Oklahoma Freedom to play Kansas City Outlaws and Austin Gamblers in team’s first regular season event for the new PBR Team Series

CHEYENNE, Wy. – This week the inaugural season for Oklahoma’s first-ever professional bull riding team, the Oklahoma Freedom, will get underway in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on July 25-26. The two-day event, held in tandem with the iconic Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, will feature the team’s first two games, as well as a Bonus Round to assist in determining the event winner. The competition will begin at 7:45 p.m. MT on Monday, July 25, and Tuesday, July 26.

The Freedom are one of eight founding teams in the new PBR Team Series – playing five-on-five bull riding games to crown a team champion Nov. 4-6 in Las Vegas. During the regular season, all teams will compete in 10 events, playing in a combined 28 games. The Freedom will compete in Oklahoma City at Paycom Center on September 16-18.

Ahead of the competition this week, below is a breakdown of the event format, daily matchups, starting rosters and more.

FORMAT: During the two-day, regular season event in Cheyenne, each of the eight founding teams for the PBR Team Series will compete in a head-to-head, five-on-five bull riding game each day of competition. For the four games on Monday and on Tuesday, each team’s head coach will select five riders to match against the five bulls assigned to their team. The team with the highest aggregate score will be the game winner, and ties will be allowed. The same process will be repeated on the second night of competition, with each team facing a new opponent.

A bonus round will follow Tuesday’s second round of games, with each team selecting one rider to attempt one final bull. This rider can be an alternate (bench) rider who has yet to compete in the event. The Bonus Round is independent of the results of that weekend’s previous games and only applies to the overall event standings in the case of a tie. Teams receive bonus points based on their rider’s placement in the Bonus Round: 1st (8 points), 2nd (7 points), 3rd (6 points), 4th (5 points), 5th (4 points), 6th (3 points), 7th (2 points), 8th (1 point). Teams will be placed via ride score and then buckoff time. 

The overall event-winning team will be the team with the best overall win-loss record. In the event of a tie in the event standings, a team’s bonus points will be the first tiebreaker. If there is still a tie, the second tiebreaker will be the team’s total aggregate score from its two games. The next and final tiebreaker will be combined buckoff time from a team’s games.      

LET’S RECAP THE PRESEASON: Prior to the start of the regular season, two preseason events were held for the PBR Team Series. In the overall preseason standings, the Oklahoma Freedom finished fourth, going 2-2 in game play, amassing 606.75 aggregate and 10 Bonus Round points. As the preseason got underway in Bismarck, North Dakota, the Freedom won their first event game, besting the Austin Gamblers 260-172. The Freedom, however, were not able to continue the momentum beat 172.75-87.75 by the Kansas City Outlaws in their second game. In Tryon, North Carolina, for the second preseason event, the Freedom again went 1-1, routing the Carolina Cowboys 173-0 before being defeated by the Arizona Ridge Riders 255.5-86.

OPPONENT – JULY 25: During the opening day of games for the PBR Team Series event in Cheyenne, Wyoming on July 25, the Oklahoma Freedom will play the Kansas City Outlaws.

OPPONENT – JULY 26: Following their game against the Kansas City Outlaws on Monday, the Oklahoma Freedom will face off against the Austin Gamblers on Tuesday, July 26. Teams can change their roster between games. The rosters for the Oklahoma Freedom vs. Austin Gamblers will be made available prior to the start of the game.

NOTE: For a complete list of all the game matchups scheduled for the Cheyenne regular-season event, click here.


(Note: Each rider and bull’s name are hyperlinked to their PBR.com bio page with additional competition stats and history.)

Head Coach Cord McCoy: Six-time PBR World Finals qualifier turned stock contractor Cord McCoy will lead the Oklahoma Freedom as Head Coach. During McCoy’s career, he finished inside the world’s Top 50 six times, registering 10 event wins and 10 90-point rides across all levels of competition. Following his retirement, in addition to making three appearances on The Amazing Race, McCoy grew his stock contracting business into one of bull riding’s most elite outfits. In 2022, Ridin Solo became McCoy’s first-ever World Champion Bucking Bull, joined inside the world’s Top 10 by fellow pen mate Cliffhanger.

                Eli Vastbinder (Statesville, North Carolina) vs. Medicine Man (TNT Bucking Bulls)*

                Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington) vs. Cold Shot (Fredericks/Dakota Rodeo/Berger)*

                Caden Bunch (Tahlequah, Oklahoma) vs. Cast No Stones (D&H Cattle Company)

                Casey Roberts (Munford, Alabama) vs. Gangster Time (Classic Jack Cattle Co./Viducic Bucking Bulls)

                Trevor Kastner (Ardmore, Oklahoma) vs. Magic Carpet (D&H Cattle Co./Payson Parker)

* Denotes a rematch.    

