By: Mandi McCary
BILLINGS, Mont. – The Western sports world is running out of superlatives for Jose Vitor Leme’s 2020 season, which is shaping up to be one of the best in the history of Professional Bull Riders (PBR).
Leme went a perfect 5-for-5 at First Interstate Arena at Metrapark in Billings this weekend, winning his third PBR Unleash the Beast (UTB) event in a row, along with Saturday’s 15/15 Bucking Battle.
As Sunday afternoon of the three-day PBR Ariat Invitational presented by Cooper Tires began, Leme conquered Zero Time (Paradigm Bull Company) in Round 3 for an 89.75-point score, landing him atop the leaderboard as the day’s opening round ended.
On his last out of the event – PBR’s sixth weekend during COVID-19 welcoming fans into the arena with new safety protocols in place, and 25th consecutive stop in Billings – Leme mounted Bad Decisions (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co) in the championship round, firing from the chutes in complete control on the bull for 89.75 points.
Earlier in the weekend during the 15/15 Bucking Battle, Leme showed the same control when he conquered World Champion Bull Smooth Operator (Dakota Rodeo/Julie Rosen/Clay Struve/Chad Berger) to win the special round with a 94.25-point score. It was Leme’s eighth 90-point ride of the season, and the highest marked ride of the 2020 season and earned the bovine the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event.
The soon-to-be father’s league-leading seventh premier series 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 16 round wins in 2020, Leme could surpass current record holder J.B. Mauney (Statesville, North Carolina) who won 19 rounds during his 2013 World Championship campaign.
For his efforts, Leme earned a check for $40,575 in addition to 146 world points. Expanding his world lead, Leme now leads No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil) by a season-high 539.09 points.
Leme’s crowd-pleasing ride bumped young gun Andrew Alvidrez (Seminole, Texas), who went 3-for-4, into second place for the weekend. Earlier in the night before his championship round battle with Leme, the Texas rider was leading the event from his standout performance in Rounds 1 and 2 and optimistic about the first premier series win of his career.
His Round 3 matchup with Space Force (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger/ Clay Struve/Heald Pro Bulls) didn’t go as planned when the bovine dispatched him in just 4.22 seconds.
Alvidrez then chose Medicine Man (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co) in the championship round, determined to battle it out with Leme to the very end. His impressive 91.25-point ride – the top score of the short round – was a career first and was met with a raucous roar from the Billings crowd.
The second-place event finish moved Alvidrez from No. 28 in the world to No. 20. He leaves the Treasure State with $20,212.50 and 99.5 world points.
Third place went to went to Brazilian rider Lucas Divino (Nova Crixas Goias, Brazil).
With a rocky start to the night when he bucked off Oz (TNT Bucking Bulls/ Hart Cattle Co) at 4.43 seconds, and then declining a re-ride when recording a 61.25-point ride aboard Boss Hog (D&H Cattle Co/ Lone Star/ Taylor) in the championship round, Divino relied on his second-place finish on Saturday night’s Round 2 to hold his leaderboard spot.
Divino’s 3-for-4 weekend earned him $11,000 and 63 world points. He began the weekend at No. 7 in the world and has now launched to the No. 4 spot just below Montana native and two-time World Champion Jess Lockwood (Volborg, Montana), who started the weekend strong in riding his first two bulls but then was bucked off his next two, and still holds onto No. 3.
Keyshawn Whitehorse (McCracken Springs, Utah) came in fourth for the weekend after going 2-for-4 and winning Round 1 on Friday night. Whitehorse was paired with Shiznit (D&H Cattle Co/ Andrews Rodeo) in Round 3 for an energetic 87.5-point ride but came down hard in the championship round when Trail of Tears (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger/ Clay Struve/ MAGA Cattle/ Roper Angus) dispatched him after just 3.07 seconds.
The 2018 Rookie of the Year earned $9,825 and 49 world points. Whitehorse moved from No. 31 in the world at the event’s start to now hold the No. 25 position.
Rounding out the Top 5 of the weekend was 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) with a 2-for-4 performance. The confident Texan rider was matched with Uncle Gangster (Ogden Ranch/ Hart Cattle Co) in Round 3 where he was bucked off at 6.95 seconds.
In the championship round, Davis selected Red Dawn (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/ Heald Pro Bulls) and was flung to the ground almost immediately at 1.63 seconds.
Despite his buckoffs on Sunday, Davis’ Round 2 win on Saturday helped him claim the fifth-place position. He earned $7,775 and 49.5 world points, and moved up from No. 10 in the world to No. 9.
Fans can relive all the action from Billings, on Monday, Sept. 14 at 8:00 a.m. EDT at RidePass.com or via the RidePass mobile app.
The PBR Unleash The Beast next travels to Des Moines, Iowa and the Wells Fargo Arena for the PBR Lucas Oil Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 6:45 p.m. CDT and Sunday, Sept. 20 at 2:45 p.m. CDT.
PBR Unleash The Beast – PBR Ariat Invitational presented by Cooper Tires
First Interstate Arena at Metrapark -Billings, Montana
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Jose Vitor Leme, 89.25-86.5-89.75-89.75-355.25-146 Points.
2. Andrew Alvidrez, 88.5-87.5-0-91.25-267.25-99.5 Points.
3. Lucas Divino, 85.75-85.75-0-61.25-232.75-63 Points.
4. Keyshawn Whitehorse, 89.5-0-87.5-0-177.00-55 Points.
5. Cooper Davis, 85.75-90-0-0-175.75-49.5 Points.
6. Mason Taylor, 83.75-88.5-0-0-172.25-29 Points.
7. Dakota Louis, 86.5-84.75-0-0-171.25-20 Points.
8. Daylon Swearingen, 82-0-88.25-0-170.25-18 Points.
9. Ezekiel Mitchell, 0-88.25-0-0-88.25-12 Points.
10. Derek Kolbaba, 0-0-87.75-0-87.75-11 Points.
11. Jess Lockwood, 84-85.75-0-0-169.75-9.5 Points.
12. Eduardo Aparecido, 0-87.5-0-0-87.50-7.5 Points.
13. Ramon de Lima, 0-0-86-0-86.00-7 Points.
14. Cody Casper, 0-0-85.75-0-85.75-6 Points.
15. Alex Cerqueira, 0-0-85.5-0-85.50-5 Points.
(tie). Jake Lockwood, 85.25-0-0-0-85.25-5 Points.
17. Cody Teel, 0-86.25-0-0-86.25-4.5 Points.
(tie). Mauricio Gulla Moreira, 0-86.25-0-0-86.25-4.5 Points.
19. Rafael Henrique dos Santos, 0-0-83.75-0-83.75-4 Points.
20. Kaique Pacheco, 85-0-0-0-85.00-3.5 Points.
(tie). J.B. Mauney, 85-0-0-0-85.00-3.5 Points.
22. Junior Patrik Souza, 0-85.5-0-0-85.50-1 Points.
23. Silvano Alves, 0-83.5-0-0-83.50
24. Claudio Montanha Jr., 82-0-0-0-82.00
25. Rubens Barbosa, 80.75-0-0-0-80.75
26. Brennon Eldred, 77.75-0-0-0-77.75
João Ricardo Vieira, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Colten Jesse, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Dener Barbosa, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Cole Melancon, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Marco Eguchi, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Stetson Lawrence, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Taylor Toves, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Paulo Ferreira Lima, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Bradley Brittain, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Cody Nance, 0-0-0-0-0.00
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