BISMARCK, N.D. – Cole Melancon was lying on the dirt of the Bismarck Event Center, rolling around in pain as his Kansas City Outlaws teammates came to his aid.
Melancon had just ridden Safety Meeting for 88.5 points to put the Outlaws ahead of the Oklahoma Freedom before the 1,400-pound bovine whipped around his back legs and stepped on Melancon’s right groin – the same groin he tore completely off his labrum earlier this year, ending his Unleash The Beast season only one month into the year.
“It was getting kind of sketchy, and I was like, ‘I’m about to get the deep, dog shit stomped out of me,’” Melancon said. “But J.W. (Hart) always says, ‘Don’t give up.’”
The 28-year-old got assisted off the dirt and into a folding chair, where he watched Kyle McDaniel buck off Stretch (5.34 seconds) to cement the Outlaws’ second victory of the weekend.
Marcus Mast rode his re-ride Dennis The Menace for 85.25 points as the Outlaws officially defeated the Freedom (1-1) 173.75-87.75. But it was Melancon’s ride that was the winning ride and the turning point for Kansas City.
“It means a lot, not just for the team’s sake – I mean, heck, it helped us get the win today, and I was glad that I was able to be a part of that today – but it means a lot just for myself because everyone knows I’ve been out and I’ve been hurt,” Melancon said. “Before I was hurt last year, it was a lot of ups and downs. More downs than ups. I’m happy to come back, and everything’s healed up 100%, Dr. Tandy (Freeman) said, but we’re just dealing with some scar tissue and stuff, and it’s giving me some fits. It didn’t help that he stomped the shit out of me today right in the same spot.”
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Kansas City team captain Dalton Kasel then notched the overall event victory for the Outlaws when he rode Oilfield Outlaw’s Yellow Feather for 90.75 points in the Bonus Round. The Bonus Round serves as the tiebreaker at PBR Team Series events. It came into play on Saturday night with the Outlaws and Carolina Cowboys both going 2-0 this weekend in game competition. Carolina Cowboy Daylon Swearingen was bucked off by Drago in 3.83 seconds.
Kasel was the MVP of the weekend with his 2-for-2 performance, but the Outlaws’ victory would not have been possible without Melancon’s winning ride.
“Cole’s ride is what sparked everything,” Kasel said. “It got everybody fired up, and that bull, he’s an awesome bull, and that was no day off. For Cole, just having a few bulls back, that was amazing. Cole is the definition of toughness and cowboy, and I think that’s what our whole team is, is a bunch of cowboys. We’re out there to be tough.”
Kansas City fans will be able to experience their tough cowboys in person on Aug. 5-7 at Outlaw Days.
Kansas City head coach J.W. Hart never wants to see a rider hurt, but Melancon’s effort and toughness at that moment – putting his body on the line to help his team win – is the kind of character he wants to see from all his riders.
“Death before dishonor,” Hart said. “They don’t care if it’s in a practice pen or a preseason game. It comes to fruition in the real world, so we don’t give up no matter what we’re doing, and Cole is a testament to that.”
Melancon is no stranger to team competition. He played a big role in Team USA’s victory at the 2017 PBR Global Cup in Edmonton, Alberta, where Hart served as an assistant coach.
“We’ve always known Cole was a key player,” Hart said. “He’s always answered the bell, answered the call when the team concept comes to town.”
Melancon added, “I love this team deal, man. It goes back to making me think of the Global Cup. I like the atmosphere the team thing brings. It makes it fun, and it makes it where I’m not just doing it for myself. I’m doing it for those guys, and now I’m doing it for the Kansas City Outlaws, and then my other five, six, seven other teammates.
“But those guys are looking up to me to do my job, and I’m looking up to them to do their job. It’s just an honor to be able to be part of a team and to be able to get one rode. And, hey, I’ve been on that black muley a bunch of times, and he’s bucked me off every single time. I knew tonight he wasn’t going to buck me off, though.”
The Outlaws head to North Carolina next weekend for the PBR Tryon Chute Out: PBR Team Series Preseason Event.
Kansas City will face off against the Texas Rattlers on Friday (8 p.m. ET on RidePass on Pluto TV) and then take on the Missouri Thunder on Saturday (7 p.m. ET on RidePass on Pluto TV).
Article Courtesy of PBR
Photo By: Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media