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After career-first event win in Arizona, Bunch heads for St. Louis No. 1 in Unleash The Beast standings

TUCSON, Ariz. – As the 2024 world title race got underway this weekend in Arizona, 20-year-old Caden Bunch (Tahlequah, Oklahoma) threw his hat in the contender ring after an impeccable 3-for-3 weekend, clinching a career-first premier series win at the 2024 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Unleash The Beast (UTB) season-launch event in Tucson.  


As Championship Saturday began, the 2024 season was already off to a momentous start for Bunch, courtesy of an 86-point Round 1 ride Friday night aboard Ah Hell (Cooper / Scruggs Bucking Bulls).


Riding for the Oklahoma Freedom in the 2023 PBR Camping World Team Series, which recently announced a move to South Florida to become the Florida Freedom in 2024, the Oklahoma cowboy knocked down 64% of his rides for the team in the recently concluded season.


Picking up where he left off the night before as he exploded from the chutes Saturday night aboard Mighty Mike (Braun Bucking Bulls) in Round 2, Bunch’s solid 88.25-point ride punched his ticket to the final round.


Bunch, who would be the very last man to ride in Tucson, then selected Concho (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger/ Pronghorn Well Service) as his bovine opponent in the championship round.


With fans inside Tucson Arena on the edge of their seats, Bunch dismounted the athletic animal following the 8-second buzzer and walked across the arena, pumping his fist in the air as a giant smile spread across his face. Needing an 89-point ride to claim the win, the arena erupted when announcers revealed his 89.25-point ride won the weekend.


As one of six riders to go 3-for-3 over the weekend, Bunch’s first premier series win earned him a $41,855.17 check. He also collected 125 points and now tops the UTB standings in the race for the 2024 world title.


Seven-time PRCA world champion Sage Steele Kimzey (Strong City, Oklahoma) and veteran Brazilian Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil) also had clutch 3-for-3 weekends to split second place in Tucson.


Vieira, who began the weekend by besting Nitty Gritty (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger) on Friday, knew he had ground to gain as he entered Saturday at No. 11 on the event leaderboard.


Sailing through Round 2 with an 87.25-point dance with Border Crisis (Hart Cattle Co/Hale), the 39-year-old Texas Rattler set his sites on his final ride of the weekend.


With Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) holding the No. 1 spot after a massive 90.75-point ride in the championship round, the highest of the event, Vieira knew the hill he had to climb as he stood on the back of the chutes.


In perfect form as Chateau Montelena’s Montana Jacket (Vella/ Coleman/ Ogden/ Hart) launched through the air, Vieira turned in one of his signature 90-point rides to slide into the No. 1 spot on the leaderboard until he was overtaken by Bunch.


Starting the weekend aboard Texas Twister (Leffew Bucking Bulls) Friday night, Kimzey, a member of the 2023 Carolina Cowboys, sailed into Saturday with his 86-point score.


Early on Saturday, Kimzey was matched with Off Campus (Shuler Bucking Bulls) for Round 2. His 88-point score paved his way to the championship round. 


Climbing atop the shark cage in hopes of collecting his first-ever UTB win, the 29-year-old champion bull rider selected Renegade (Hart Cattle Company) in the championship round.


Matching the bull’s athleticism and talent, Kimzey gave it his all for an 89-point ride score to tie with Vieira.


For his efforts, Kimzey, who now sits in the No. 3 position in the standings, earned 85.5 points and $15,104.17, while Vieira leaves Tucson with $16, 237.67 and 87 points to hold the No. 2 spot in the standings.


After being edged from the No. 1 spot on the event leaderboard by Vieira and Kimzey and then ultimately Bunch, two-time PBR World Champion Leme rounded out the weekend with a fourth-place finish.


The Austin Gamblers’ leading rider walked into Saturday at No. 4 in the event after his 88.75-point ride aboard Hostage (Hart Cattle Co/ Hale/ Randy Wood) in Round 1.


After an uncharacteristically low 82.75-point ride in Round 2 aboard Lone Star (Diamond Bar/ L&B), his spot was secured in the championship round.


Leme carefully selected High Wire (Hart Cattle Company) as his matchup for the final round. Matching the crowd’s energy, the Brazilian phenom was ecstatic as he heard his 90.75-point ride score announced to take a temporary lead in the event.


Collecting 74 points and $10,113.67, Leme now sits at No. 4 in the UTB standings as the battle for the next world title, a hopeful third for the Brazilian, begins. 


