Brazilian bull rider two round wins tie two-time World Champion for most round wins in a single season

by Troi Santos

Walk-Off 90-Point Ride Propels Reigning World Champion Jose Vitor Leme to League-Leading Seventh Unleash The Beast Victory in Newark | Photo via PBR

NEWARK, N.J. – Reigning World Champion Jose Vitor Leme of Brazil (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) registered two round wins to tie two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney (Statesville, North Carolina) for the season round win record. He also delivered a walk-off 90-point ride in the championship round to clinch his elite tour-best seventh event victory of the 2021 season at the PBR ZipRecruiter Invitational at Prudential Center.

It was the first-ever PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Unleash The Beast event held in Newark, New Jersey,

Riding for A-Team (Universal Rodeo), Leme scored 88.5 points and tied for third on the event leaderboard. In the second round held inside NHL’s New Jersey Devils stadium, Leme moved to the top of the event standings riding Home Wrecker (Blake Sharp/Kanngiesser Cattle Co.) and scored a massive 92 points. The 90-point score, Leme’s 20th of the season, also earned him his 18th round victory of the year.

In the first selection in the championship round bull draft, Leme hatched a rematch with Slingin’ Tears (Blake Sharp/Henry Wilson/Caveman Bucking Bulls) to put his name again in the league’s record books.

When Leme burst from the chutes aboard the mighty beast, Garden State fans erupted in cheer as he reached the requisite eight, scoring 90.75 points — his unprecedented 21st 90-point ride of the season. He won the championship round and tied Mauney for most round wins in a season with 19. Mauney set the record in 2013 to win his first gold buckle.

Leme earned a check for $28,491.68, along with 154.5 world points. He advanced his stronghold on the No. 1 rank for the 2021 PBR World Championship race, now a season-best 866 points ahead of No. 2 Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil).

With 23 rounds left in the season, Leme poised himself to take sole ownership of the season-round win record. He is also within striking distance of overtaking two-time PBR World Champion Justin McBride (Elk City, Oklahoma) for most event wins in a year. In 2007, McBride won eight events en route to his second world title.

In 2021, Leme has won the past two Unleash The Beast events amid a six-out ride streak, hoping to become the second rider in history to win the PBR World Champion in back-to-back seasons. Three-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves (Pilar do Sul, Brazil) is the lone rider to achieve the feat, winning his first two titles in 2011 and 2012. Should he repeat as the World Champion in 2021, Leme would become the seventh multi-time World Champion in PBR history.

Second place went to Fernando Henrique Novais (Pereira Barreto, Brazil) with a perfect 3-for-3 to finish a career-best second at the PBR ZipRecruiter Invitational. He punched his ticket to the championship round after delivering his second qualified ride to earn 88.25 points aboard Dirty Sancho (Blake Sharp/Koe Wetzel/High Voltage Cattle) in Round 2.

In the championship round bull draft, Novais rode Mike’s Motive (Blake Shar/High Voltage Cattle/American Spirits/Koe Wetzel). Before their showdown, Mike’s Motive had been ridden just twice in 15 outs on record, most recently by 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) in May. Cooper had 91.75 points to clinch the Unleash The Beast victory in Jacksonville, Florida.

Novais also made the eight aboard Mike’s Motive registering his career-first 90-point ride on the elite Unleash The Beast with 90.25 points. He earned $14,819.14 and 91.5 world points. He ranked at No. 63 in the world, and surged to No. 39, still outside the Top 30 but inched within 86.5 points of a seeded position.

Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington) took the third spot, earning $10,579.63 and 73 world points.

Kolbaba secured the seventh pick in the final round bull draft when he covered Godzilla (Blake Sharp/Henry Wilson/High Voltage Cattle) for 86 points in Round 1 and Cooter Brown (Lucas Manning/Waller Brothers Cattle Co.) for 87.5 points in Round 2.

He finished his season-best on the premier series when he punctuated his perfect outing in New Jersey with an 88.25-point effort atop Walking Tall (Davis Rodeo Ranch) in the championship round. The Washington rider rose two positions in the race for the 2021 PBR World Championship, climbing from No. 10 to No. 8.

Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)

  1. Jose Vitor Leme, 88.5-92-90.75-271.25-154.5 Points.
  2. Fernando Henrique Novais, 86-88.25-90.25-264.50-91.5 Points.
  3. Derek Kolbaba, 86-87.5-88.25-261.75-73 Points.
  4. Cooper Davis, 89.5-87.5-77.5-254.50-68.5 Points.
  5. Mauricio Gulla Moreira, 88.25-89.25-0-177.50-49 Points.
  6. Dalton Kasel, 88.75-88.25-0-177.00-44 Points.
  7. Rafael Henrique dos Santos, 86.75-87.25-0-174.00-26.5 Points.
  8. Eli Vastbinder, 87-86-0-173.00-25 Points.
  9. Junior Patrik Souza, 84.5-86.25-0-170.75-20 Points.
  10. Kaique Pacheco, 83.5-87-0-170.50-18 Points.

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