EDMONTON – The bald eagle on the Team USA jersey was screaming loudly on Friday night at Rogers Place thanks to Stormy Wing.
Wing’s 88.25-point ride on Red Bandana in the Bonus Round during the first night of the inaugural PBR Global Cup, presented by Encor by EPCOR, has Team USA right on the heels of event leader Team Canada.
“It was an honor to get the call,” Wing said. “This is not me riding for myself, but the USA. It is a blast. This is for us. We are representing our home country.”
Team USA went 5-for-9 for 425.25 points and trails Canada (6-for-16, 501.5 points) by 76.25 points heading into Championship Saturday.
Team Canada had seven more outs than the Americans because they are the host team for the international team bull riding event.
Wing got the blood flowing for Team USA by riding Finning Rat Trap for 82.5 points in Round 1, which kick-started two more consecutive rides from Brennon Eldred (83.75 points on Fining Lil Shorty) and Cole Melancon (84.25 points on Hand Burner).
Derek Kolbaba then ended the long round for Team USA with a beautiful 86.5-point ride on Stars & Stripes to tie with Lachlan Richardson (86.5 points on Darkness).
“I love all them guys and learn from all of them,” Wing said. “I am one of the older guys on the team and those young guys push me every day. We are going to keep having fun and keep it rolling.”
Kolbaba said he was fired up even more to make 8 seconds for his country after seeing his fellow Americans come through on the scoreboard.
“This is a cool event with us being more of a team than just yourself,” Kolbaba said. “It is good to see your buddies ride and it is good to carry that on. I am excited for more. Everyone is just whooping and hollering. The atmosphere is just awesome.”
Wing’s matchup with Red Bandana was a no-brainer for Team USA coach Justin McBride, who let his team make their picks for the Bonus Round as a cohesive group.
McBride told the team which bulls they had for the Bonus Round and Wing chimed in immediately, ‘Hell, I rode him the other day so I will go ride him again.’
Wing rode Red Bandana for 90.5 points to win Round 5 of the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals five days ago.
“That is stuff they decide,” McBride said. “If anything, I will advise them here and there a little, but they know these better-end bulls. I called out the bulls and the guys told me which guys wanted to get on.”
Wing’s teammates agreed, and he rewarded them with an important ride to push them into second-place.
“That is the thing,” McBride added. “When all of the guys see somebody step up and want that bull, they will back off. The good thing about this group of guys, they will get on any of them willingly. If they run one in the chute, they will get on one.”
Eldred bucked off Moleek in 5.07 seconds during the Bonus Round.
Wing’s ride on Red Bandana was clutch for Team USA as the Americans began the Bonus Round sitting in second-to-last place.
Team USA is now right back on the cusp of winning the Global Cup on Saturday night thanks to Wing.
Fans can watch the finale of the Global Cup Saturday beginning at 10 p.m. ET on TSN3 and PBR.com.
“Here is the thing, he did good on that bull before,” McBride said. “He was to the left and into his hand, and we know how good Stormy is into his hand. Tonight that little sucker was to the right and away from his hand. He just rode him perfect.
“That was big. We needed that. That was a big-time ride.”
Wing’s ride was the top-scored ride of the evening and has him second to Richardson in the race for the individual event title, which pays out $50,000 to the winner.
“Just one at a time,” Wing said. “Whenever you are where I am at in this sport, they can do backflips and if I am still in the right spot I can ride them.”
TEAM USA SATURDAY MATCHUPS
Cody Teel vs. Springer Mountain
Stormy Wing vs. Ulterras Night Vision
Cooper Davis vs. Set Em Up Joe
Cole Melancon vs. Bourbon Oak
Cody Nance vs. Mental Revenge
Brennon Eldred vs. Double Down
Derek Kolbaba vs. Stars & Stripes
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