Finishing second, reigning PBR World Champion Jose Vitor Leme overtakes Kaique Pacheco for world No. 1 rank
OMAHA, Neb. – The already feverish 2021 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) World Championship race further intensified this afternoon at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, as 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas) delivered a walk-off 90-point ride to clinch his first Unleash The Beast event victory of 2021, winning the PBR Union Home Mortgage Invitational.
Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) finished second to overtake Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) in the world standings, surging to the world No. 1 rank for the first time in 2021.
Davis’s march to victory began in Round 1 when he reversed a buckoff from the 2019 season, making the 8 aboard Zorro(Jane Clark/Gene Owen) for 88.5 points.
Entering Round 2 tied for second on the event leaderboard, the Texan vaulted to the No. 1 position when he rode Danny Boy (Cooper/Scruggs Bucking Bulls) for 88.75 points.
With the first pick in the championship round bull draft, Davis architected a rematch drafting Trail of Tears (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/MAGA Cattle/Roper Angus), who he first met in 2019 during Round 5 of the PBR World Finals, earning a 90.75-point score.
Once again making magic atop the Chad Berger bull, Davis left the remainder of the contenders in a trail of dust when he covered Trail of Tears for a season-best 92.25 points.
“I try to tell myself to keep my head down and pay attention to what I need to focus on,” Davis said dirtside moments after winning the event. “I rode [Trail of Tears} at the Finals one year. He’s done nothing but get better ever since. I was glad to try him again, and I’m glad it worked out. I’ve worked my butt off all year to come up short a few times, now being on top, it feels pretty good.”
In addition to his three qualified rides in the main event, Davis also converted in the event’s accompanying 15/15 Bucking Battle Saturday evening. Riding King Brute (Henry Wilson/Blake Sharp/T&M Services) for 78.5 points, the 27-year-old finished third in the special round.
Collectively, Davis earned a check for $32,823.14 and a critical 179 world points. While he began the event ranked No. 4 in the world, 260.5 points behind the top spot, Davis rose to No. 3 in the word, now within 123 points of No. 1 Leme.
Leme’s silver effort – his sixth Top-5 finish of 2021 – earned him $18,023.74 and 107.5 world points, catapulting him to the world No. 1 rank, overtaking now No. 2 Pacheco by 27.5 points.
Leme got off to a hot start in Omaha, winning his league-leading seventh round when he topped Round 1 of the PBR Union Home Mortgage Invitational with an 89.25-point ride on Blue Crush (Cord McCoy/Chad Reese).
The former semi-professional soccer player then became the first rider in 19 attempts across all levels of competition to cover Canadian-raised Jayded (Vold/Hart Cattle Co.) in Round 2 when he made the whistle for 86.75 points.
With his seemingly unstoppable form on full display in the championship round, Leme brought the raucous crowd to its feet when he delivered his PBR-leading 10th 90-point ride of the season, riding I’m Legit Too (Hart Cattle Co./Hale) for 91.75 points.
Thus far in 2021, Leme is on course to further cement his name in the PBR record books.
Should he repeat as the league’s World Champion, he would become just the second rider to win the sport’s most prestigious honor in back-to-back seasons, joining three-time World Champion Silvano Alves (Pilar do Sul, Brazil) who won his first two titles consecutively in 2011 and 2012. Additionally, Leme would become just the seventh multi-time PBR World Champion in league history.
Further, Leme continues to hone in on the PBR season record for most round wins and 90-point rides. Two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney (Statesville, North Carolina) won a league-best 19 rounds in 2013, while 1999 PBR World Champion Cody Hart (Gainesville, Texas) logged 16 90-point rides the season he won the coveted gold buckle.
After leading the world for four weeks, Pacheco slipped to No. 2 after finishing 12th in the Cornhusker State, earning just 14 world points.
Rebounding from a 2.34-second buckoff aboard DJ Long John (Blake sharp/High Voltage Cattle) in Round 1, Pacheco became the final rider to advance to the championship round when he made the 8 aboard Wicked Hou (Hart Cattle Co./Hale/Randy Wood) for 87.5 points in Round 2.
The 2018 PBR World Champion, however, was unable to continue his momentum, bested by Kickstart My Heart (Cord McCoy/Ortega/Cryogen) in 3.42 seconds in the final round.
Dener Barbosa (Paulo de Faria, Brazil) continued his march up the world standings, delivering four qualified rides in Omaha to win the 15/15 Bucking Battle and finish third in the main event.
The 27-year-old won the event’s special round compliments of his career-best third 90-point ride of the 2021 season. Becoming the first rider to cover Marquis Metal Works Red Clark (Paradigm Bull Co./Wentz), snapping the bull’s 16-out buckoff streak across all level of competition, Barbosa was marked a career-best 91.25 points.
