By: Justin Felisko
November 14, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – Two-time World Champion Justin McBride successfully went through some of the most stressful situations during his professional bull riding career, but his experience as head coach of Team USA at the inaugural Global Cup was unlike anything he experienced as a rider.
Instead of being in control of his destiny, he was at the discretion of his team.
“Man, I tell you. That is the most nerve-racking thing,” McBride said in the moments after the Global Cup concluded.
McBride then paused, exhaled deeply and wiped his forehead.
“That is what I was telling the boys. Jesus, this is like watching my kids play ball,” McBride said. “You want them to do good so bad and you have no control over what happens. All you can do is make sure they are prepared and ready and turn them loose.”
Team USA won the Global Cup by going 12-for-18 and earning 1,026.75 points via ride scores.
It was a prestigious victory for McBride, but it is completely different from his two gold buckles.
“It is totally different for me,” he said. “That was on me. That is for all the guys that won world titles. That is a singular dream of your own. This is seven guys all working toward one goal. I am so proud of these guys.”
Cody Nance gave a shout-out to McBride on his Instagram account following the Team USA victory.
“I feel so very blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a part of team USA,” Nance wrote. “These men gave everything they had and with Justin McBride as an awesome coach we had no doubt we could win the Global Cup. I love it when a plan comes together. It was an honor to ride with these true modern day gladiators.”
Prior to each of the Bonus Rounds, McBride would meet with his team and assign each of the bonus bulls with a rider.
McBride made sure he was extra prepared for the Bonus Rounds regardless of which position the team entered the draft in.
Inside the locker room, McBride’s position was more of a calming presence than that of motivator.
The 38-year-old understood his team knew what was at stake in Edmonton.
McBride also knew they were very well aware that they had to be close to perfect if they were going to defeat Canada, who had two times as many riders as they did because they were the host team, or if they were going to usurp the veteran-savvy squad of Team Brazil.
Therefore, McBride avoided any rah-rah speeches, but instead focused on offering words of encouragement in the locker room and playing to each of his rider’s strengths in one-on-one conversations.
He let his composure rub off on his team as they went through the ups-and-downs of competing in an international team-battle for global excellence.
McBride also thought back to how 2009 PBR Ring of Honor inductee J.W. Hart coached Team USA at the World Cups.
Hart said this week he viewed himself less as a coach, but more as a team leader or manager seeing as you can’t really call a play in bull riding.
McBride competed at the 2008 PBR World Cup event in Chihuahua, Mexico, as Team USA defeated Team Canada, Team Brazil and Team Australia at the Manuel Bernardo Aguirre Gymnasium.
“Don’t forget. I was a part of his teams in the past, and I saw how he did things,” McBride said. “I learned a lot from J.W. over the years, whether it had to do with bull riding or coaching a bull riding team.”
McBride also didn’t have to go out of his way to hear from Hart.
“The thing about J.W. is we don’t have to ask each other for advice,” McBride said before laughing. “We give it freely to one another. He was questioning why I didn’t use Cooper (the first) night, but J.W. and I have been around each other for a lot of years now.
“We kind of know how each other do things.”
Has McBride thought about trying to match, or even break Hart’s coaching record of two victories?
Is McBride already thinking about heading to Sydney on June 9-10 for the next edition of the Global Cup?
“Any time they will have me, I’ll be there,” he concluded.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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