PUEBLO, Colo. – Two-time World Champion Justin McBride took extreme pride when he donned the Team USA coach’s jersey at the inaugural PBR Global Cup last November in Edmonton, Alberta.
The opportunity to prove to the world that there is no greater bull riding nation than the United States of America was front and center on his mind.
McBride did just that when he coached Team USA to an inaugural Global Cup victory inside Rogers Place in dramatic come-from-behind fashion.
“Winning it is seeing how great these guys can be as a group and representing your country,” McBride said on Wednesday evening. “That is what I do it for. To show that the United States is the best country in the world in the sport of bull riding.”
The PBR announced Wednesday that McBride would be returning as coach of Team USA when the next edition of the Global Cup takes place in Sydney, Australia, at Qudos Bank Arena on June 9-10. Team Australia, Team Brazil, Team Canada and Team Mexico will be announcing their coaches later this week.
“It is a big honor because it is something I really enjoyed the first time,” McBride said. “I knew I would enjoy it, but this format is something I really enjoy, and I like the idea of putting a group of guys together. You get more out of them when they are riding for more than themselves.
“They are not only riding for their country, but for the guys on their team. You see guys reach down and give it everything they got. No matter if they are a little tired or sore, whatever the case, they give it everything.”
If the PBR awarded a Coach of the Global Cup award, it would be hard-pressed to not hand the hardware to McBride.
The 38-year-old certainly had his work cut out for him in Edmonton.
McBride was a calming presence for the young American squad that had to replace 2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood, Chase Outlaw and Matt Triplett days before the competition began after the three riders were injured at the PBR World Finals.
The then-rookie head coach worked the phones hard with team captain and 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis to get Brennon Eldred, Cody Nance and Cole Melancon on-board to make the last-minute trip to Edmonton.
Team USA won the Global Cup by going 12-for-18 and earning 1,026.75 points via ride scores.
It was an impressive performance considering the country was without two of its best bull riders – Lockwood (the 2017 World Champion) and two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney.
The red, white and blue also went 2-for-4 in the Bonus Rounds. Team coaches selected which riders attempted which bulls they drafted during the bonus rounds.
The Americans will likely be the favorite heading into Sydney with a young crop of talented bull riders jockeying for the right to represent Team USA in Sydney.
The first three riders for each country will be announced Saturday night during the WinStar World Casino & Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki.
The PBR will also announce how each seven-rider team (Australia will have 14 riders) will be selected at this time as well.
McBride said Team USA is not going to be strictly about gold buckles or riders with a certain amount of event or round wins.
He wants to replicate what he had in Edmonton. Primarily, a group that has the heart and passion of the screaming bald eagle on their jerseys.
“I am more concerned with having guys that want to be there,” McBride said. “Like Cody Teel was. Like Cole (Melancon) was. Like the entire team that ended up going. That is the kind of team I want. Gold buckles are great. Yes, you want the best riders you can get, but I want the best riders I can get that want to go compete.
“I will take whoever I feel like we can win with at that time.”
They may have been viewed by some as underdogs at the start of the 2017 Global Cup, but now there will be targets on their backs come Sydney.
The Americans will have one of the strongest squads in Australia, and McBride expects the rest of the world to come after his team’s soil with all they got.
McBride also want his team to approach Sydney with the attitude that they are indeed the best bull riders in the world.
“There always will, and rightfully so, be a target on the United States’ back,” McBride said. “Whichever group of guys that is representing the United States at any time should feel that way. This is where it originates. This is where you come to be the World Champion bull rider. All the other countries, as great as they all are, they should be a step behind the U.S. This is where the best bulls are. These guys have more opportunities than anywhere else in the world. They should have that burden placed on them.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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