By: Darci Miller
PUEBLO, Colo. – One 90-point ride in a round? Good. Two 90-point rides in a round? Great. Three 90-point rides in a round? Pretty damn impressive.
Eight 90-point rides in a round? Nearly unheard of.
But that’s what fans were treated to on the final night of competition at Chad Berger’s $125,000 team challenge, presented by Marquis Metal Works, in 2019.
The nine-time Stock Contractor of the Year provided the bull power, and the riders took advantage of it on a night that many say rivaled “the Greatest Night of Bull Riding” at the 1999 PBR World Finals.
“My gosh,” Berger said at the time, putting his hands on his face. “I can’t believe what we saw tonight. I never expected this.
“In the 19 years we’ve done it here, we’ve had some great bull ridings, but tonight was undoubtedly one of the best bull ridings in the history of the sport. I’m not going to say it was the best one ever, but I guarantee you what, it’ll range right in there somewhere.”
Fans can relive the historic night on the PBR’s Facebook page on Wednesday, May 20 at 5 p.m. ET.
Lucas Divino kicked things off with a 90-point ride on Midnight Rain. That was followed by Sage Kimzey’s 90 points on Gambini, Cannon Cravens’s 91 points on Stretch, Cody Teel’s 90.25 points on Speed Demon, Derek Kolbaba’s 93.75 points on Biker Bob, Chase Outlaw’s 94.75 points on Smooth Wreck, Stetson Lawrence’s 91.25 points on Red Dawn and Jose Vitor Leme’s 91 points on Rising Sun.
“It’s just everybody’s wanting to freaking ride and they are damn sure all on their game,” Kolbaba said. “And when you’re that set up with freaking rank bulls, you’re bound to get some big scores and that damn sure showed tonight.
“It’s crazy to be 93 and have however many freaking points and be second. This is something I’ll remember forever. For one, just being such a rank bull riding, and two, getting to watch a buddy make an even ranker bull ride.”
Undoubtedly adding to the atmosphere was the fact that this was a team challenge. Each rider was competing for three teammates whose fate depended on him, and nobody was willing to let anyone down.
“Bottom line, my team needed me today,” Kimzey said. “I mean, that’s what it came down to. I had one job that could actually benefit the team. That’s stay on. So that’s all I was focused on.”
The team format will be center stage this summer with the PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge. Held at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa in Las Vegas from June 5-28 before culminating in a Championship Weekend Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on July 10-12 in front of fans, the event will feature 12 teams and 48 bull riders. Each team will consist of four riders, and there will be two divisions of six teams. The Top 3 teams in each division will then qualify for Championship Weekend.
“It is definitely a different approach then we are used to,” Teel said of the team format. “Anyone that has been a part of the Global Cup format, if you felt that feeling before, it is exciting to think of another format similar to that and see where it goes on a regular weekend.”
Today, PBR.com’s From the Vault series looks back on the historic night of eight 90-point rides in Bismarck.
Heroics in Bismarck: Outlaw leads Team Cooper Tires to victory during memorable night of eight 90-point rides
“This is incredible. I am so honored to be a part of this” – Lucas Divino.
Sage Kimzey – “I’ve never been to a bull riding with more legit 90-plus bull rides.”
“It’s the best bull riding I’ve ever seen or been to in my life,” – Cannon Cravens
Cody Teel – “I wanted to make a statement ride. Honestly, I expected something special with all the matchups and the guys tonight.”
“This is something you dream of and something I will remember forever,” – Derek Kolbaba
“To see my buddies and boys fired up like that and blow off the roof, shit, that just gets your (freaking) motor running,” – Chase Outlaw.
Stetson Lawrence – “I was amped up. I just wanted to do my best part and have fun just like those guys.”
“I’ve never been to an event like this. It was a great event, great bull riders, the best bulls. Perfect combo.” – Jose Vitor Leme.
Lucas Divino (90 points on Midnight Rain) – Sage Kimzey (90 points on Gambini) – Cannon Cravens (91 points on Stretch) – Cody Teel (90.25 points on Speed Demon) – Derek Kolbaba (93.75 points on Biker Bob) – Chase Outlaw (94.75 points on Smooth Wreck) – Stetson Lawrence (91.25 points on Red Dawn) – Jose Vitor Leme (91 points on Rising Sun).
This group of eight riders, some teammates and some foes that were competing in Chad Berger’s $125,000 team challenge, presented by Marquis Metal Works, Saturday night will forever be held in the same breath when people look back on the exhibition bull riding held on June 15, 2019, at the Bismarck Event Center.
The event following Berger’s 19th annual Dakota Community Bank & Trust Touring Pro Division event produced one of the most memorable nights in bull riding history, especially for the eight riders that reached the 90-point threshold and the other 40 riders that competed earlier in the night watching the magic unfold in front of their eyes.
This was their moment.
Jose Vitor Leme expects greatness in the 2019 World Championship race.
He would not expect anything less, and he is not concerned.
If anything, an exciting weekend at the Bismarck Event Center has the world No. 1 bull rider even more fired up and focused.
Leme was just as pumped as everyone else Saturday night as 90-point ride after 90-point ride kept coming in.
The 22-year-old capped off a magical night of bull riding in Chad Berger’s $125,000 team challenge by riding Rising Sun for 91 points.
“I’m very happy to be another 90,” Leme said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “That was the first time I got the opportunity to get this bull, and he kind of surprised me. He bucked a little bit more than I thought he was going to buck, and that was just great. I’m just very happy to have another 90 points under my belt.”
Leme leads the PBR with eight 90-point rides on the premier series, and he has 11 at all levels of competition when you include Berger’s team exhibition.
Even the 2017 PBR World Finals event winner, though, had to pause to find the right words to describe what he was a part of and witnessed on Saturday night.
Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney was sitting in the locker room holding a towel next to his left eye when Chase Outlaw came in with a big ol’ grin.
“Hey, at least he got you next to that eye and you have no nerve damage!” Outlaw said with a laugh. “You will be alright.”
Mauney, blood still streaming down his cheek, laughed as well and once again congratulated Outlaw for making a 94.75-point ride on Smooth Wreck during Chad Berger’s $125,000 team challenge, presented by Marquis Metal Works Saturday night.
“Hell of a bull ride, Outlaw,” Mauney said with a nod.
Outlaw then shook Mauney’s hand, and said, “You are still my hero though.”
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