There’s nothing like watching the hometown cowboy walk out of the arena with the championship buckle and a pile of cash.
For the second night in a row, Walla Walla’s Derek Kolbaba was at the top of the field Tuesday at the Pendleton PBR Classic at Happy Canyon Arena.
Kolbaba rode Papa’s Rockstar for 87.5 points in the final round, giving him 168.5 points on two rides and a round of deafening applause from the crowd.
“Every time I come to Pendleton, the crowd is outstanding,” Kolbaba said. “Words can’t describe how awesome it is.”
With a top finish Monday with 147.5 points, Kolbaba will take home the first and second-place money from the two-day event.
The payday should come out in the neighborhood of $10,000.
“I got lucky,” Kolbaba said. “Coming to this event, there was a lot of money up for grabs, and points. It always puts a little icing on the cake to get you down the road, not to mention the confidence it gives a guy, and to move up in the standings.”
With an entry fee of $180 per night, Kolbaba earned his money back, but it’s never a given.
“Anytime you have long rounds and short rounds, there’s a lot that happen,” he said. “In the short round, you have to seal the deal to give yourself a chance to win.”
Kolbaba had the sixth-best score of 81 points on a white bull named Shooter in the long round.
Dalton Rudman of Wellington, Utah, had the top mark of 86 points, while Trey Holston of Ft. Scott, Kansas, had an 84.5, and Brazilian cowboy Wallace Vieira de Oliveira scored an 83.
But without a second qualifying ride, there was no chance for a title for the rest of the cowboys.
Kolbaba, who competed in Missouri last weekend, is headed to Atlantic City, N.J., to compete Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m just a kid with a dream who grew up in the stands out there,” he said. I can’t be any more thankful.”