(Editor's note: PBR release)
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – South Dakota resident Matt Triplett (Canton, South Dakota) didn’t fare well in the state he now calls home. The former Montana man was thrown to the dirt in just 1.7 seconds by The Undertaker (Cornwell Bucking Bulls/ Riley Bucking Bulls) straining his right groin in Friday's opening round of the PBR's First PREMIER Bank PREMIER Bankcard Invitational.
Triplett didn't compete in Rounds 2 or 3 in Sioux Falls. Montana's Jess Lockwood didn't record an eight-second ride over the weekend.
Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil), hurt in Sunday's final round before the gate opened, regrouped, gritted his teeth, fought off the pain, and went on to put up two 90-point rides to win the premier series event in walk-off fashion.
The two clutch rides capped a perfect 4-for-4 weekend for Leme at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, allowing the reigning PBR World Champion to win his second PBR Unleash the Beast (UTB) event of the 2021 season.
While preparing to mount Lil 2 Train (Jane Clark/ Gene Owen), Leme’s ankle, which had been broken in the first event of the 2021 season, was badly twisted when it was pinned against the chute panel. After leaving the chute, Leme regrouped and conquered Lil 2 Train for a 90.5-point score, his sixth of the season, landing him atop the leaderboard as the day’s opening round ended.
For the last out of the event – the first major professional sporting event since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to welcome fans into an indoor arena at full capacity – Leme was in second place, needing 90.5 points to win. He had selected Hundred Bad Days (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co) in the championship round, a bull he rode for 91 points in Ft. Worth in late February. Leme erupted from the chutes in complete control on the bull for a monster 92.25-point score, his seventh 90-point ride of the season, leading the PBR.
“I just focus on my bull to try to do my best,” Leme said. “I feel some pain, but we need to be cowboy and ride the bulls. That’s what I came for. I try to focus on my bull to do my job.”
Leme, who now sits at No. 3 in the world standings, is within striking distance of world No.1 Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil), a mere 95.5 points behind his Brazilian countryman.
“Jose is just the best bull rider in the world right now, bar none,” said PBR on CBS analyst J.W. Hart
Pacheco’s weekend was less than exemplary as he went 1-for-3, bucking off both his Round 1 and Round 2 bulls. In Round 3 on Sunday, the 2018 World Champion was able to put up an 86-point score in his matchup with Rising Sun (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger/ Clay Struve/Heald Pro Bulls) but did not make the cut for the championship round.
For his efforts, Leme earned a check for $37,414.41 in addition to 178.5 world points.
For video highlights of Round 3 and the championship round, including Leme’s winning ride, courtesy PBR, click here [ftp.pbr.com].
Surging veteran Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil), the only other rider to go a perfect 4-for-4, left Sioux Falls with a second-place finish for the weekend and a career-high ride for the record books that, for a moment, appeared to cement the event win.
Earlier in the night in Round 3, before his championship-round battle with Leme that came down to the wire, the Brazilian veteran was matched up with Sun Country (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger/ Clay Struve/ WSM Auctioneers) where he collected an 87.5 ride score and walked off the dirt with his warm signature smile.
Vieira then chose I’m Legit Too (Hart Cattle Co/Hale) in the championship round, gunning for the win. His impressive 93-point ride – the top score of the short round and a career high for Vieira – was met with a raucous roar from the boisterous Sioux Falls crowd as well as rowdy congratulations from his fellow competitors.
Vieira could only shake his head and smile when Leme then put up a 92.25-point score for the walk-off win. The second-place event finish further secured Vieira’s hold on the No. 4 position in the world standings. He leaves South Dakota with 134 world points and $26,028.92.
Third place went to went to Dener Barbosa (Paulo de Faria, Brazil).
Barbosa began Sunday afternoon aboard Skeeter Peter (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger/Clay Struve) for a solid 87.25-point score headed into the championship round.
The talented young Brazilian rider chose Boogie Bomb (Jane Clark/Gene Owen) but to the crowd’s dismay, he bucked off after just 4.96 seconds.
Barbosa’s 3-for-4 weekend earned him 89.5 world points and $13,944.87. He began the weekend at No. 12 in the world and has now launched to the No. 5 spot, just below Vieira.
Cody Nance (Paris, Tennessee) came in fourth for the weekend after going 3-for-4. Nance was paired with Ponotoc (Hart Cattle Co/ Eldred) in Round 3 for an energetic 82.5-point ride but came down hard in the championship round when I’m Busted (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger/ Clay Struve/ Ken Barnhart) dispatched him after just 2.75 seconds.
The veteran from Tennessee, who saw his first qualified rides on the premier series since October 2020 this weekend, earned 68.5 world points and $10,306.28. Nance moved from No. 31 in the world at the event’s start to now hold the No. 20 position.
