Derek Kolbaba Breaks Through With Round 1 Win at the 2023 PBR World Finals

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Dener Barbosa and Boudreaux Campbell gain ground in fierce world title race as lone two Top 10 ranked riders to deliver a score in the event’s opening round

FORT WORTH, Texas – As the 2023 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) World Finals: Unleash The Beast got underway, Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington) rode supreme, winning Round 1, while Top 10-ranked Dener Barbosa (Paulo de Faria, Brazil) and Boudreaux Campbell (Crockett, Texas) both converted to further intensify the heated gold buckle battle.

First round of the World Finals Unleash The Beast PBR. Photo by Bull Stock Media.

Kolbaba surged to an early lead in the race for the World Finals event win compliments of an unrivaled 89.75-point ride atop Top Shelf (P. RO Ranch/OK Corralis/Gordon/D&H Cattle). 

“Bull riding is full of ups and downs,” Kolbaba said dirtside. “It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.  This is great. I can’t wait to go celebrate with my wife and daughter then forget about it and come back tomorrow.”

In addition to a check for $35,000, Kolbaba earned a much needed 88 Unleash The Beast points. He surged 10 positions in the standings from No. 35 to No. 25 and is now within 730 points of the No. 1 rank as he chases his first World Championship.

Atop the standings, Barbosa and Campbell were the lone two riders ranked inside the Top 10 to make the requisite 8 in the opening round of the PBR’s 30thanniversary World Finals.

Fresh off his event win at the Unleash The Beast regular season finale in Louisville, Kentucky, Barbosa delivered the fifth-best score when he outlastedFroggy (KB Bulls/Gene Baker/Hookin’ W Ranch) for 85.75 points. 

The reserved Brazilian garnered 36 points, overtaking Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) for the No. 4 rank, now within 318.17 points of the top spot.

Davis failed to make the whistle when he was tossed by Blown Away (Nothin’ But Try Ranch/Diggers/Kinser/McCall) in a close 5.34 seconds. 

For Campbell, he tied for eighth in the round, collecting 22 points via his 84.75-point ride on Buster Brown (Cord McCoy/CCL Bucking Bulls/McCoy Rodeo). He rose one position in the standings, from No. 7 to No. 6, and is now just 357.34 points removed from the world No. 1 rank.

With No. 1 Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) sidelined from contending for his second World Championship due to injury, the door was open for No. 2 Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) to overtake him as the 2023 World Finals got underway.

Two-time PBR World Champion Leme, however, was unable to capitalize Friday night, upended by Blood Moon (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Mark Baker/M Rafter E) in an uncharacteristic 3.42 seconds. Leme remains 74 points behind No. 1 Pacheco.

No. 3 Dalton Kasel (Muleshoe, Texas) was also unable to convert in Round 1. He remains 231.34 points behind the top spot after he was bucked off byRicky Vaughn (D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.) in 2.29 seconds. 

Returning to the event leaderboard, Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil) was second in Round 1. 

The veteran Vieira’s 88.5-point ride aboard Hunting Trip (Dozier Cattle Co./Martinez Bucking Bulls) earned him 48 Unleash The Beast points. He climbed from No. 13 to No. 11 in the standings.

Third was Chase Dougherty (Decatur, Texas) who rode Drago (Jeb Fredericks/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) for 88.25 points.

Leaving Dickies Arena having earned 44 Unleash The Beast points, the Texan gained five positions in the rankings, elevating from No. 24 to No. 19.

Rounding out the Top 5 in Round 1, and finishing fourth was Ramon de Lima (Rio Branco, Brazil).

Lima’s 87-point effort atop Renegade (IB Rockin Cattle/Hilton Bull Co.) netted him 40 Unleash The Beast points, propelling him from No. 18 to No. 17 in the title battle.

The 2023 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast continues with Round 2 on Saturday, May 13 at 7:45 p.m. CDT.

PBR RidePass on Pluto TV will offer re-airs and on-demand replays of every PBR Unleash The Beast event. PBR RidePass is available on desktops, laptops and mobile devices via www.pluto.tvClick here for on-demand PBR programming. 

Stay tuned to for the latest news and results and be sure to follow the league on all social media platforms at @PBR.

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