GLENDALE, Ariz. – Down to their last out in their final 2022 regular season game, the Oklahoma Freedom again snatched victory from the jaws of defeat courtesy of a walk-off, game-winning ride from Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington).
Arriving in Arizona as the No. 1 team in the league, Oklahoma had a rough go the first two days of competition, dropping two games and slipping to No. 3 in the standings as Sunday began. With critical championship implications on the line, Kolbaba’s clutch ride allowed the Freedom to overcome Kansas City 89-79.5 and salvage one win in the three-game set.
The win put the Freedom (16-12) at No. 3 in the 2022 regular-season standings as inaugural PBR Teams season came to a close.
On Sunday, after a scoreless first frame for both teams, Marcus Mast (Middlebury, Indiana) was paired with Drago (Jeb Fredericks/ Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) to put the first points on the board for Kansas City. As Mast began to celebrate, Oklahoma hit the challenge button alleging a touch. After review by officials, the ride was ruled qualified and Kansas City was in the lead though with a low 79.5-point score.
Attempting to answer the call for the Oklahoma Freedom was 18-year-old Tate Pollmeier (Ft. Scott, Texas) aboard Blunt Force Trauma (Hadley Cattle Co). Given a re-ride because his bovine opponent wasn’t ready in the chutes, he prepared for another attempt with Mr. Winston (Dakota Rodeo/ Mark Baker/ Clay Struve/ Chad Berger).
The struggle continued in the third and fourth frames as both teams were unable to turn in a score. With high hopes, young gun Pollmeier climbed aboard his re-ride bull to no avail as well.
Kansas City closer Bob Mitchell (Steelville, Missouri) stepped up in hopes of securing a second score for the team and sailing to a win. However, Renegade (H-H Bucking Bulls/ Hadley Cattle Co) thrashed 2022 PBR Rookie of the Year to the ground in just 3.54 seconds.
In a must-ride situation, down 79.5-0, Oklahoma’s closer Kolbaba rocketed out of the chutes clinging to fast-spinning Red River (Ty Rinaldo TZ Bucking Bulls). Having rode five out of his last 10 bulls, Kolbaba made the 8 and was flung underneath the powerful animal athlete who stepped on him right after the buzzer sounded. After Kolbaba crawled off the dirt, officials reviewed the ride to ensure timing. With 89 points, Kolbaba clinched a narrow win for Oklahoma – his fourth walk-off ride of the season
Salvaging a win, the Freedom concluded Ridge Rider Days with a 1-2 record and improved to finish the season 16-12, heading into the inaugural PBR Team Series Championship in Las Vegas (Nov. 4-6). The Kansas City Outlaws went 0-3 at the Team Series event in Glendale and 12-16 in 2022 competition.
PBR TEAM SERIES SEASON STANDINGS:
Here are the final Team standings for the 2022 regular season that concluded after the final day of competition at Ridge Rider Days in Glendale, Ariz.:
- Austin Gamblers, 16-12-0
- Texas Rattlers, 16-12-0
- Oklahoma Freedom, 16-12-0
- Carolina Cowboys, 15-13-0
- Arizona Ridge Riders, 14-13-1
- Missouri Thunder, 13-15-0
- Kansas City Outlaws, 12-16-0
- Nashville Stampede, 7-20-1