Brazilian wins 2020 Season-Launch PBR Unleash The Beast Major Monster Energy Buck-Off

by Troi Santos

NEW YORK CITY – Veteran Brazilian Professional Bull Rider (PBR) Joao Ricardo Vieira of Itiatinga, Brazil, topped compatriot Kaique Pacheco of Itatiba, Brazil and James Lockwood, two-time PBR World Champion, and two-time Monster Energy Buck Off of Montana, USA, to win the 2020 season-launch of Unleash The Beast Major Monster Energy Buck Off competition at The Garden January 5. This year’s event, presented by Ariat, set a record-setting crowd at The Garden according to organizers.


Joao Ricardo Viera receives his $100,000 check from the event’s organizers.
| Photo Troi Santos

The 35-year-old Vieira delivered a dominant 4-for-4 performance earning him a check for $100,000 and 192 world points, surging to No. 1 in the 2020 PBR world standings. He now leads No. 2 Kaique Pacheco by 26.5 points.

Vieira began his march to the top of the Can-Am Cage in Round 1 when he recorded the second-best score, covering Western Skies (Cord McCoy/Twisted T/Ladd/Murphy) for 89.25 points.

He then reached the 8-second whistle both Round 2 and Round 3 on Going Broke (Mike Miller Bucking Bulls) for 84.75 points and Birthday Cake (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve) for 85.75 points.

In the championship round, Vieira punctuated his perfect performance inside “The World’s Most Famous Arena” with an 87.25-point ride aboard Bezerk (BMC Bucking Bulls/Jenkins Cattle Co.)

“It’s a lot of points here and a lot of money,” Vieira said. “Winning feels amazing. And it’s cool to be the man to put my name on the new (Charging Bull) trophy.”


Two-time PBR World Champion James Lockwood captures third place. | Photo Troi Santos

Pacheco, the only other rider to cover all his bovine athlete opponents in the Big Apple, was second, netting $21,350 and 127.5 world points.

The 2018 PBR World Champion, who was sidelined for the majority of 2019 first due to a knee injury then an elbow ailment, first rode Viper (Cord McCoy/Big Sky Bulls LLC) for 88.25 points in Round 1. He continued the momentum in Round 2 when he reached the 8 on Pearl (Mike Miller Bucking Bulls) for 82.25 points.

After riding Thunder’s Cartel (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls) for 86.25 points in Round 3, the “Ice Man” brought the raucous crowd to its feet when he delivered an 87.5-point ride on.

Third was two-time PBR World Champion, and two-time Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden event winner, Jess Lockwood (Volborg, Montana).

Rocketing into the Top 5 of the event’s leaderboard courtesy of an 88.25-point ride on Birthday Cake (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve) in Round 1, Lockwood slid following his Round 2 buck-off, bested by Apocalypse (Deer Prairie Creek Bucking Bulls) in 2.52 seconds.

Undeterred, the focused Montana man roared back in Round 3 in posting an 86.75-point score for his 8 seconds of work on JC’s Gangster (JC’s Dream Team/Jenkins Cattle).

The Garden was then brought to a deafening roar when Lockwood won the championship round with the high-marked ride of the new 2020 Unleash The Beast season, 91.75 points on Lil 2 Train (Jane Clark/Gene Owen).

Lockwood earned $23,850 and 121.5 world points. He is now No. 3 in the world, 70.5 points behind No. 1 Vieira.