SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The world’s No. 1 bull rider, Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil), powered his team to the first multi-event team championship in PBR history with key support from a surging Keyshawn Whitehorse (McCraken Springs, Utah). In addition to Leme and Whitehorse, the bulls also starred in the Championship Sunday finale of PBR’s new team tournament, the Monster Energy Team Challenge, live on CBS with fans welcomed back into the arena. The bulls dominated the matchup, producing five scores over 45 points in the first half, and seven during the game.
Team Cooper Tires Captain Jose Vitor Leme got the scoring going, taking care of business aboard Sitting Bull (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Diamond Willow) for 88.75 points to end the first half.
Opening the second half for Cooper Tires, 2018 PBR Rookie of the Year Keyshawn Whitehorse bested Stretch (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Heald Pro Bulls) for 88.5 points to finish the scoring for the Championship Game.
Though Leme was bucked off Low Dog (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Ken Barnhard) on his team’s final out with the championship already wrapped up for Team Cooper Tires, his 11-for-16 (68.75%) performance through the team tournament locked up the Built Ford Tough MVP award and the $10,000 payday.
“Leme just refuses to give up,” said PBR on CBS color analyst and two-time PBR World Champion Justin McBride. “He’s a good athlete and an even better competitor.”
Leme wasn’t a one-man team, as Whitehorse, who surged during the playoffs, going 3-for-4, finished fifth in the MVP race. Overall, Whitehorse went 6-for-9 throughout the tournament.
Marco Eguchi (Poa, Brazil) and Team Pendleton Whisky faced off against the likes of Chiseled (Flinn/D&H Cattle Co) who was marked a tournament-high 47 points, 2019 YETI World Champion Bull Smooth Operator (Dakota Rodeo/Julie Rosen/Clay Struve/Chad Berger) and Milk Man (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co.), who were each marked 45.75 points.
Team Pendleton Whisky was shut out for the first time in the team tournament, and finished the challenge 6-2.
Team Cooper Tires’ dominant run, which included entering the championship game with the most points per game (268.6) and rides per game (3.1), resulted in an 8-0 record and the first Monster Energy Team Challenge Championship.
“This team was incredible start to finish,” said Team Cooper Tires’ Sage Kimzey. “We all bought in and gave 110%. We all had someone to fall back on if we ever slipped.”
“This feels amazing in front of these great fans,” said Keyshawn Whitehorse of Team Cooper Tires. “It doesn’t get much better than this.”
“I’m so happy and we’re so blessed to win,” said Built Ford Tough MVP Jose Vitor Leme. “I have to thank these guys with me, and the fans that were here this weekend. Thank you all.”
Team Cooper Tires: 177.25 points
Team Pendleton Whisky: 0 points