Rematches to Watch: During the Oklahoma Freedom’s game against the Kansas City Outlaws, two riders will face rematches, each boasting a perfect record against their animal athlete counterpart.

  • Derek Kolbaba reached the whistle for 88 points after drawing Cold Shot during Round 1 of the 2021 Unleash The Beast event in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Eli Vastbinder has ridden Medicine Man in their two meetings on record. The duo first met during the 2020 Touring Pro Division event in Slick Rock, Texas, as Vastbinder was marked 87.5 points. Their rivalry was renewed during Round 5 of the 2021 PBR World Finals, when Vastbinder was marked a monstrous 92.75 points.


(Note: Each rider and bull’s name are hyperlinked to their PBR.com bio page with additional competition stats and history.)

Head Coach J.W. Hart: J.W. Hart joined the Kansas City Outlaws as Head Coach with his name already firmly etched in the PBR record books. The 1994 PBR Rookie of the Year won one of the most prestigious events in bull riding, the PBR World Finals, in 2002. He is also one of 41 riders in organizational history to eclipse $1 million in career earnings. Known as the PBR’s original “Iron Man,” Hart rode in a then-record 197 consecutive elite tour events until his streak came to an end in 2003. Hart is also comfortable in the coaching role, serving on the coach staff for Team USA during the 2019 and 2020 Global Cups. Additionally, during the four editions of the PBR World Cup, Hart captained Team USA from 2008-2010, leading the American riders to their second win at the event in 2009.

Marcus Mast (Middlebury, Indiana) vs. Safety Meeting (Hruby/Kainz/Struve/Dakota Rodeo/Berger)*

Bob Mitchell (Steelville, Missouri) vs. Lil Hott (Stinger/Brunner/Struve/Dakota Rodeo/Berger)

Tate Pollmeier (Fort Scott, Kansas) vs. Cherry Bomb (Flinn/D&H Cattle Co.)

Rafael Henrique does Santos (Sebastianopolis, Brazil) vs. Bread Basket (TNT Bucking Bulls)*

Dalton Kasel (Muleshoe, Texas) vs. Black & Blue (OK Corralis/Gordon/D&H Cattle Co.)

* Denotes a rematch.

PBR Insider Justin Felisko’s Rider to Watch: Is Rafael Henrique dos Santos healthy? That will be an early-season question for an Outlaws team already dealing with multiple injuries (Kyler Oliver and Cole Melancon). Santos, who went 0-for-6 at the World Finals, has been hindered by a torn left groin for nine-plus months, an injury preventing Santos from riding at his full potential consistently. There is no doubting Santos’s success riding bulls into his right riding hand; if healthy, he should be the Outlaws’ right-handed ace. Santos has a rematch against Bread Basket, who he previously rode for 91.25 points in Tulsa, Oklahoma. However, if Santos is not healthy, General Manager Jim Smith and coach J.W. Hart may need to scour other teams’ practice squads or the free agent pool for further depth. Kansas City signed Koltin Hevalow off the Arizona Ridge Riders’ practice squad late Wednesday night. For more from Felisko, click here.

Rematches to Watch: During the Kansas City Outlaws’ game against the Oklahoma Freedom, two riders will face rematches.

  • Marcus Mast will look to avenge a buckoff from 2020 dealt to him by Safety Meeting. First meeting during the season’s premier series event in Guthrie, Oklahoma, Safety Meeting bucked off Mast in a hard-fought 7.54 seconds.
  • Rafael Henrique dos Santos will look to keep his perfect record intact against Bread Basket. During the 2022 Unleash The Beast season, Santos rode Break Basket for 91.25 points during the championship round of the event in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

HOW TO WATCH: CBS Sports Network will televise all the action from the PBR Team Series season debut in Cheyenne, Wyoming, LIVE, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET on both Monday, July 25 and Tuesday, July 26. CBS Sports will also air a one-hour highlight show from the season-launch PBR Team Series event on Sunday, July 31 at 1:00 p.m. ET. PBR RidePass on PlutoTV will offer replays of all the PBR Team Series action from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Check https://pluto.tv/en/live-tv/pbr-ridepass for the latest programming schedule.

ENGAGE WITH THE FREEDOM: For more information about Oklahoma Freedom, visit https://pbr.com/teams/freedom/, Oklahoma Freedom on Facebook, @OK_Freedom_ on Instagram, or @OKfreedom_ on Twitter.

ASSETS & INTERVIEWS: Following each game, photo and video assets of the Oklahoma Freedom will be made available. Remote interviews with team leadership, including Head Coach Cord McCoy, and competing riders will also be made available upon request.