In all, there were two 90-point rides in Saturday’s championship round – Leme and Vieira.


Arizona’s own Cody Jesus (Window Rock, Arizona) rounded out the Top 5, also sporting a 3-for-3 weekend.


With a determined look on his face and fresh off his win in Las Vegas with the Texas Rattlers to clinch the 2023 PBR Teams Championship title, Jesus bested July (Leffew Bucking Bulls) for 88.5 points on Friday night to jumpstart the weekend.


The “Pride of the Navajo Nation” was paired with Taylor’s Cowtown Throwdown (Farris Cattle/ Big Schott Rodeo/ Triple T Livestock) in Saturday’s long round to record an 83.75-point score and sail into the championship round. 


With his youthful grin, the recently engaged Arizona native chose Joy’s Bang Bang (Shuler Bucking Bulls) for his final pairing.


His home state crowd roaring in support, Jesus exploded from the chutes, but his 89.5-point ride was not enough to collect the weekend win.  


Despite his fifth-place finish, he earned 57 points and now sits in the No. 5 spot in the UTB standings.


In the bull pen, the impressive 44.5-point buckoff by Devil’s Revenge (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger/ Lucky Blue Crab Bucking Bulls) in his Round 2 matchup with Austin Richardson (Dallas, Texas) earned the esteemed animal athlete the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event title.


PBR RidePass on Pluto TV will offer re-airs and on-demand replays of every PBR UTB event including the season opener in Tucson. PBR RidePass is available on desktops, laptops and mobile devices via


The PBR Unleash The Beast next travels to St Louis, Missouri for PBR St. Louis on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 6:45 p.m. CST and Sunday, Dec. 3, at 1:45 p.m. CST.

PBR Unleash The Beast Tucson

Tucson Arena -Tucson, Arizona

Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)

  1. Caden Bunch, 86-88.25-89.25-263.50-125 Points.
  2. Sage Steele Kimzey, 86-88-89-263.00-85.5 Points.

(tie). João Ricardo Vieira, 85.75-87.25-90-263.00-87 Points.

  1. Jose Vitor Leme, 88.75-82.75-90.75-262.25-74 Points.
  2. Cody Jesus, 88.5-83.75-89.5-261.75-57 Points.
  3. Cassio Dias, 89-69.5-89.25-247.75-48.5 Points.
  4. Brady Oleson, 87.25-84.75-0-172.00-32.5 Points.
  5. Ednélio Almeida, 86-85.75-0-171.75-30.5 Points.
  6. Wyatt Rogers, 83-84-0-167.00-21.5 Points.
  7. Paulo Eduardo Rosseto, 86-69-0-155.00-13.5 Points.
  8. Andrew Alvidrez, 89-0-0-89.00-21.33 Points.

(tie). Kyler Oliver, 89-0-0-89.00-21.33 Points.

(tie). John Crimber, 0-89-0-89.00-28.33 Points.

  1. Kaiden Loud, 0-86.75-0-86.75-15 Points.
  2. Lucas Divino, 85.5-0-0-85.50-8 Points.
  3. Daniel Keeping, 85.25-0-0-85.25-8 Points.
  4. Austin Richardson, 85-0-0-85.00-8 Points.
  5. Dalton Kasel, 0-84.75-0-84.75-12.5 Points.
  6. Conner Halverson, 84.5-0-0-84.50-8 Points.
  7. Thiago Salgado, 0-84.25-0-84.25-11 Points.
  8. Alex Cerqueira, 0-84-0-84.00-9.5 Points.
  9. Daylon Swearingen, 82.25-0-0-82.25-8 Points.
  10. Chase Dougherty, 74.5-0-0-74.50
  11. Trace Redd, 73.75-0-0-73.75-7 Points.
  12. Bob Mitchell, 73.25-0-0-73.25-7 Points.
  13. Julio Cesar Marques, 71.75-0-0-71.75-7 Points.

Boudreaux Campbell, 0-0-0-0.00

Jesse Petri, 0-0-0-0.00

Rafael dos Santos, 0-0-0-0.00

Ezekiel Mitchell, 0-0-0-0.00

Eli Vastbinder, 0-0-0-0.00

Koltin Hevalow, 0-0-0-0.00

Casey Roberts, 0-0-0-0.00

Mauricio Gulla Moreira, 0-0-0-0.00

Briggs Madsen, 0-0-0-0.00

Ednei Caminhas, 0-0-0-0.00

Cladson Rodolfo, 0-0-0-0.00

Jean Fernandes Pereira, 0-0-0-0.00