By: Kacie Albert
FORT WORTH, Texas – For the second time in as many years, PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) elite Unleash The Beast will buck into Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, holding the fan-attended PBR Fort Worth Invitational Aug. 28-29.
Last season, PBR’s elite Unleash The Beast debuted inside Dickies Arena, with Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) going a near-perfect 2-for-3 to clinch his league-leading sixth premier series victory of 2020.
Leme rebounded from a close 7.32-second buckoff aboard Dixie Explosion (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls) in Round 1, with a Round 2-winning, 89.75-point ride on Milk Man (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co.) to advance to the championship round atop the event leaderboard.
As the last man to leave the chutes inside Dickies Arena, Leme clinched the victory when he covered Boogie Bomb (Blank Bucking Bulls/Cooper) for 88.25 points, the top score of the championship round.
Earning a critical 120 world points, Leme furthered his stronghold on the No. 1 ranking, expanding his lead No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil) to a then-season-best 429.59 points. The Fort Worth win was Leme’s second consecutive event victory following a golden finish the weekend prior in Salt Lake City, Utah
As the season progressed, Leme punctuated his 2021 campaign by capturing 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 2021, Leme won a league-best seven events and 16 rounds, while recording nine 90-point rides, en route to the gold buckle.
While he currently holds the world No. 2 rank, a slim 16 points behind No. 1 Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil), Leme is mounting a potentially record-setting season en route to what would be his historic second consecutive PBR World Championship.
Having logged 10 round wins and 12 90-point rides to date in 2021, Leme is 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 won his first two titles in 2011 and 2012.
Part of Leme’s monumental season thus far, which has been highlighted by three event victories, included his first Unleash The Beast win of the season in late February when the league returned to the iconic Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth.
His golden finish included a rematch with Woopaa (Barker Bulls/Hookin’ W Ranch), the very bull he clinched the 2020 PBR World Championship aboard. Again teaming for a monstrous score, Leme covered the striking bull for 94.75 points in the championship round to clinch the event victory inside the legendary western sports venue.
Positioned in the second half of the 2021 season, the PBR Fort Worth 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 14 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 Pacheco and No. 2 Leme separated by a mere 16 world points, looking further down the standings, No. 3 Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) remains hot on their spurs, within 164.5 points of No. 2 Leme and 180.5 points of No. 1 Pacheco.
This season’s current top three riders – 2018 PBR World Champion Pacheco, 2020 World Champion Leme 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.
In addition to Pacheco and Leme, who call Decatur home, and Jasper-native Davis, the draw for the Fort Worth event is also anticipated to be led by Texas’ own Cody Teel (College Station, Texas), Chase Dougherty (Stephenville, Texas), Boudreaux Campbell (Crockett, Texas), Taylor Toves (Stephenville, Texas), Jesse Petri (Palestine, Texas), Ezekiel Mitchell (Rockdale, Texas) and Mason Taylor (Maypearl, Texas).
The bull riding action begins with Round 1 at 6:45 p.m. CDT on Saturday, August 28, concluding with Round 2 and the championship round at 12:45 p.m. CDT on Sunday, August 29. All 30 bull riders will get on one bull each in Round 1 and 2. Following Round 2 on Sunday afternoon, 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 go on sale Monday, June 14, and start at $16.50, taxes and fees not included. They can be purchased at the Dickies Arena Box Office, 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 Saturday, August 28 and Sunday, August 29, and Bull Housing Tour on Saturday, August 28 in Fort Worth.
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.
The Bull Housing Tour, available for $60, will get experience-purchasers up-close-and-personal with the league’s top animal athletes and include a commemorative lanyard and Bulls of the PBR book.
Fans will also have the opportunity to purchase a complete travel package for $1,300, including a two-day hotel stay, two event tickets, daily food and beverage voucher, behind-the-scenes tour, and more.
For more information on PBR Premium Experiences and to purchase the Elite Experience, Bull Housing Tour and travel package for the PBR Fort Worth Invitational in Fort Worth visit https://pbr.com/tickets/premium-experiences/.
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