At the first fan-attended event held inside Dickies Arena since the onset of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, world No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme’s (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) dominant 2020 season continued.
Going a near perfect 2-for-3, the Brazilian phenom won his league-leading sixth PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Unleash The Beast event of the year at the PBR WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas, furthering his stronghold on the world No. 1 ranking.
Never count out the World No. 1! Jose Vitor Leme comes from behind and slides into the Championship Round in Fort Worth with the highest scoring ride of the weekend on Milk Man (w/ @ariat) pic.twitter.com/pngLrRwSxe
— PBR (@PBR) August 31, 2020
After winning the premier series event last week in Salt Lake City, Leme’s showing at the Lone Star State event began inauspiciously. Matched up against Dixie Explosion (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls) in Round 1 on Saturday night, the former semi-professional soccer player was brought down in an ever-close 7.32 seconds.
The soon-to-be father, however, reversed his fortunes quickly once Championship Sunday got underway.
Needing to reach the requisite 8 in order to punch his ticket to the championship round, Leme not only recorded a score, but delivered what would be the high-marked ride of the event en route to his 12th round win of the season.
Covering Milk Man (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co.) for 89.75 points, Leme catapulted to the top of the event leaderboard and garnered the first selection in the final round’s bull draft.
Leme then architected a rematch in choosing Boogie Bomb (Bland Bucking Bulls/Cooper).
The 24-year-old first attempted the bovine athlete in late January in Oklahoma City, covering Boogie Bomb for 88.75 points inside Chesapeake Energy Arena to win Round 2 en route to his second Unleash The Beast event victory of the year.
Once again reaching the 8, Leme was marked 88.25 points, earning him the championship round victory as well as the event title.
For his efforts, Leme earned a check for $33,929.86 in addition to 120 world points.
Watching from behind the chutes should come with a warning label ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/cfUAQ5mRkt
— PBR (@PBR) August 31, 2020
Expanding his world lead, Leme now leads No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil) by a season-high 429.59 points.
Leme’s league-leading sixth – and second consecutive – event win of the season inches him closer to the season event win record currently held by two-time PBR World Champion Justin McBride (Elk City, Oklahoma). In 2007, McBride won eight events en route to his second World Championship.
He is also within striking distance of breaking the season round wins record. Now with a tour-leading 13 round wins, Leme could surpass current record holder J.B. Mauney (Statesville, North Carolina) who won 19 rounds during his 2013 World Championship campaign.
In addition to leading the PBR in event and round victories, Leme is also atop the elite tour standings in rides (33) and riding percentage (70.21%).
As the only other rider to cover more than one bull, 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) was second, earning $15,798.03 and 67 world points.
After riding White Lightning (Cord McCoy/Whitener) for 86 points in the opening round, Pacheco came down short of the buzzer in Round 2, sent to the dirt in 2.74 seconds by Blue Fire (Cooper/Scruggs Bucking Bulls).
Pacheco then selected a familiar opponent in Mr. Majestic (Cord McCoy/Bruce Wold/HR Bulls) for the championship round.
Having met thrice prior, after the “Ice Man” found success in their first showdown, covering Mr. Majestic for 87.5 points during Round 4 of the 2017 PBR World Finals. Pacheco was bucked off in their two subsequent meetings, first in 1.99 seconds in Oklahoma City in 2018 and most recently in 4.2 seconds at the 2020 PBR Global Cup USA.<
Evening the score, Pacheco covered Mr. Majestic, scored 75 points.
Despite earning the option of the re-ride, Pacheco elected to keep the score, becoming the weekend’s first rider to record two qualified trips.
His business decision proved dividends, propelling him to a silver finish, his fifth Top-5 elite tour finish of the season.
Pacheco is now ranked No. 4 in the world, 511.5 points behind No. 1 Leme, climbing three positions after beginning the Texas event No. 7.
Third was Texas native and 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas).
Davis’ efforts were headlined by a Round 1-best 88.5-point ride aboard Major Threat (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls), which propelled him to a $10,167.15 payday, while also earning him 56 world points.
On Saturday evening, Davis also tied for the 15/15 Bucking Battle victory after riding Preachers Kid (RD Cattle/K-C Bucking Bulls) for 89.5 points, earning him an additional $6,791.67 and 45 world points.
The 26-year-old’s strong showing in front of the home state crowd allowed him to gain significant ground in the world standings as he seeks his second PBR World Championship. While he began the event No. 22, he is now ranked No. 10, 854 points behind No. 1 Leme.
Fourth was 2018 PBR Rookie of the Year Keyshawn Whitehorse (McCracken Springs, Utah).
He rode Outlaw (Hart Cattle Co./Hale) for 88.25 points in Round 2 to net $6,766.57 and 31 world points.
Whitehorse’s finish allowed him to crack the Top 35, rising from No. 41 to No. 31 in the world.
Rounding out the Top 5 were Mason Taylor (Maypearl, Texas) and Alex Cerqueira (Iguatemi Mato Gross, Brazil), who tied for fifth after recording matching 87.5-point rides in Round 1. They rode Ain’t Easy Being Me (D&H Cattle/Craig Moore) and Buckeye Bill (K-C Bucking Bulls), respectively.
Each rider left Dickies Arena with a check for $4,775.62 along with 24 world points.
In the bull pen, I’m Legit Too (Hart Cattle Co./Hale/Bloyd) was the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event. The powerful bovine athlete posted an event-best 45.75-point bull score in Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle when he dispatched Cole Melancon (Paris, Texas) in a swift 2.96 seconds.
CBS Sports Network will televise all the action from Championship Sunday of the PBR WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 30.
Fans can relive all the action from the two-day premier series event on Monday, August 31 at 8:00 a.m. EST on RidePass, at RidePass.com or via the RidePass app available on iOS, Android and Roku.
The PBR WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational was the fifth event PBR has hosted during COVID-19 with fans in attendance by working with arena partners to implement new fan safety protocols.
Following a one-week break, the elite PBR Unleash The Beast will next travel to Billings, Montana, and First Interstate Arena – MetraPark for the PBR Ariat Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires.
The event, which will also welcome fans to the arena, will be on Friday, September 11 at 7:45 p.m. MDT, Saturday, September 12 at 6:45 p.m. MDT and Sunday, September 13 at 1:45 p.m. MDT.