Kolbaba Experiences Highs and Lows with Victory in Kalispell and then Punctured Lung 24 Hours Later

By: Justin Felisko

PUEBLO, Colo. – Derek Kolbaba summed up this past weekend quite well Sunday on his Instagram account.

“Oh the highs and lows of bull riding,” he wrote.

Kolbaba’s weekend started fantastic as he won the Kalispell Automotive Group PBR Touring Pro Division event in Kalispell, Montana, Friday with a flawless 2-for-2 (176.5 points) performance. However, 24 hours later, he was being transported to a local hospital after he was stepped on by Lil Bit Crazy at the Dusty Gliko Bull Riding Challenge in Great Falls, Montana, on Saturday night.

The No. 7-ranked bull rider in the world shared an update with his fans on social media Sunday that he was doing better and that he would be spending a few days in the hospital recovering from the punctured lung.


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A post shared by Derek Kolbaba (@derek_kolbaba)

Kolbaba looked great in Kalispell Friday as he rode Humberto for 87 points to split second place in Round 1 with Hunter Kelly, who coincidentally rode the bull (Lil Bit Crazy) that would step on Kolbaba in Great Falls for 87 points.

Kolbaba then jumped into the lead in the championship round with an 89.5-point ride on Switchback. Round 1 winner Beau Nordahl (87.5 points on Money Honey) cemented Kolbaba’s victory when he failed to ride Trigger Finger (2.22 seconds) on the final out of the event at the Flathead County Fairgrounds.

The 25-year-old has won two of his last Touring Pro Division events in the past month, including the WCRA Rodeo Corpus Christi, but he also has been quite banged up.

Kolbaba injured his leg in Corpus Christi during his 91.5-point winning ride on County Jail. He then sustained a concussion a week later on the Unleash The Beast in Billings, Montana, which prevented him from competing in Jacksonville, Florida.

Despite the recent rough go, Kolbaba remains in contention for the 2021 World Championship. He trails world No. 1 Kaique Pacheco by 675.5 points.

Pacheco will attempt to increase his lead this coming weekend at the PBR Las Vegas Invitational at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It is the last premier series event of the first half until the second half resumes on July 26-27 with Last Cowboy Standing at Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Kolbaba, who will not be competing in Vegas, was one of three riders to go a perfect 2-for-2 in Kalispell.

Daylon Swearingen went 2-for-2 (174.5 points) in his season debut following offseason shoulder/hip surgery to finish second, picking up eight world points. He took care of business aboard Buttons for 85.5 points in Round 1 and then concluded his first event back with 89 points on Tested Crazy.

Swearingen, who went 0-for-1 in Great Falls on Saturday, is now ranked No. 93 in the world standings.

Dakota Louis picked up an important seven points with a third-place finish as he tries to work his way up the world rankings and the alternate list for the Unleash The Beast. Louis picked up qualified rides on Ol’ Boy (84 points) and Leona’s Pet (87 points).

Nordahl (1-for-2, 87.5 points) and Kelly (1-for-2, 87 points) rounded out the Top 5.

The Do Deadwood presents The Deadwood PBR is the next event on the PBR’s TPD calendar (June 11).

Professional Bull Riders – Kalispell Automotive Group PBR
Kalispell, MT, 2021 – Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Event Aggregate-Event Points)

1. Derek Kolbaba, 87-89.5-176.50-15 Points.
2. Daylon Swearingen, 85.5-89-174.50-8 Points.
3. Dakota Louis, 84-87-171.00-7 Points.
4. Beau Nordahl, 87.5-0-87.50-4 Points.
5. Hunter Kelly, 87-0-87.00-3 Points.
6. Stetson Lawrence, 86.5-0-86.50-2 Points.
7. Dalton Rudman, 86-0-86.00-1 Points.
8. Kyle Jones, 85.5-0-85.50
(tie). Matt Triplett, 85.5-0-85.50
10. Andrew Alvidrez, 84.5-0-84.50
(tie). Lonnie West, 84.5-0-84.50
12. Eli Vastbinder, 82-0-82.00
Austin Richardson, 0-0-0.00
Conner Halverson, 0-0-0.00
Thor Hoefer II, 0-0-0.00
Keith Hall, 0-0-0.00
Jake Davis, 0-0-0.00
Jake Morinec, 0-0-0.00
Jake Lockwood, 0-0-0.00
Laramie Craigen, 0-0-0.00
Casey Coulter, 0-0-0.00
D.J. Parker, 0-0-0.00
Brock Radford, 0-0-0.00
Cody Campbell, 0-0-0.00
River Stephenson, 0-0-0.00
Gage Gay, 0-0-0.00
Coy Robbins, 0-0-0.00
Preston Louis, 0-0-0.00
Cody Tesch, 0-0-0.00
Gerald Eash, 0-0-0.00
Weston Hartman, 0-0-0.00
Ryan Prophet, 0-0-0.00
Cole Wagner, 0-0-0.00
Tristan O’Neal, 0-0-0.00
Dugan Black, 0-0-0.00
Buddy Asher, 0-0-0.00
Levi Schmucker, 0-0-0.00
Chase Wimer, 0-0-0.00
Ty Timmons, 0-0-0.00
Lavon Wikey, 0-0-0.00
Cody Hazelton, 0-0-0.00
Wyatt Austin, 0-0-0.00
Tim Anderson, 0-0-0.00
Cody Brewer, 0-0-0.00
Jesse Borland, 0-0-0.00
Brett Fitzpatrick, 0-0-0.00
Jacob Ramirez, 0-0-0.00
Bryce West, 0-0-0.00
Zach Valderas, 0-0-0.00

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media

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