EDMONTON – The intensity and comedic relief that Stormy Wing brought to the Team USA locker room at this weekend’s PBR Global Cup, presented by Encor by EPCOR, was a key cog in the Americans march to victory.
One moment Wing could be screaming intensely, while 10 minutes later he would be walking into the locker room with a huge grin, a big ‘ole bag of popcorn and doing a Chase Outlaw impression.
However, Wing wasn’t just a firecracker and icebreaker for the seven bull riders that suited up for the red, white and blue.
Instead, Wing was the lead driver and performer inside the arena as Team USA rallied on the final day of the Global Cup to win the inaugural event in enemy territory inside Rogers Place.
Wing was the best rider in the two-day international bull riding tournament and went 3-for-4 to win the $50,000 individual aggregate championship.
“This is what we came to do,” Wing said. “I don’t think any of the team members of mine would not be expecting to win. I am blessed and there is proof there is a God out there. We came into somebody else’s country and got along good. We appreciate those guys having us, and we look forward to doing it again in June.”
The next Global Cup event is set for June 9-10, 2018, in Sydney Australia.
After beginning the event with two rides on Friday night, Wing joined in on Team USA‘s fierce start Saturday night with the second of five consecutive rides for coach Justin McBride’s squad, which overcame a 76.25-point deficit at the start of the final day of competition.
Wing had ridden Rat Trap for 82.5 points and Red Bandana for 88.25 points on Friday night, but his 87-point ride on Ulterra’s Night Vision showed the Americans meant strictly business in Edmonton Saturday.
The Dalhart, Texas, cowboy was swinging his free arm and moving his hips as he worked his way aggressively to the 8-second mark.
“I saw that sucker on video last night,” Wing said. “He was backing up around there and I felt like I had to keep moving and doing what I did. He was trying to throw me off, and I couldn’t let that little guy throw me off.”
2016 World Champion Cooper Davis clinched the victory for Team USA with 89.5 points on Catfish John, but Davis tipped his hat to Wing for leading the way.
Wing accounted for 40 percent of Team USA’s total score and brought a somewhat unexpected veteran leadership to the young American squad.
“Everybody on this team has been a star player, but Stormy really stepped up, and, just like all year long, he has been riding amazing,” Davis said. “I don’t know if he will be a guy next year to look out for a world title, but if he keeps riding like this he may be.”
Davis and McBride agreed having two passionate veterans in Wing and Cody Nance on the team was crucial for Team USA, which featured five riders 25 years old or younger.
“Those two guys have been around the locker room a lot longer than we have and they understand how big of a deal this is,” Davis said. “Having those guys in the locker room pump everyone up makes it fun.”
McBride added, “Between Stormy and Nance you are going to laugh a lot. Everybody has something unique about them that was great for this team. That is Stormy. The guy just wants to go eat the whole time. Cody Nance just wants to run through a brick wall the whole time. They all have unique personalities and they mesh really well together.”
All joking aside, McBride paid the ultimate compliment to Wing by deciding before the final Bonus Round that Wing would be his final rider of the competition.
McBride knew he would let Davis start things off with Catfish John and then trusted Wing to handle whichever bull the other teams left for Team USA.
“It doesn’t matter which bull,” McBride said on the back of the chutes. “He is riding awesome. He is going to go out there and win this for himself and for us.”
When told of McBride’s confidence in him, Wing shook his head in amazement.
“When I was in tighty whiteys watching him win World Championships, he was one of my heroes,” Wing said. “For him to come be the coach and build a friendship. All those guys. I love all of them and I will cherish this for a long time.”
Wing wound up bucking off South Texas Gangster in 5.27 seconds, but it wouldn’t matter as Team USA had already locked up the event victory.
“I don’t take ass whippings very kindly,” Wing said after the event. “I was going at him and they all get lucky now and then. I am looking for redemption on him now.”
Team Canada’s Lonnie West was bucked off by Red Bandana, sealing Wing the individual championship.
Wing walked out of Rogers Place with a career-high $85,544.47 in total winnings. The 28-year-old had previously won a career-high $65,500 six days earlier at the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas.
“I have a little girl and that money is going to get put to good use for her,” Wing said. “It is going to be spent wisely.”
This weekend was the icing on the cake of a career-year for Wing.
Wing went 23-for-77 (29.87 percent) with two 90-point rides and two event victories for a career-best ninth-place finish in the world standings.
“I had confidence coming into it,” Wing concluded. “It is a team sport this weekend, but I knew if I took care of mine, the rest of the guys would too. I love all of them and couldn’t ask for a better team. I am just glad I did my part.”
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