By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – Anticipation, excitement and wonder continue to circulate around the recent announcement of the PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge, presented by U.S. Border Patrol.
The Monster Energy Team Challenge is going to feature 12 teams and 48 bull riders. Each team will consist of four riders and there will be two divisions of six teams. The Top 3 teams in each division will then qualify for Championship Weekend and a single-elimination tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on July 10-12 in front of fans.
In the next two weeks, the PBR will be unveiling further details about rosters, schedules and competition rules for the Monster Energy Team Challenge, which begins on June 5 with non-public events in Las Vegas that can be seen live on CBS Sports Network, RidePass and CBS national television.
The format will be completely new for PBR fans, and it will be fun to see which riders are together on which teams.
The PBR Global Cup is a good example of the heightened level of competition that can occur during a team bull riding competition.
The last four Global Cups have seen the battle for bull riding global dominance result in a series of historic moments and rides since the inaugural Global Cup took place three years ago in Edmonton.
Just looking at still framed photography of any Global Cup, and fans can see the pure passion on every rider’s face cheering their teammates on.
RidePass is airing the 2017 PBR Global Cup beginning at 8 p.m. ET Thursday, and fans can watch coach Justin McBride lead an underdog Team USA Eagles squad to victory for free on the OTT platform.
Today, PBR.com’s From the Vault series looks back at the Eagles victory in Edmonton.
2016 World Champion Cooper Davis didn’t want to just be a part of a winning team at the Global Cup, but the 23-year-old wanted to be a difference maker.
He knew Team USA head coach Justin McBride entrusted him with the responsibility of being a team captain, and Davis was going to make sure his riding and leadership didn’t let down his coach, his team and his country.
Captain America made sure of that on Saturday night by putting the red, white and blue on his back and carrying them to an inaugural Global Cup victory with an 89.25-point ride on Catfish John in the Bonus Round.
Davis showed the poise, leadership and MVP talent necessary to win an international battle for bull riding dominance on the road in a foreign country inside Rogers Place.
“This is the coolest event I have ever been to,” Davis said. “I would put it right up there pretty close to winning that world title. Our country needs a pick-me up and maybe this is it.”
The intensity and comedic relief that Stormy Wing brought to the Team USA locker room at this weekend’s PBR Global Cup, presented by Encor by EPCOR, was a key cog in the Americans march to victory.
One moment Wing could be screaming intensely, while 10 minutes later he would be walking into the locker room with a huge grin, a big ‘ole bag of popcorn and doing a Chase Outlaw impression.
However, Wing wasn’t just a firecracker and icebreaker for the seven bull riders that suited up for the red, white and blue.
Instead, Wing was the lead driver and performer inside the arena as Team USA rallied on the final day of the Global Cup to win the inaugural event in enemy territory inside Rogers Place.
Wing was the best rider in the two-day international bull riding tournament and went 3-for-4 to win the $50,000 individual aggregate championship.
“This is what we came to do,” Wing said. “I don’t think any of the team members of mine would not be expecting to win. I am blessed and there is proof there is a God out there. We came into somebody else’s country and got along good. We appreciate those guys having us, and we look forward to doing it again in June.”
It didn’t take long for Team USA head coach Justin McBride to realize last week that Cole Melancon was exactly the guy he wanted on his squad when he called the 23-year-old three days before the start of the inaugural Global Cup.
Melancon was ready to drive straight to the airport and get on a flight ASAP if that is what it took to guarantee himself a spot on Team USA.
That kind of attitude is one McBride knew would be necessary if Team USA was going to go into Edmonton and claim the Global Cup trophy on enemy soil.
It is why McBride wasn’t surprised one bit that Melancon channeled his own Justin McBride by hanging off the side of Bourbon Oak on Saturday night for the final second of his 82.5-point qualified ride.
The effort was ala McBride’s 2-second effort hanging off the side of Camo at the 2005 World Finals to win the World Championship.
“When I called that boy on Tuesday afternoon – his attitude – I was in right away with that boy,” McBride said. “I told him when he got done after that one, there is no replacement for guts. That is something you have or you don’t, and he’s got it.”
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.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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