By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – So maybe it was not as emphatic as a 94-point ride on Chiseled, but world No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme’s message this past weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, rang loud and clear.
Leme is ready to put an iron grip on the 2020 World Championship race as he won a second consecutive event just five days after two-time World Champion Jess Lockwood, the No. 3-ranked bull rider in the world, announced he would he returning to competition on Sept. 11 in Billings, Montana.
Of course, the two riders are not squaring off face-to-face for the gold buckle, but the consensus is that Lockwood can be Leme’s biggest threat for the World Championship.
Leme’s sixth event win of the season, though, has made the mountain that much higher for the reigning World Champion and his pursuit of a record-tying third world title.
Leme now leads Lockwood by 570.50 points with potentially seven regular-season Unleash The Beast events remaining until the 2020 PBR World Finals. No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira is 429.59 points behind Leme.
Here is a by-the-numbers look at the PBR WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational.
18: Leme is 18-for-19 in his six event wins this season. The 18 qualified rides in those six events alone are more than the season totals of all but four riders – Joao Ricardo Vieira (23), Lucas Divino (21), Kaique Pacheco (19) and Jess Lockwood (18). For the season, Leme is 33-for-47 (70.21%).
1,114: Total world points for Leme so far in 2020. As Slade Long of ProBullStats noted on Monday morning on Twitter, Leme has doubled up every rider in the world standings except for No. 2 Vieira.
What’s interesting to me about this is that Vieira is the only rider with at least HALF as many season points as Leme. Leme has lapped everyone but Vieira.
Lockwood (and everyone else in the standings) is trailing by more points that he’s earned on the season.
— Probullstats (@Probullstats) August 31, 2020
15: Events it took two-time World Champion Justin McBride to reach six wins in 2007. McBride would win two more events that season to set the PBR single-season, all-time event wins record (8).
How many events has Leme competed in so far this season to get his six wins? Fifteen.
13: Round wins this season for Leme after he bounced back from his 2.93-second buckoff in Round 1 against Axle to win Round 2 (89.75 points on Milk Man) and the championship round (88.25 points on Boogie Bomb). Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney, who won 19 rounds during his 2013 championship season, holds the all-time premier series round wins record.
21: Qualified rides for Joao Ricardo Vieira in 15/15 Bucking Battles, a PBR record. The 36-year-old won a PBR record sixth 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night when his 89.5-point ride on Marquis Metal Works Coriolis Effect. Vieira is 21-for-54 (38.89%) in 54 career 15/15 Bucking Battle appearances. No other rider has 20 or more rides in the 15/15 Bucking Battle format.
10: World ranking positions 2018 Rookie of the Year Keyshawn Whitehorse jumped courtesy of a fourth-place finish. Whitehorse went 1-for-3, but his 88.25-point ride on Outlaw was enough for him to earn 31 world points and move from No. 41 to No. 31 in the world standings.
16: Qualified rides in Fort Worth this weekend, which is tied for the season-low that was set on March 6 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
$62,000: Ramon de Lima earned $340,000.00 Brazilian Reals, which is roughly $62,000, this past weekend by winning the historic Festa do Peão de Barretos Rodeo. Lima won the event with a 91.75-point ride. The No. 15-ranked bull rider in the world also won a Ram 2500 pickup truck. Lima is expected to return to the United States in the coming weeks after returning to his native country back in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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