Team USA have made three changes to the team that took out the inaugural PBR Global Cup in November. The defending champions will head to Australia with a healthy roster featuring World Champions Cooper Davis and Jess Lockwood. On paper, the American team looks much stronger than the group that finished with a 12-for-18 record in Edmonton after injuries sustained at the PBR World Finals forced late changes to their roster in the week leading into the competition.
After leading Team USA to victory at the PBR Global Cup in Canada, two-time World Champion Justin McBride (Elk City, OK) retains his position as coach of the ‘Screaming Eagles’. McBride is widely regarded as one of the most naturally talented bull riders in history. The 2009 Ring of Honour recipient recorded 32 event wins across his 10 year career, amassing more than $5 million in prize money. McBride retired in 2008 with a riding percentage of 56.28% and now serves one of the colour commentators of the PBR telecasts on CBS Sports Network.
Jess Lockwood (Volborg, MT) – World Ranking: 7th. Despite battling knee and hand injuries throughout the first half of the 2018 PBR Season, the reigning PBR World Champion has produced winning performances in Sioux Falls, SD and at ‘The American’ in Arlington, TX. The 20-year-old has also added ten Top 10 finishes while riding at 42% for the year to find himself sitting in 7th place on the PBR World Standings. Lockwood looks to be in good form heading into his debut PBR Global Cup event after finishing 3rd at the WCRA Rodeo in Las Vegas, NV and taking home 5th place in the PBR Canada event in Quebec City a fortnight ago.
Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, WA) – World Ranking: 20th. Kolbaba was a big part of Team USA’s success in Edmonton after going 2-for-2 across the weekend and finishing 6th in the individual standings. The 22-year-old missed much March and April this year with a torn right ACL/MCL injury which he sustained in Little Rock, AR following his 89-point ride on Bottom’s Up (K-C Bucking Bulls). Since his return, Kolbaba has bucked of his last 10 bulls and will head to Sydney looking to regain the form that saw him win a PBR-best five events on the 2017 Built Ford Tough Series and finish runner-up in the PBR World Standings.
Cooper Davis (Jasper, TX) – World Ranking: 9th. Following his third-place finish in Edmonton with a 2-for-3 riding record, the 2016 PBR World Champion heads into the PBR Global Cup Sydney in good form having ridden 5 of his last 8 bulls on the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast tour. Davis had an outstanding weekend in Las Vegas, NV to close out the first half of the PBR season with a 2nd place finish at the Last Cowboy Standing event and a 4th place finish at the WRCA Rodeo. Despite battling a finger injury which he sustained in Chicago in January, the 24-year-old is riding at 40% for the 2018 season and finds himself in the Top 10 of the PBR World Standings.
Cody Nance (Paris, TN) – World Ranking: 4th. Nance is in the midst of his best PBR season since 2013 and finds himself firmly entrenched in the Top 10 of the 2018 PBR World Standings. Riding at an incredible 51% for the year, the 12-year veteran took out the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Tacoma, WA and also has produced event wins in Anaheim, CA an Albuquerque, NM. Nance covered his bull in Round 3 of the inaugural PBR Global Cup in Edmonton to finish 1-for-2 but looks in much better form heading into the Global Cup in Sydney after riding 5 of his last 7 bulls and recording a Top 5 finish in Columbus, OH to finish off the first half of the PBR season.
Brennon Eldred (Sulphur, OK) – World Ranking: 15th. After missing the opening event of the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast tour in New York City, NY due to a groin injury, Eldred kicked off 2018 with Top 5 finishes in Chicago, IL and Sacramento, CA. Notably, the promising 23-year-old does not have an event win to his name so far in 2018 but has produced six Top 10 finishes to find himself safely inside the Top 35 on the PBR World Standings. Eldred will be hoping to improve on his 1-for-3 Global Cup record and regain some confidence after finishing off the first half of the PBR season going 1-for-12 through his last 4 events.
Stetson Lawrence (Williston, ND) – World Ranking: 17th. The 29-year-old finds himself inside the Top 20 on the PBR World Standings following a strong start to the 2018 season. Lawrence recorded a third-place finish in Oklahoma City, OK where he covered Cochise (Gene Owen/Jane Clark) for 92.25 points in the Championship Round and backed that up with a fourth-place finish in Anaheim where he produced a 90-point ride on Wild Goose (D&H Cattle Co.). Heading into the summer break, Lawrence had only ridden 4 of his last 27 bulls on the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast tour but looks to have found some form heading into his debut Global Cup event after recording back-to-back Top 5 finishes in Canada.
Matt Triplett (Columbia Falls, MT) – World Ranking: 63rd. Triplett has been recalled to the American Team after missing this inaugural PBR Global Cup with a left shoulder injury. After returning to the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast tour in Columbus, OH the Montana native has already recorded three Top 10 finishes and moved to 63rd in the PBR World Standings. The 26-year-old is the only member of Team USA with experience riding in Australia, going 7-for-11 in 2015 and 6-for-8 in 2017 which included winning performances in Tamworth, NSW and Newcastle, NSW. Triplett arrived in Australia this weekend and will be competing at the Cairns Invitational on the PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour this Saturday night.
Coming up next: Team Australia