NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With the inaugural PBR Global Cup less than three months way, Team USA is turning to the winningest rider in PBR history to lead the red, white and blue north of the border.
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride, who holds the PBR record for Built Ford Tough Series event wins (32), was named one of the five international coaches for the PBR Global Cup (Nov. 9-11) Saturday night prior to the conclusion of the Built Ford Tough Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires.
The 38-year-old is thrilled about having the opportunity to lead Team USA into Edmonton, Alberta, for the three-day bull riding competition at the state-of-the-art Rogers Place.
“First off, it is a real privilege to get to do that,” McBride said. “I got to compete for my country before and I took a lot of pride in that. It is awesome. I can’t wait.
“I can remember how bad I wanted to win and show that the United States of America is the dominant, bull riding country.”
McBride competed at the 2008 PBR World Cup event in Chihuahua, Mexico, as Team USA defeated Team Canada, Team Brazil and Team Australia at the Manuel Bernardo Aguirre Gymnasium.
The current CBS Sports Network commentator bounced back from a Round 1 buckoff against Cactus to go on to ride his final three bulls as Team USA earned its first victory at the international level.
McBride still credits J.W. Hart, who was serving as the Team Captain/coach, as instrumental in not only his success as an individual at the international tournament, but the entire team.
“J.W. really brought back the dominance to the United States,” McBride said. “The very first year in Australia, the U.S. didn’t win it. We then went to Mexico with J.W. and we won there. He was one of the guys that helped mentor me along the way in my career. J.W. then took a young team to Brazil (in 2009) and went into the lion’s den and won it.
“There dang sure will be some pressure from (J.W.) saying, ‘Don’t screw this up.”
Five of Team USA’s seven-rider roster will be officially announced on Monday, as well as five riders from each of the other four countries, but it is no surprise that Team USA will feature three of the country's youngest bull riding superstars.
2016 World Champion Cooper Davis (22), current world No. 3 Jess Lockwood (19) and world No. 4 Derek Kolbaba (21).
“I couldn’t ask for a better, group of young bull riders to get to be involved with,” McBride said. “I am telling you. I am really fired up with these guys. I am really excited to get to be a part of their team.”
Kolbaba said, “He is a good guy to talk about things and he knows what is going on. It will be cool to have him on the back of the bucking chutes at the Global Cup. I have tried to pick up things from him here and there.”
Lockwood has received coaching from McBride since first turning pro last season and expects him to run a tight ship at the Global Cup.
“He is a hard coach,” Lockwood said. “He will tell you straight up. He won’t be easy on anyone and he shouldn’t be. That is how he is with me and that is how I expect him to be with everyone else.”
The first five riders for each country will be based on the PBR world standings as of the conclusion of competition on Aug. 19.
Therefore, also qualifying for Team USA will be No. 5 Chase Outlaw and No. 8 Matt Triplett.
Triplett is a replacement for two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney, who is unable to compete in Edmonton because of season-ending shoulder surgery.
The sixth rider for Team USA – the country’s national qualifier – will be decided by the PBR world standings at a yet-to-be-determined date. McBride will then round out his roster with one coach’s pick.
The prestigious Global Cup Trophy will be awarded to the team with the highest aggregate score over the course of the event based off each team's best 14 qualified rides.
The Global Cup Trophy emphasizes native soil as the object of national pride. The trophy consists of five individual horns featuring each country’s national colors and serves as a vessel for each nation’s dirt. In order to complete the trophy and proclaim world dominance, one team must win and possess each respective country’s horn.
The Global Cup offers host countries “home-field advantage,” and Team Canada will compete with 14 riders on their team versus the seven riders competing for the visiting teams. (Note: Team Canada’s score each night will be based off their Top 7 performing riders).
The first-place team will split $400,000 (CAN), while the last place team will share $42,000. Each rider will also have an opportunity to win an additional $100,000 from their individual performances each day.
Part of McBride’s role as team coach will involve selecting what bulls his riders get on, as well as weaving this young group through their first international team competition.
“I will do my due diligence on the bulls, but the great thing Team USA has going for them is they aren’t one-trick ponies,” McBride said. “They all ride bulls either direction, and that is a big deal to me. We have guys that can handle up or and down and both direction. That is a big deal.”
McBride laughed when asked if he would be a rider-friendly coach or a drill sergeant.
“I am not that old,” McBride said jokingly. “But I guess I am a lot older than those guys on that team because it is a young group of guys.”
All kidding aside, McBride thinks Team USA will be a force when they cross the Canadian border in less than three months.
“It is a young group of guys and a young group of talent,” McBride concluded. “I just want to help them get every bit of talent out of them. I hope I can do that. I like all of them. I respect all of them. I think as good as they are, they still can be better.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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