SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Two-time World Champion Justin McBride used to think when he eventually won a gold buckle that a band would be playing every day he woke up and that everything would be awesome all the time.
Well, there may not be the band he always wanted, but there is no denying how amazing a feeling it was for McBride to hoist the World Championship trophy twice inside the Thomas & Mack Center.
“Being in championship races and losing a bunch of them, coming out on the short end a lot of times, that it wasn’t until I told myself to heck with the gold buckle,” McBride said. “It wasn’t until I was able to let go of that and say I am going to go out here and I am trying to win and I am going out here for the challenge of riding these great bulls that gold buckle started falling in place.”
On Monday night, McBride will join host Craig Hummer, nine-time World Champion Ty Murray, PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert, 1994 Rookie of the Year J.W. Hart, and three-time World Champion Silvano Alves on “PBR Road to Vegas.”
The episode is the second of a five-part series that airs at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.
McBride will be a part of the roundtable discussion focused on what it takes to win a World Championship at the Built Ford Tough World Finals.
It is something many of this year’s World Championship contenders have yet to experience.
Current world leader J.B. Mauney is the only active rider – 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi is currently injured – ranked in the Top 10 of the world standings that has won a world title (2013) and gotten the job done at the Finals.
Meanwhile, No. 3 Kaique Pacheco and No. 4 Matt Triplett are in their first world title race.
No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira and No. 5 Fabiano Vieira are the oldest riders in the race and are in contention for the second consecutive season, but neither has won a World Championship.
McBride and Alves offer great insight into what kind of mentality they had in Las Vegas at the Finals on their way to World Championships. Murray also offers further advice based his days of winning PRCA bull riding titles, as well as the 1999 PBR World Finals event average.
“It is not like you can teach it,” Murray said. “Everybody’s mind works a little different. The key is finding what works in your mind.”
McBride added, “For Ty, it is because he knew he was better at winning than everybody else.”
The 36-year-old then laughed as he brought up a story when Murray and him got challenged to a game of pool in Colorado years ago. Both were nowhere near talented pool sharks, but the two hated losing and loved winning.
McBride still remembers Murray’s response from their opponents that he was a good pool player.
“He said, ‘No I am not, I am just better at winning than you are,’” McBride said.
McBride eventually found his World Champion mentality in part by letting go of pressing so much for winning a gold buckle, while Alves continued to stick to his plan of being the most consistent bull rider one bull at a time and has already won three gold buckles before the age of 27.
“I need to ride every day,” Alves said. “I need to focus on the day. You need to focus on the same day, same bull and same 8 seconds because there is another day and another bull the next day.”
When asked what his favorite World Finals memory was, Alves responded that his 6-for-6 performance and third world title last year was a personal favorite.
But he was quick to point out that 2013 – the year he lost to Mauney – is still one he enjoys thinking about because it was such a back-and-forth battle between two greats.
Alves’ comments impressed McBride.
McBride added that you become even more motivated when you become so close to winning a world title.
“I can remember in 2001, I felt like I was taken to school,” McBride said. “I had won five events that season and toward the end of the year I was in the lead. I could not believe it. It was with Ty and Adriano (Moraes), and when it all shook out I ended up in third.
“I think you can learn something every year, especially if your competition is up to snuff.”
Four years later, McBride won his first world title.
All of this year’s contenders hope to fully understand the joy and happiness that McBride and Alves have had the luxury of feeling a combined five times once the World Finals is all said and over on Oct. 25.
“When I did get to hold that cup, you want to soak it all in and never forget how it feels, and as soon as it is over you have forgotten how it feels and you want to go try and win another one,” McBride said.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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