(Editor's note: PBR release)
FORT WORTH, Tex. – The reigning PBR (Professional Bull Riders) World Champion came back Saturday night without missing a beat.
Marking his return to competition after fracturing his ankle during his first out of the 2021 season, Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) was triumphant at the elite Unleash The Beast: American Roots Edition tour stop inside Cowtown Coliseum, winning Round 1 of the PBR Can-AM Invitational courtesy of a monstrous 90-point score.
In the seemingly unstoppable form that brought his first gold buckle in 2020, Leme matched Hundred Bad Days (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co.) jump-for-jump in Round 1 and then casually stuck his dismount, as he was marked a commanding 91 points, the fifth-best score of the season to date.
“I’m so glad to be back and healthy,” Leme said following his round victory. “This is amazing, my first ride after my son was born, with 91 points. It’s incredible for me. It’s hard to describe. I’m so happy now; me and my wife, she’s doing really good. I’m hoping we can be a good mom and father for him.”
The 24-year-old, who is attempting to become just the second back-to-back World Champion in league history, was sidelined on the first day of the new season when he bucked off Dirty Sancho (Blake Sharp/Koe Wetzel/High Voltage Cattle) in 2.75 seconds and fractured his right ankle. Opting to not undergo surgery, Leme, who recently welcomed his first child, reignited his quest for history after missing three events due to rehab.
In winning the round, Leme earned a critical 29 world points and catapulted 33 positions in the world standings, rising from No. 85 to No. 32. Ahead of Round 2 from the Lone Star State, Leme now trails No. 1 Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) by 297.50 points.
Davis failed to extend his lead atop the world rankings on the opening night of action in Fort Worth. The 2016 PBR World Champion, and home state hopeful, was bested by Baby Gangster (Cooper/Scruggs Bucking Bulls) in a swift 2.82 seconds.
On a night of ferocious action that included 13 riders reaching the 8-second whistle, Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil) was second, earning 18 world points.
The stoic South American contender logged the runner-up finish after covering Outlaw (Cord McCoy/Big Sky Bulls, LLC) for 89.5 points.
Vieira gained one position in the world standings and is now ranked No. 13 in the world after entering the event ranked No. 14. He trails No. 1 Davis by 234.5 points.
Alex Cerqueira (Iguatemi, Brazil), 2019 PBR Rookie of the Year Dalton Kasel (Muleshoe, Texas) and Rafael Henrique dos Santos (Sebastianopolis, Brazil) tied for third after recording matching 88-point scores.
Covering Cuttin Torch (D&H Cattle/Flinn), Peep Show (3J Ranch) and House Mouse (Nothin’ But Try Ranch/Diggers Bucking Bulls), respectively, each rider collected 16 world points.
In the early 2021 PBR World Championship race, the score allowed Santos to gain the most ground. While he traveled to Cowtown Coliseum ranked No. 23, he is now No.19, 266 points back of the No.1 rank.
Cerqueira and Kasel also both gained ground, with Cerqueira cracking the world’s Top 10, rising from No. 11 to No. 10, and Kasel surging from No. 17 to No.14.
Friday night’s competition also included an American Bucking Bull Inc. (ABBI) Classic event in conjunction with Round 1 that included 40 of the top 3- and 4-year-old up-and-coming bulls. An ABBI Classic competition is the next step in a young bovine’s competitive career that involves bucking with a rider.
Juju (Julian/D&H Cattle) earned the Fort Worth Classic Champion title with a 91.8-point out against young gun Colten Fritzlan (Rifle, Colorado), earning more than $9,000. Mr. Right Now (Silent 7/Hilton Bull Co.) was second with a 90-points effort, earning nearly $5,500, while recently crowned Del Rio Classic Champion Manaba (Webb/Julian/D&H Cattle Co.) was third with 89.6 points for $4,300.
Body Count (Bob & Jeri Adams/BS Cattle) posted 89.2 points for a fourth-place finish and $3,600, and Ranch Water (Waller/Red Laces) rounded out the Top 5 with 88.8 points for $3,000 and fifth-place.
Fans can relive all the action from Round 1 starting at 8:00 a.m. EST on Saturday, February 27, on RidePass, at RidePass.com or via the mobile app.
The PBR Can-Am Invitational from Fort Worth and the iconic Cowtown Coliseum will conclude on Saturday, February 27, starting at 8:00 p.m. CST, with Round 2 and the championship round.
PBR Unleash The Beast: American Roots EditionPBR Can-Am InvitationalCowtown Coliseum – Fort Worth, TexasEvent Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Jose Vitor Leme, 91-0-0-91.00-29 Points.
2. João Ricardo Vieira, 89.5-0-0-89.50-18 Points.
3. Alex Cerqueira, 88-0-0-88.00-16 Points.
(tie). Dalton Kasel, 88-0-0-88.00-16 Points.
(tie). Rafael Henrique dos Santos, 88-0-0-88.00-16 Points.
6. Ezekiel Mitchell, 87.5-0-0-87.50-14 Points.
7. Eduardo Aparecido, 85.75-0-0-85.75-13 Points.
8. Luciano De Castro, 85.5-0-0-85.50-12 Points.
9. Boudreaux Campbell, 84.25-0-0-84.25-11 Points.
10. J.T. Moore, 82.25-0-0-82.25-10 Points.
11. Marcus Mast, 79-0-0-79.00-1 Points.
12. Kaique Pacheco, 77.5-0-0-77.50
13. Alex Cardozo, 67.25-0-0-67.25
Cooper Davis, 0-0-0-0.00
Junior Patrik Souza, 0-0-0-0.00
Mauricio Gulla Moreira, 0-0-0-0.00
Colten Fritzlan, 0-0-0-0.00
Cole Melancon, 0-0-0-0.00
Dener Barbosa, 0-0-0-0.00
Marco Eguchi, 0-0-0-0.00
Keyshawn Whitehorse, 0-0-0-0.00
Silvano Alves, 0-0-0-0.00
Derek Kolbaba, 0-0-0-0.00
Cody Teel, 0-0-0-0.00
Brennon Eldred, 0-0-0-0.00
Taylor Toves, 0-0-0-0.00
Marcelo Procopio Pereira, 0-0-0-0.00
Kyler Oliver, 0-0-0-0.00
Claudio Montanha Jr., 0-0-0-0.00
Mason Taylor, 0-0-0-0.00
Thiago Salgado, 0-0-0-0.00
Rodrigo Melgar, 0-0-0-0.00
Chase Dougherty, 0-0-0-0.00
Dakota Louis, 0-0-0-0.00
Jess Lockwood, 0-0-0-0.00
João Henrique Lucas, 0-0-0-0.00
Lucas Divino, 0-0-0-0.00
Ramon de Lima, 0-0-0-0.00
J.B. Mauney, 0-0-0-0.00
Cody Jesus, 0-0-0-0.00