By: Mandi McCary
LAS VEGAS – At the PBR’s first visit to MGM Grand Garden Arena since 1998, Dener Barbosa (Paulo de Faria, Brazil) made his intentions in the world title race known — winning on a bull who had seriously injured him in a previous matchup.
Barbosa knocked down a perfect 3-for-3 performance over the two-day event to gain vital ground in the world standings.
To begin his Saturday evening of the PBR Unleash The Beast -Las Vegas Invitational, the 27-year old Brazilian rider was paired with 4B Special (4B Bucking Bulls), a bovine in his debut weekend on the premier series.
After firing from the chutes, Barbosa did not falter, remaining in control to make the 8. His successful 84.25-point score put him in fourth place on the leaderboard as the day’s opening round ended.
Barbosa selected CopperPoint Swagger (Hart Cattle Co/ Hale) in the championship round, a bull he conquered earlier this year in Omaha, Nebraska. He erupted from the chutes in complete control of the bull for an 87-point score, to secure his event win.
Barbosa started the weekend as the No. 5 bull rider in the world standings, and the win moved him to the No. 4 position. He now sits 118.67 points behind 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas), who holds No. 3 in the world standings.
For his efforts, Barbosa earned a check for $24,486.49 in addition to 119 world points.
Champion Cody Jesus (Window Rock, Arizona) for his 2-for-3 weekend, who cowboyed up in epic fashion on Saturday.
Jesus entered championship Saturday as the overall event leader after an impressive Round 1 win on Friday night.
Round 2 was not as fortunate for the talented 22-year-old. His matchup with Theodore (Lari Crane/ Gene Owen) ended after just 5.76 seconds; the bull then stepped him, leaving him with a sprained left MCL and knee contusion.
In visible pain, the Navajo cowboy was helped to the back but was determined to ride in the championship round.
Jesus chose Bentley (Viducic Bucking Bulls) as his championship round bull. Grimacing in pain as he climbed aboard his bovine opponent, he sprang from the chutes, rode the 8, and brought a standing ovation. His 92.5-point ride score, the highest of the weekend and his career best, sent fans into a deafening frenzy.
Jesus’s outstanding weekend earned him 107 world points and $20,298.49. He began the weekend at No. 42 in the world and has now launched to the No. 24 spot.
Third place went to Rookie of the Year contender Austin Richardson (Stephenville, Texas).
In Round 2, Richardson was paired with Night Hawk (Farris/ Garcia Rodeo Bulls) for an energetic 85-point ride.
The talented young rider then chose I’m Legit Too (Hart Cattle Co/ Hale) as his championship round bull but came down hard after being dispatched by the talented bovine at 5.71 seconds.
Richardson’s 2-for-3 weekend earned him 67 world points and $10,984.62. He began the weekend at No. 30 in the world and has now moved to the No. 23 spot.
The win also boosted him up the standings in the 2021 PBR Rookie of the Year race. Richardson now holds the No. 4 position.
Reigning PBR World Champion Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) came in fourth for the weekend after going 2-for-3.
Leme was paired with Outlaw (Hart Cattle Co/Hale) in Round 2 for a dynamic 85.5-point ride.
Holding second place on the leaderboard as the championship round began, Leme selected High Brow Cat (Paradigm Bull Company) as his championship round bull.
As the ride began, Leme seemed in control but quickly lost his grip, and the bovine swung him to the ground at a mere 3.41 seconds.
Despite a less than favorable ending to the weekend. the steadfast Brazilian earned 50 world points and $8,370.06.
The fourth-place finish meant more to Leme than a check, as the points earned moved him to the No. 1 position unseating 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil). Leme is now 18.5 points ahead of Pacheco in the heated world title race.
Rounding out the Top 5 of the weekend was Leme’s fellow countryman Marco Eguchi (Poa, Brazil) with a 2-for-3 performance.
The veteran Brazilian rider was matched with Kent’s Wildside (4B Bucking Bulls) in Round 2, where he collected an 81.75-point score to secure his place in the championship round.
