By: Justin Felisko
June 05, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – Derek Kolbaba and Jess Lockwood are only 21 and 19 years old, respectively, but that doesn’t exclude them from being held to a high set of standards.
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride has become a big believer in the two PBR young guns over the past two-and-a-half years and he continues to raise his expectations for them.
Two days before Kolbaba used a brilliant 3-for-3 performance to win the PBR Canada International Major, McBride expressed his commitment to his belief that both riders have another level to them that none of us have witnessed just yet.
“I have been disappointed in Lockwood, and a little bit in Kolbaba still,” McBride said when discussing his thoughts on the first half of the Built Ford Tough Series. “I hate to say that with Kolbaba making some big rides and Jess having a good first couple of events. I just think those two guys are capable of a lot more.”
In Quebec City, Kolbaba and Lockwood showed off their skills to the Canadian fan base in impressive fashion.
Kolbaba won both Round 1 (89.5 points on Funky Junk) and Round 2 (87.5 points on Time Bomb) in Quebec before clinching the event victory with his 88.5-point ride on Doomsday.
“Oh, this is a great feeling,” Kolbaba said to the crowd inside the Videotron Center. “The atmosphere up here in Quebec is awesome. You fans are great and if it wasn’t for you we wouldn’t have been able to be here.
“We had two great bulls today. Both of them spun into my hand, and I knew if I did my part everything should work out; and thank God it did.”
The Walla Walla, Washington, cowboy was flawless and his roommate in Quebec City was nearly just as good.
Lockwood began his weekend with 85 points on One Cool Dude. He then rode Wrongful Termination for 85.5 points in Round 2 and Ram It for 87 points in the championship round.
Quebec City was the first time both friends posted three qualified rides at the same PBR event.
McBride, who actually had picked Kolbaba as a dark horse world title contender in 2016, said he has to sometimes remind himself just how young and raw the two talented bull riders really are.
“I kind of have to go easy on them because I forget how young and inexperienced they are,” McBride added. “They still have some maturing to do, but I really think both of those guys can be special.”
Kolbaba has only competed in 43 BFTS events since making his debut in Allentown, Pennsylvania, at the tail end of 2015.
Lockwood has only 27 BFTS events on his resume.
They are a combined 79-for-229 (34.5 percent) at the BFTS level.
Kolbaba earned 300 points toward the world standings to move up to No. 3 in the world rankings. He is 915 points behind world No. 1 Eduardo Aparecido.
Kolbaba has won two BFTS events, a PBR Canada Major and a Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event.
Oh, and for good measure, he earned 910 PBR Canada national points to become the No. 1 rider in the PBR Canada standings.
Meanwhile, Lockwood is now ranked fifth in the world after picking up 80 points for his third-place finish.
Lockwood trails Aparecido by 1,157.5 points.
McBride is still a huge fan of Aparecido and believes the Brazilian has another gear to him as well, but Quebec City was all about the two rising stars.
“I don’t think we have seen close to as good as they can be,” McBride concluded.
Chase Outlaw dropped to sixth in the world standings, but the 24-year-old bull rider looked strong with his 2-for-3 showing.
Outlaw picked up 45 points toward the world standings. The Hamburg, Arkansas, bull rider hadn’t earned world points since placing fourth at the Sean Willingham Invitational in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on April 21.
Fabiano Vieira’s first 90-point ride since February 6, 2016, helped him finish the event 3-for-3 and in second place. The 34-year-old is now ranked 18th in the world standings.
Vieira’s last 90-point ride at any level of competition came last season when he rode Roy for 90.25 points.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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