OKLAHOMA CITY – Chase Outlaw had dirt and sweat all over his face as the Oklahoma Freedom coaching staff and Outlaw’s teammates congratulated him following his career-best, 94.5-point ride on 2021 World Champion Bull Woopaa.
“God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt!” Outlaw exclaimed.
He looked over at assistant coach Kody Lostroh and said, “Thank you guys for giving me this opportunity. I have been wanting to get on that ol’ red bull for so long.”
Oklahoma (11-8, Freedom Fest 3-0) had already clinched the Freedom Fest event win earlier courtesy of its 180.5-176.5 game win over the Carolina Cowboys (12-7, Freedom Fest 0-1) at Paycom Center before Outlaw’s fireworks with Woopaa.
Outlaw then paused and looked at his teammates with a heartfelt smile.
The Hamburg, Arkansas, bull rider has been fully embraced by his Oklahoma teammates and coaching staff this season. The team was patient with Outlaw as he dealt with a groin injury just before the start of the season-opener in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
While some outside the team would have labeled him injury-prone, Outlaw’s Oklahoma teammates knew their firecracker and emotional leader would soon be back with a vengeance.
Outlaw showed just that in the Bonus Round.
For the past three nights, everyone in attendance has given the Freedom a standing ovation as Derek Kolbaba notched three walk-off, game-winning rides in a simply raucous environment. The three wins helped the Freedom become the first team to win its homestand in league history.
“Winning’s fun, but when you’ve got everybody here, all these cats from Oklahoma, everybody – man, this is awesome,” Outlaw said. “You can’t ask for nothing better. That is why we run our hand in the bull rope, and that’s why we do what we do, is opportunities like that. And when they present themselves, you have to be ready for it.”
Kolbaba could have been an easy choice for the Freedom to select for the Bonus Round. However, the Walla Walla, Washington, bull rider was admittedly sore from his heroics and was more than happy to let Outlaw take on Woopaa for the first time in his career.
“I wanted to get on him, but I am pretty sore and figured why not let Outlaw get on him,” Kolbaba said. “I will be good, but it was fun to let him get on Woopaa.”
Woopaa had previously bucked Kolbaba off in 6.99 seconds in Glendale, Arizona, earlier this year.
“I told him today; I said, ‘Derek, we’re going to take that weight off your shoulders for you,’” Outlaw said. “He held us down in the (teams) deal, and I had to back up what I said – we’ll take that weight off his shoulders (for the Bonus Round). And that’s what we do it for.”
In the locker room before the event Sunday morning, Outlaw told Oklahoma coaches Cord McCoy and Kody Lostroh he hoped the team would win the event and then he could have the chance to pile it on with a matchup against Woopaa.
Woopaa was making his PBR Team Series debut and was marked 46 points in his first trip since the 2022 PBR World Finals in May.
“Man, I’ve been waiting on that bull for a long time,” Outlaw said. “I knew he was going to go back to the right because I was watching that bull, and every time that bull looked at the back side, he’s went to the right at least one point in it.”
Outlaw’s previous career-best score was a 93.5-point ride on Smooth Wreck during his memorable victory at Last Cowboy Standing in Cheyenne, Wyoming. That win came a year after breaking more than 30 bones in his face in the exact same arena.
Outlaw is focused on the present, though, and that means helping his Oklahoma teammates win the inaugural PBR Team Series Championship on Nov. 4-6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The Freedom have won seven consecutive games and back-to-back events and lead the league with six 90-point rides heading into next weekend’s Thunder Days in Ridgedale, Missouri.
Oklahoma is one game behind league-leading Carolina before the Freedom take on the Nashville Stampede (5-13-1) on Friday night (8:45 p.m. ET, RidePass on Pluto TV).
“I thank the Lord,” Outlaw said. “I haven’t felt this great since 2019. I am 100%. Look out. Me and these Oklahoma cats are coming.”
Article Courtesy of PBR
Photo By: Andy Watson/ Bull Stock Media