By: Kacie Albert
MANCHESTER, N.H. – For the second time in as many years, PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) elite Unleash The Beast will buck into SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire, holding the fan-attended PBR Monster Energy Invitational Oct. 15-16.
Positioned in the second half of the 2021 season, the PBR Monster Energy Invitational is crucial in the championship race to the PBR World Finals in early November, awarding a gold buckle and million-dollar bonus to the world’s best bull rider.
With 15 Unleash The Beast events already complete, the race for the 2021 PBR World Championship is one of the most fiercely contested in league history. With No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) and No. 2 Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) separated by a mere 18.5 world points, looking further down the standings, No. 3 Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) remains hot on their spurs, within 186 points of No. 2 Pacheco and 204.5 points of No. 1 Leme.
This season’s current top three riders – 2020 PBR World Champion Leme, 2018 PBR World Champion Pacheco and 2016 World Champion Davis – are all attempting to become just the seventh rider in league history to have won the coveted gold buckle in multiple seasons.
Last season, two-time PBR World Champion Jess Lockwood (Volborg, Montana) delivered a dominant 3-for-3 performance to capture the victory at the first-ever PBR Unleash The Beast event in Manchester.
Lockwood began his march to the top of the Can-Am Cage in Round 1, when he covered Comanche (Mike Miller Bucking Bulls) for 86.5 points.
Determined to capture his first event victory of 2020, the then 22-year-old was unstoppable on Championship Sunday.
First winning Round 2 courtesy of a 90.5-point trip on Apocalypse (Deer Prairie Creek Bucking Bulls), Lockwood clinched the win when he made the 8 on Big Black (K-C Bucking Bulls/Joe & Nina Webb) for a monstrous 92.25 points.
Earning 128 world points, Lockwood, who entered the event No. 4 in the world, catapulted to the top of the standings, propelled 14.5 points ahead of No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil).
The Montana man concluded the 2020 season No. 5 in the world. Lockwood, who has been plagued by injuries in 2021, is currently out of competition after undergoing surgery to repair his pelvis.
Ultimately crowned the 2020 PBR World Champion, Leme also delivered a Top-5 finish at the inaugural PBR Unleash The Beast event in Manchester.
In front of the record-setting, sold-out crowd present for the event’s opening round, Leme recorded his first round win of the 2020 season with an 89-point ride on Slingin Tears (Blake Sharp/Caveman Bucking Bulls).
The former semi-professional soccer player again reached the 8-second whistle in Round 2, this time aboard No Sir (K-C Bucking Bulls/Bull Creek Bucking Bulls) for 82.25 points.
Architecting a rematch for the championship round, selecting his first round opponent Slingin Tears, Leme logged his then second 90-point score of 2020, marked an impressive 90.25 points.
The 3-for-3 performance earned Leme 51 world points, and while he remained No. 6 in the world, he climbed within 128.5 points of newly minted No. 1 Lockwood.
When the season concluded, Leme won his career-first PBR World Championship at the first-ever PBR World Finals held in Arlington, Texas, at AT&T Stadium. Going a torrid 22-for-34 (64%) in 2020, Leme won a league-best seven events and 16 rounds, while recording nine 90-point rides, en route to the gold buckle.
The No. 1 ranked rider in the world three weeks thus far in 2021, Leme is mounting a potentially record-setting season in a quest for an historic second consecutive PBR World Championship.
Leme has logged 10 round wins and 12 90-point rides to date in 2021 – on pace to break the season-record in both statistical categories. In 2013, two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney (Statesville, North Carolina) registered a league-best 19 round wins, while in 1999 Cody Hart (Gainesville, Texas) registered a PBR best 16 90-point rides.
Further, should Leme repeat as the league’s World Champion, he would join Silvano Alves (Pilar do Sul, Brazil) as the only riders to win the coveted gold buckle in back-to-back seasons. Alves who won his first two titles in 2011 and 2012.
The bull riding action begins with Round 1 at 7:45 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 15, concluding with Round 2 and the championship round at 6:45 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 16. All 30 bull riders will get on one bull each in Round 1 and 2. Following Round 2 on Saturday evening, the riders’ individual two-round scores will be totaled with the Top 12 advancing to the championship round for one more out and a chance at the event title.
Tickets for the two-day event are one sale now and start at $15, taxes and fees not included. Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets early, with all price levels increasing $5 on event day. Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com and PBR.com, or by calling PBR customer service at 1-800-732-1727.
PBR Elite Seats are available for avid fans who want an exclusive VIP experience while enjoying the world’s top bull riding circuit. These tickets offer premium seats, a question and answer presentation with some of the top bull riders and stock contractors in the world, behind-the-scenes look at the event from the back of the bucking chutes, and souvenir credential and lanyard.
For an enhanced PBR experience, fans can now purchase add-on PBR Premium Experiences which will include the Elite Experience on both Friday, October 15 and Saturday, October 16.
The Elite Experience, available for $75, will include a Q&A session with a select group of the league’s top riders, bullfighters and stock contractors, exclusive merchandise item, arena concession voucher and commemorative lanyard.
For more information on PBR Premium Experiences and to purchase the Elite Experience for the PBR Monster Energy Invitational in New Hampshire visit https://pbr.com/tickets/premium-experiences/.
© 2021 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.