By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – CBS Sports host Craig Hummer posed a question to two-time World Champion Justin McBride during this coming weekend’s episode of PBR Keep Riding about who 2020 World Champion Jose Vitor Leme reminds him of.
Two-time World Champion Chris Shivers.
“Right now, he probably reminds me the most of Chris Shivers just because he is so exciting and he can light it up,” McBride said. “Big scores. I think that is what defines Leme right now.”
PBR Keep Riding airs Sunday on CBS national television (check local listings). Hummer and McBride will look back at Leme’s historic 2020 gold buckle year, the 2020 PBR World Finals and get fans ready for the start of the 2021 season.
Leme finally won his first world title this past season, but he’s been one of the most electrifying and dynamic bull riders in the PBR since he stunningly went 6-for-6 to win the 2017 PBR World Finals in his first premier series event on American soil.
The 24-year-old is set to begin the 2021 season with a career riding percentage of 59.17%, a median ride score of 88 points per ride and 29 90-point rides.
McBride and Hummer did not make a full comparison between the similarities and differences between Shivers and Leme during PBR Keep Riding. Still, the comparison had me wondering how far off Leme is from possibly one day reaching Shivers’ record of 94 90-point rides on the premier series.
Shivers is in a class of his own when it comes to the 90-point threshold, with 19 more 90-point rides than No. 2 J.B. Mauney (75) and 20 more than McBride (74).
Most 90-point rides in PBR history (premier series)
1. Chris Shivers (94)
2. J.B. Mauney (75)*
3. Justin McBride (74)
4. Guilherme Marchi (51)
5. Adriano Moraes (47)
Leme enters 2021 65 90-point rides behind Shivers.
He is averaging 8.6 90-point rides per year through his first three full seasons on tour. Therefore, if he continues to average 8 90-point rides or more per season, he could potentially break Shivers’ record in the next eight or nine seasons.
Of course, it will be dependent on a variety of factors – primarily Leme’s health. It will also be interesting to see how long a career Leme decides to ultimately have and how long he can compete at his current level.
There are too many ifs and outstanding scenarios to truly predict whether or not Leme can pull off the feat, but Leme has stated he wants to break as many PBR records as possible, and setting a new 90-point ride career record would certainly be a record unlike no other.
Leme and two-time World Champion Jess Lockwood flirted with breaking Cody Hart’s single-season record (16) for most 90-point rides in one season two years ago, with Leme posting 12 90s and Lockwood concluding his second gold buckle season with 14. Hart’s record certainly could be in danger, with Leme and Lockwood still in the prime of their careers heading into 2021.
Could Lockwood break Shivers’ all-time mark?
Lockwood’s career average ride score (87.19) and median ride score (87.5) are very close to Leme’s (87.61/88), and he has 31 career 90-point rides since his 2016 season. Lockwood is also a year younger than Leme, so he has that working in his favor as well.
The biggest issue for Lockwood potentially breaking Shivers’ all-time 90-point record is his seemingly never-ending list of injuries. Lockwood has missed a significant amount of time because of various injuries since his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2016. He has competed at 84 premier series events and 33 15/15 Bucking Battles, and he is averaging about 16.8 events per season over his five-year career.
Despite his laundry list of injuries (torn hamstring, broken collarbone and torn groins, to name a few), Lockwood is still averaging 6.2 90-point rides per season.
How long would it take Lockwood to reach Shivers’ mark of 94 rides? If Lockwood, 23, were to average six 90-point rides every year, it would take him about 10 and a half years to get to Shivers’ mark.
However, Lockwood did post five 90-point rides through the first two months of last season before his torn hamstring. He likely would have finished with double-digit 90-point rides for the second consecutive season if not for his injury. Therefore, a fully healthy Lockwood could potentially reach Shivers’ mark in fewer than 10 years if he rides at the pace he did the past two years.
Leme and Lockwood have definitely brought fireworks to the PBR in the past few seasons. The duo should likely provide more 90-point heroics when the 2021 Unleash The Beast: American Roots Edition begins on Jan. 16-17 in Ocala, Florida, with the PBR Monster Energy Invitational.
Ocala, Florida (Jan. 16-17)
Arcadia, Florida (Jan. 23-24)
Okeechobee, Florida (Jan. 30-31)
Del Rio, Texas (Feb. 13-14)
Pecos, Texas (Feb. 20-21)
Longview, Texas (Feb. 27-28)
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photos courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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