By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – Fifteen of the best bull riders in the world will be putting their bodies on the line for the benefit of others this coming weekend at the PBR Air Force Reserve Cowboys for a Cause charity invitational taking place on the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Derek Kolbaba agreed to compete at the five-team charity bull riding event this weekend, and he is more than willing to climb aboard a 1,500-pound animal one more time this year before enjoying the offseason if it is going to benefit men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
PBR Air Force Reserve Cowboys for a Cause is a new PBR charity initiative that will benefit multiple military charities. PBR partner Ford will donate $25,000 for every qualified ride during the competition and fellow partner Wrangler will donate $25,000 to Operation Homefront on behalf of the winning team.
Operation Homefront is a nationally recognized military nonprofit organization providing financial assistance, transitional and permanent housing, and various recurring support services to U.S. military families.
You can certainly be expecting Kolbaba to hang on that much harder to reach the 8-second mark aboard Sky Harbor (27-11, all levels) this weekend.
“That is awesome that we were able to come through and make an event for a great cause like that,” Kolbaba said. “They obviously put their lives on the line for our country, so for us to be able to do something as small as that and give back a small bit is a good thing.”
The first-of-its-kind event will be broadcast on CBS national television Sunday, at 3 p.m. ET or 5 p.m. ET (check local listings). Additionally, CBS Sports Network will air a special preshow for the exhibition event on Friday at 7 p.m. ET and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The PBR will announce total charitable donations from the event during the broadcast.
Kolbaba is the captain of Team Pendleton Whisky, which also includes Eduardo Aparecido and Parker Breding.
Team Pendleton Whisky features a stout lead duo of Aparecido and Kolbaba.
Aparecido went 3-for-5 at the 2020 World Finals and finished in third place, while Kolbaba went 2-for-5 for a seventh-place finish. They finished in 12th and 13th place in the final world standings, respectively.
Kolbaba won Round 1 of the Finals with 92.75 points on Boogie Bomb, and Aparecido finished right behind him with 91.25 points on YETI World Champion Bull contender Hocus Pocus.
Kolbaba is 1-for-2 against Sky Harbor, most recently winning the Des Moines, Iowa, 15/15 Bucking Battle with a 92-point ride.
PBR is in the process this week of constructing a bull riding arena on the 872-foot long launch deck on top of the famed USS Lexington aircraft carrier known as “The Blue Ghost,” bringing in 300 tons of dirt and steel and more than 15 miles of copper and fiber optic cables to support the event and television broadcast. Bucking bulls will be brought on board via the ship’s still-functioning aircraft elevator that brought planes up to the flight deck during battle. Aircraft aboard the ship will be used as set pieces off the dirt.
The 24-year-old would certainly love to go for another 90-point ride this weekend at an event that he will certainly never forget.
“Man, this is going to be pretty cool,” Kolbaba said. “I don’t think you are ever going to talk anyone that has been able to ride a bull on an aircraft carrier. I never had ever seen an aircraft carrier in person, let alone to be able to do something I love with it all going on. This will be pretty awesome.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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