In the main event of the PBR premier series’ first visit to Omaha in 12 years, Barbosa reached the championship round after covering Concealed Carry (Gene Owen/Jerry Rush) for 85.25 points in Round 1 and Stretch (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Heald Pro Bulls) for 87.75 points in Round 2.
Barbosa then completed his flawless effort in Nebraska when he capped his event with an 88.5-point score aboard CopperPoint Swagger (Hart Cattle Co./Hale) in the championship round. A familiar matchup, the qualified ride avenged a buckoff from Billings, Montana in 2020 when the bull bested Barbosa in 5.43 seconds.
Barbosa earned $20,655.98 and 138.5 world points throughout the weekend. Solidifying his stronghold on the world No. 5 rank, Barbosa is now within 289.67 points of the top spot after beginning the event 387.67 points back.
Despite slipping to No. 4 in the world, Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil) converted in Omaha to remain inside the world’s Top 5. Going 1-for-3 to conclude the tour stop eighth, Vieira earned 33 world points. He now trails No. 1 Leme by 137.5 points.
Vieira’s lone qualified ride was registered in Round 2 when he rode Slingin Tears (Blake Sharp/Henry Wilson/Caveman Bucking Bull) for a round-winning 89.25 points.
In fourth was Rookie of the Year contender Colten Fritzlan (Rifle, Colorado), netting 47.5 world points.
The surging young gun advanced to the final round after delivering back-to-back scores in the opening rounds, covering @PBR on TikTok (Paradigm Bull Company) for 87.75 points in Round 1, and American Gangster (Jane Clark/Gene Owen) for 86.75 points in Round 2.
Seeking his second event win of 2021, Fritzlan’s hopes of victory were dashed in the championship round when he was bucked off by Midnight Rock (Cord McCoy/Pioneer Bulls) in a hard-fought 4.15 seconds.
Fritzlan remained No. 6 in the world and trails the No. 1 position by 480 points. In the Rookie of the Year race, the 21-year-old extended his lead atop the rankings, now 185 points ahead of second-place contender Chase Dougherty(Stephenville, Texas).
Rounding out the Top 5 was Cody Teel (College Station, Texas) in fifth.
The poised Texan earned 42.5 world points after riding Skeeter Peter (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve) for 86.5 points in Round 1 and Facetious (Paradigm Bull Company) for 87 points in Round 2.
In the bull pen, 2020 ABBI (American Bucking Bull, Inc.) Classic Champion Woopaa (Barker Bulls/Hookin’ W Ranch) earned his league-leading third YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event honor after posting a monstrous 46-point effort in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, dispatching Cody Nance (Paris, Tennessee) in a quick 3.88 seconds.
The dominant out also allowed Woopaa to further solidify his No. 1 rank in the 2021 YETI PBR World Champion Bull race. With a 46.45-point world average, Woopaa now leads No. 2 Chiseled (Flinn/D&H Cattle Co.) by 0.75 points.
Following a one-week break, the PBR Unleash the Beast will next travel to Billings, Montana, and MetraPark for the PBR Wrangler Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires. The event will be on Friday, May 14 at 7:45 p.m. MDT, Saturday, May 15 at 6:45 p.m. MDT and Sunday, May 16 at 1:45 p.m. MDT.
Elsewhere in the league, at the first-ever PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event held in tandem with the iconic Buc Days in Corpus Christi, Texas, Caic Cassio Carvalho (Goias, Brazil) reached a critical career milestone. He went a flawless 3-for-3 to earn his first-ever event win on the league’s expansion series, victorious at the Buc Days PBR Chute Out, presented by Coastal Bend Chevy Dealers.
As the lone rider to be perfect inside the American Bank Center, Carvalho got off to a quick start in Round 1 Friday evening, finishing third courtesy of an 87-point effort aboard GEMB 756 (Silent 7/Hilton Bull Co.).
When Championship Saturday got underway, the 27-year-old once again reached the 8-second whistle for an 87-point score in Round 2, going the distance aboard Reckless Red (Rafter JML Cattle).
Carvalho then clinched the victory in the championship round when he covered Just Another Gangster (Winston Bucking Bulls/Melton Bull Co.) for 86.5 points.
For his efforts, the surging Brazilian earned 40 world points, catapulting 44 positions in the world standings from No. 91 to No. 47.
Fans can relive all the action from both the PBR Unleash The Beast’s Union Home Mortgage Invitational and Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour’s Buc Days PBR Chute Out starting at 8:00 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 3, on RidePass, at RidePass.com or via the mobile app.