In the championship round, Eguchi selected First Down (Farris/Garcia Rodeo Bulls). He was no match for the powerful bovine, hitting the ground after just 5.11 seconds.
Despite his buckoff, he claimed the fifth-place position. He earned 42 world points and $6,259.11, holding tight to his No. 6 position in the world standings.
Marquis Metal Works Coriolis Effect (Paradigm Bull Co/ Marquis Metal Works) took home the “YETI Bull of the Event” honor. The energetic bovine bucked to a 46.25-point bull score when he launched Mason Taylor (Maypearl, Texas) to the ground during Saturday night’s championship round in 3 seconds.
Fans can relive all the action from Nevada on Sunday, June 12 at 8 a.m. EDT at RidePass.com or via the RidePass mobile app.
Next up, the world’s top bull riding athletes and rankest bucking bulls in the business will make their return to the premier celebration of cowboy life and Western entertainment, as the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) bucks back into Cheyenne, Wyoming for Last Cowboy Standing July 26-27.
A historic Western sports weekend continues on Sunday at MGM Grand Garden Arena with the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo’s “Showdown in Vegas: Challenge of the Champions,” the first event of the 2021 season for the nation’s leading all-Black touring rodeo.
PBR Unleash The Beast – Las Vegas Invitational
MGM Grand Garden Arena -Las Vegas, Nevada
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Dener Barbosa, 84-84.25-87-255.25-119 Points.
2. Cody Jesus, 89.25-0-92.5-181.75-107 Points.
3. Austin Richardson, 88.75-85-0-173.75-67 Points.
4. Jose Vitor Leme, 86.5-85.5-0-172.00-50 Points.
5. Marco Eguchi, 86.75-81.75-0-168.50-42 Points.
6. Jesse Petri, 0-88-0-88.00-40 Points.
7. Claudio Montanha Jr., 0-87.75-0-87.75-24 Points.
8. Chase Dougherty, 87-0-0-87.00-22 Points.
9. João Henrique Lucas, 0-86.75-0-86.75-19.5 Points.
(tie). Mason Taylor, 0-86.75-0-86.75-19.5 Points.
11. Kaique Pacheco, 0-86.25-0-86.25-15.5 Points.
(tie). Matt Triplett, 86.25-0-0-86.25-14.5 Points.
13. Marcus Mast, 85.75-0-0-85.75-13 Points.
14. Rafael Henrique dos Santos, 85.5-0-0-85.50-11.5 Points.
(tie). Luciano De Castro, 85.5-0-0-85.50-11.5 Points.
16. Conner Halverson, 84.75-0-0-84.75-10 Points.
17. João Ricardo Vieira, 0-83.75-0-83.75-11 Points.
18. Cooper Davis, 0-83-0-83.00-10 Points.
19. Cody Nance, 82.75-0-0-82.75-8 Points.
(tie). J.T. Moore, 82.75-0-0-82.75-8 Points.
21. Manoelito de Souza Junior, 82-0-0-82.00-8 Points.
Cody Teel, 0-0-0-0.00
Silvano Alves, 0-0-0-0.00
Junior Patrik Souza, 0-0-0-0.00
Mauricio Gulla Moreira, 0-0-0-0.00
Keyshawn Whitehorse, 0-0-0-0.00
Boudreaux Campbell, 0-0-0-0.00
Taylor Toves, 0-0-0-0.00
Marcelo Procopio Pereira, 0-0-0-0.00
Ezekiel Mitchell, 0-0-0-0.00
Caic Cassio Carvalho, 0-0-0-0.00
Eli Vastbinder, 0-0-0-0.00
Michael Lane, 0-0-0-0.00
Dakota Louis, 0-0-0-0.00
Brennon Eldred, 0-0-0-0.00
Andrew Alvidrez, 0-0-0-0.00
Hunter Ball, 0-0-0-0.00
Rodrigo Melgar, 0-0-0-0.00
Lucas Fideles Souza, 0-0-0-0.00
Daylon Swearingen, 0-0-0-0.00
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