By: Darci Miller
You want it. We’ve got it.
For the first time since its inception, RidePass on Pluto TV will air live – that’s right, live – Unleash The Beast action this weekend. When the PBR Monster Energy Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, kicks off on Friday night, it will do so exclusively on RidePass on Pluto TV.
Tune in to channel 720 at 10:45 p.m. ET to watch the best bull riders in the world compete with less than two months remaining before the PBR World Finals. And don’t forget that RidePass on Pluto TV features PBR content streaming 24/7 for free.
Round 1 in Anaheim won’t be your only opportunity to see the premier series live on RidePass on Pluto TV, either. The upcoming events in Newark, New Jersey; Fairfax, Virginia; San Antonio, Texas; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Manchester, New Hampshire will also feature select rounds exclusively.
Are you excited? We sure are.
WHERE THINGS STAND HEADING INTO ANAHEIM: At the last Unleash The Beast event, Paulo Lima won his first premier series event in more than five years, and he did it at the perfect time. It was the PBR Tractor Supply Co. Iron Cowboy, presented by Ariat – a PBR Major – and Lima earned a whopping 254 points towards the world standings with his 4-for-5 performance. He also improved by 30 – 30! – positions in the world standings and is now ranked No. 16. Not bad for a weekend of work.
In a rare stumble, world No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme went 0-for-2, leaving the door wide open for No. 2 Kaique Pacheco and No. 3 Cooper Davis to gain significant ground in the world title race. But Pacheco, as well as world No. 5 Joao Ricardo Vieira, went 0-for-2 as well, while Davis finished fifth overall, going 2-for-3 and gaining 67 world points.
Last weekend, the UTB was on hold while the riders competed at the PBR Air Force Reserve Cowboys for a Cause, which brought them to the historic “Blue Ghost” to raise money for Farmer Veteran Coalition. Additionally, the entire rider purse was donated to the family of Amadeu Campos Silva.
Following Silva’s passing, the event’s 24 riders came together to donate their $100,000 event purse to the young rider’s family, which PBR matched. League partners Ariat and Pendleton Whisky also donated $25,000 each. Fans can also directly contribute to the Silva family, matched by PBR up to $100,000, by visiting www.pbr.com/amadeumemorial.
Team Bad Boy Mowers (Eli Vastbinder, Mauricio Moreira and Claudio Montanha Jr.) won the event, while Leme led Team South Point to a second-place finish. Leme was one of only two riders to go a perfect 2-for-2, winning Round 1 for 59 world points with his 90.75-point ride on Steel Wishes. Leme now has 22 90-point rides at all levels of competition, including his PBR record 18 on the Unleash The Beast.
Leme once again added to his lead in the 2021 World Championship race by earning 67 points toward the world standings. He heads into Anaheim with a season’s-best 586.5-point lead on Pacheco.
THE LAST TIME WE WERE IN ANAHEIM: The Unleash The Beast was last in Anaheim in September of 2019, and there was a very familiar name standing atop the proverbial victory podium.
Leme won all three rounds and the overall event – the first time this feat was achieved in the new points system – to take the world lead from eventual 2019 World Champion Jess Lockwood.
“I don’t think I am at my best right now,” Leme said at the time with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “I always think I can be better, and get better. I have to get better and better every day. This is what I live for. This is what I ride for.
“I can never be satisfied and say I am good, because when you do that, then you are at your worst time.”
Pretty prescient, don’t you think? Since falling short of the world title in 2019, Leme has gone on to put together two of the best seasons in PBR history – 2021 isn’t even done yet, but he’s already set a new record for most 90-point rides in a single season and recorded the highest-marked ride in PBR history.
Also in Anaheim in 2019, Dalton Kasel finished sixth overall en route to winning the 2019 Rookie of the Year title.
What fireworks will we see in Anaheim this year? Tune into RidePass on Pluto TV Friday night to find out!
Watch the conclusion of the PBR Monster Energy Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, on Sunday on CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. ET, and check out Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour action on RidePass on Pluto TV as well.
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