By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – Ky Hamilton showed up at the 2020 Winstar World Casino & Resort Global Cup USA for Team Australia four months ago sitting atop the PRCA standings, which was something that certainly stood out to 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis.
Davis had first met Hamilton two years ago at the 2018 Sydney Global Cup when 1998 PBR World Champion Troy Dunn made Hamilton, then 18, one of his final two selections for Team Australia. Dunn had high praise for the teenager from Mackay, Queensland.
Hamilton and Davis – the captain of Team USA – exchange pleasantries in Sydney, and Davis was well aware that Hamilton had plans to move to the United States following the Sydney Global Cup and pursue a professional career.
Within not even two full years, Hamilton is now the No. 4-ranked bull rider in the PRCA and is making a push at the PRCA championship.
“Ky’s got a lot of talent,” Davis said earlier this week before the start of Division B play at the Monster Energy Team Challenge, presented by U.S. Border Patrol. “Ky was actually beating (current PRCA No. 1) Sage (Kimzey) before The American this year, so that just kind of speaks volumes about how much talent that Ky does have. I don’t know just how good he is yet, but I know that he’s got a ton of talent, and he’s a really, really good kid.
“Just talking to him a little bit, I’ve got a lot of faith in him, and I think that people are going to see something out of Ky that they hadn’t quite got to see yet. It’s really exciting for me.”
Hamilton made his Team Ariat captain proud on Saturday night when he collaborated with Davis to propel Ariat (2-0) to a grind-it-out 160.75-79.25 victory over Team Cat (0-2).
Ariat and Cat had combined for eight consecutive buckoffs to begin the game before Dakota Louis got Cat on the board with his 79.25-point ride on Charge.
Hamilton, though, immediately responded for Team Ariat with his 85.25-point ride on Twinkle Toes.
Hurricane Tested would next buck off Team Cat’s Ouncie Mitchell in 4.55 seconds, and just like that, Ariat was looking at a 2-0 start to Division B Play despite going 3-for-12 in two games.
“I don’t know. I just had a good one to ride, and I just made it count,” Hamilton told CBS Sports Network’s Kate Harrison after the game.
Davis tacked on a 75.5-point ride on Maximum Risk to end the game. He turned down a re-ride opportunity with the game already over.
The stage is now set for the CBS Game of the Week Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on CBS national television with Division B-leading Team Pendleton Whisky taking on fellow undefeated Team Ariat.
Hamilton has drawn Holy Water and 2018 PRCA champion Spotted Demon for the matchup, while Davis will take on Marquis Metal Works Bill The Butcher and Chile Pepper.
The Monster Energy Team Challenge has yet to see a 90-point ride, but that may change if Hamilton rides Spotted Demon or Davis converts on Bill The Butcher.
The METC features 12 teams, and two Divisions (A & B). The Top 3 teams in each division, based upon win-loss record, qualify for Championship Weekend and a single-elimination tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on July 10-12 in front of fans.
Following Division A competition, Team Cooper Tires, Team Las Vegas and Team Can-Am have clinched playoff berths.
“The only people that can beat us is ourselves,” Davis said. “So we’ve got to keep our head down and ride what bulls that we’ve got, and if they beat us on the score sheet, so be it. We’ve still got to do our job. Our job never changes. That’s my only outlook at it. I don’t really care who’s there or who we’ve got to beat to get there. We’ve just got to do our job.”
Similar to Team Ariat, Team Pendleton Whisky has had to grind out each of its two victories. Pendleton Whisky is 4-for-12 through two games, but General Manager Justin McBride’s team continues to find ways to win.
McBride believes Team Ariat needs someone to step up alongside his normal captain for Team USA at the Global Cup, and Hamilton looks like he may be rounding into being just the guy that Davis needs.
“Davis is going to need that complement,” McBride said on CBS Sports Network. “He is going to need that other guy to step up, and that guy for me is Ky Hamilton. He is showing you why. Really good job, and that was the big ride that won it for them.”
Professional Bull Riders – Team Challenge – Game 23
Las Vegas, NV, 2020
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Ky Hamilton, 0-85.25-85.25
2. Dakota Louis, 0-79.25-79.25
3. Cooper Davis, 0-75.5-75.50
Kyle Jones, 0-0-0.00
Ouncie Mitchell, 0-0-0.00
Clayton Sellars, 0-0-0.00
Tyler Bingham, 0-0-0.00
Maverick Potter, 0-0-0.00
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2020 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.