PUEBLO, Colo. – Jose Vitor Leme ran into a brick wall on Sunday afternoon, but he got back up and remained unfazed even after he was slammed to the ground at the Lazy E Arena at the private Unleash The Beast event.
The undefeated Goodnight Robicheaux – 19-0 on the premier series and 34-0 overall – first bucked off the world No. 1 bull rider during Round 2 of the PBR Las Vegas Invitational, presented by Union Home Mortgage, before Leme responded by tapping off with a 90-point ride on Safety Meeting in the championship round.
It is just the latest example of Leme’s commitment to winning his first world title after back-to-back runner-up finishes in the world standings.
“It is kind of quiet in this building,” a fired up Justin McBride said on CBS Sports Network. “His buddies were cheering in the background on the back of the chutes. But 90 points right there. This is the ability that Leme has. He can max one out. As you take a look at the scores, 3.5 points over the bull. Rider over the bull. That is what Leme brings to this sport. The ability to max the score of a bull out. That is a great job, and a great job by Jose making something out of this event.”
Leme finished 2-for-3 and in third place with 52 world points in his first event back since breaking three ribs on Feb. 29 in Kansas City, Missouri.
The 23-year-old extended his lead on injured No. 2 Jess Lockwood to 124.5 points in the world standings. Lockwood is out until the middle of September as he continues to recover from surgery to repair his torn left hamstring.
The next Unleash The Beast event is set for May 9-10 at the Lazy E Arena. It will once again be a private event that is aired on CBS Sports Network and RidePass.
Fabiano Vieira (3-for-3) won the event Sunday with 89.5 points on Bullseye to become the third-oldest bull rider in PBR history to win a premier series event.
Leme began the weekend with 86.5 points on Homegrown in Round 1.
His 2-for-3 performance this weekend increases his riding average to a PBR-best 73.33% (22-for-30).
“I’m happy to come back and make a great ride again,” Leme told PBR.com Saturday night. “I feel strong again. Nothing hurt. (I am) 100% ready (to) ride bulls.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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