No. 8 Nashville Stampede Upset No. 3 Oklahoma Freedom to Advance to Round 2 of the Inaugural PBR Team Series Championship

By: Kacie Albert

Nashville Stampede: 264.75 / Oklahoma Freedom: 176

LAS VEGAS – In the opening game of the inaugural PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Team Series Championship, the No. 8 Nashville Stampede upset the No. 3 Oklahoma Freedom by one ride score, 264.75-176, to advance to the second round of the new league’s first-ever championship event.

The game intensity was high from the moment the first chute gate burst open inside T-Mobile Arena. Riding in the leadoff position for the Stampede, Ryan Dirteater (Hulbert, Oklahoma) was quick to strike. Paired with Bubba G (Dakota Rodeo/Brian & Ashley Pintar/Clay Struve/Chad Berger), Dirteater remained in perfect time with the powerful animal athlete, reaching the requisite 8 for a crucial 88.5 points. The Oklahoma Freedom, however, answered in the very next out. Chase Outlaw (Hamburg, Arkansas) teamed with Bobkat (Bob Whisnant/Shaw Cattle Co./Hilton Bull Co.) for a matching 88.5 points to even the score.

In the top of the second, the Nashville Stampede reclaimed their lead. Team newcomer Cladson Rodolfo (Pilar do Sul, Brazil) and Smooth Over It (Lazy S4 Cattle/Shuler/Samford) proved a match made in heaven as they danced in perfect harmony to the whistle for an 88.25-point score, putting the Stampede ahead 176.75-88.25. In the bottom of the frame, Briggs Madsen (Tremonton, Utah) could not continue the momentum for the Freedom, brought down by Night Hawk (Logan Clancey/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) in a quick 3.41 seconds.

After a scoreless third, three-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves (Pilar do Sul, Brazil) logged Nashville’s second consecutive buckoff when he was upended by Preachers Kid (K-C Bucking Bulls/RD Cattle) in 3.92 seconds. With the door open to even the score, Freedom first-round draft pick Eli Vastbinder (Statesville, North Carolina) climbed aboard Big Heart (Leffew Bucking Bulls) and delivered a qualified ride, marked 87.5 points, to put Oklahoma within a mere 0.75 points of the lead.

In the final frame of the game, with the score favoring the Stampede, 176.75-176, it came down to 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) for the Stampede and eight-time PBR World Finals qualifier Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington) for the Freedom. Out first, Pacheco added to his team’s lead when he conquered Born To Sin (Logan Clancey/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) for 88 points. While Freedom coaching staff Cord McCoy and Kody Lostroh challenged the call, believing Pacheco slapped the bull, the qualified ride stood. Courtesy of the score, the Stampede pulled ahead by 88.75 points, 264.75-176.

No stranger to delivering his team final-frame victories, Kolbaba readied for his crucial trip tied for the most walk-off rides with four. Paired with Problem Child (TCB Ranch/K-C Bucking Bulls), Kolbaba initially appeared to have made the whistle for a big ride score to win the game. However, Nashville Stampede Head Coach Justin McBride quickly challenged the call. Kolbaba was deemed to have made contact with the bull at a heartbreaking 7.83 seconds, resulting in no score and delivering the upset win to the Nashville Stampede.

Via the victory, the Nashville Stampede punched their ticket to Round 2 of the 2022 PBR Team Series Championship and will play the No. 1 Austin Gamblers on Saturday, November 5. The Oklahoma Freedom then readied to ride in the Last Chance Game in hopes of keeping their championship hopes alive.

When competition continues on Saturday, November 8, the following teams will face off:

No. 1 Austin Gamblers vs. No. 8 Nashville Stampede

No. 2 Texas Rattlers vs. No. 5 Arizona Ridge Riders

No. 3 Oklahoma Freedom vs. No. 4 Carolina Cowboys

Last Chance Game (Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser vs. Game 3 Loser)

The 2022 PBR Team Series Championship continues Saturday, November 5 at 7:45 p.m. PT.

PBR RidePass on Pluto TV will offer replays of all the PBR Team Series action from Las Vegas. Check for the latest programming schedule.

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