Rounding out the Top 5 of the weekend was Marco Eguchi (Poa, Brazil) with a 2-for-4 performance. The confident Brazilian was matched with Puddle Dock Road (Cornwell Bucking Bulls/ Bierema Rodeo Inc.) in Round 3, where he was bucked off at 5.17 seconds.
In the championship round, Eguchi selected Bread Basket (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co). After a review of his ride, the judges awarded him a re-ride. Paired against Secret Weapon (444 Bucking Bulls/ Stockyards/ Winston/ Durham/ Davis/Melton), he was no match for the powerful bovine, flung to the ground after just 4.22 seconds.
Despite his buckoffs on Sunday, Eguchi claimed the fifth-place position. He earned 56.5 world points and $9,982.62, moving up from No. 18 in the world to No. 15.
Marquis Metal Works Red Clark (Paradigm Bull Co/Wentz) took home the “YETI Bull of the Event” honor. The energetic bovine bucked to a 46-point bull score when he launched Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington) to the ground during Sunday’s championship round in 5.08 seconds.
The PBR Unleash The Beast next travels to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and the Chesapeake Energy Arena for the PBR Express Ranches Invitational on Saturday, April 17 at 6:45 p.m. CDT and Sunday, April 18 at 1:45 p.m. CDT.
Elsewhere in the PBR, four-time World Finals qualifier Paulo Ferreira Lima (Bezerros, Brazil) went a perfect 3-for-3 at the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour’s Aggieland Classic to win the league’s first-ever event held in College Station, Texas.
After tying for fourth in Round 1 on Friday night courtesy of an 86-point trip on Slim Shady (Rio Vista Rodeo & Equipment), Lima was flawless in Round 2 when he covered City Slicker (Rafter JML Cattle/Lewallen) for a matching 86-point score.
In the championship round, Lima surged to the top of the leaderboard and clinched the victory when he went the distance atop Breaking Records (H&H Bucking Bulls) for 86.5 points. Earning 35.5 world points, Lima gained significant ground in the world standings, rising from No. 62 to No. 37. Eager to return to the elite Unleash The Beast, Lima now trails the Top 30 and a berth to the premier series by 22.67 points.
PBR Unleash The Beast - PREMIER Bank PREMIER Bankcard Invitational
Denny Sanford PREMIER Center -Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Jose Vitor Leme, 88.25-83.5-90.5-92.25-354.50-178.5 Points.
2. João Ricardo Vieira, 85-87-87.5-93-352.50-134 Points.
3. Dener Barbosa, 88-83.5-87.25-0-258.75-89.5 Points.
4. Cody Nance, 88-85-82.5-0-255.50-68.5 Points.
5. Marco Eguchi, 88-88.75-0-0-176.75-56.5 Points.
6. Colten Fritzlan, 88-0-87-0-175.00-48.5 Points.
7. Eduardo Aparecido, 85.5-86.25-0-0-171.75-34.5 Points.
(tie). Marcelo Procopio Pereira, 87.75-0-84-0-171.75-36 Points.
9. Derek Kolbaba, 89.5-0-0-0-89.50-33 Points.
10. Cody Jesus, 0-89.25-0-0-89.25-31 Points.
11. Cody Teel, 0-87.25-0-0-87.25-18 Points.
(tie). Ramon de Lima, 0-0-87.25-0-87.25-17.5 Points.
13. Silvano Alves, 86.25-0-0-0-86.25-12 Points.
14. Kaique Pacheco, 0-0-86-0-86.00-14 Points.
(tie). Andrew Alvidrez, 86-0-0-0-86.00-11 Points.
16. Chase Dougherty, 85.5-0-0-0-85.50-9.5 Points.
17. Rafael Henrique dos Santos, 84-0-0-0-84.00-8 Points.
18. Alex Cerqueira, 0-0-80.75-0-80.75-11 Points.
19. Junior Patrik Souza, 78.25-0-0-0-78.25
20. Rodrigo Melgar, 0-0-63.5-0-63.50-2 Points.
Cooper Davis, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Cole Melancon, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Keyshawn Whitehorse, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Boudreaux Campbell, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Mauricio Gulla Moreira, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Jess Lockwood, 0-0-0-0-0.00
João Henrique Lucas, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Ezekiel Mitchell, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Claudio Montanha Jr., 0-0-0-0-0.00
Kyle Jones, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Luciano De Castro, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Eli Vastbinder, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Marcus Mast, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Shane Proctor, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Thiago Salgado, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Dakota Louis, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Chase Outlaw, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Wallace Vieira de Oliveira, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Matt Triplett, 0-0-0-0-0.00