Derek Kolbaba got started on the right foot but suffered four consecutive missteps going forward during the Professional Bull Riders World Finals, which concluded Sunday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The 21-year-old Wallowa County native rode a bull called RJ to a score of 87.75 during the first round of the Built Ford Tough-sponsored event to finish third and earn a check for $12,500.
But that ride turned out to be his only qualified bull of the weekend, and he failed to make it into Sunday night’s championship round.
Kolbaba, of Walla Walla, Wash., entered the finals ranked No. 1. He finished the year at No. 2 with 4,415 points and earnings of $359,672.32.
Brazilian Jose Vitor Leme won Sunday’s finals with a score of 94.5 points on Magic Train. Leme, also 21, was a perfect 6-for-6 at the five-day event and also won the fourth round with a score of 90.5 on a bull named Big Ditch.
Jess Lockwood claimed the PBR’s overall championship by winning the first three rounds of the season-ending competition.
At 20, Lockwood is the youngest world champion in PBR history and is only the second rider to win the title the year after being named the PRB Rookie of the Year.
Kolbaba is great-grandson of Chief Joseph Days Rodeo founder and National Cowboy Hall of Famer Harley Tucker.