outlaw vs. Mystikal (9-0, BFTS)
Jess Lockwood vs. BC Circular Insanity (8-1, BFTS)
Eduardo Aparecido vs. Speed Demon (5-2, BFTS)
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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