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.
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.”
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.