In his season debut, Leme earned 158.5 Unleash The Beast points to catapult from unranked to No. 10 in the race for the 2023 PBR World Championship
NEW YORK CITY – As the record-setting PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Unleash The Beast event in New York City wound to a close, two-time World Champion Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) was electric in his 2023 season debut. Leme went 3-for-4 and delivered the high-marked ride of the tour stop when it counted most in the championship round to clinch the victory at the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden, presented by Ariat.
Chasing his record-tying third World Championship, Leme’s golden finish propelled him from unranked to No. 10 in the race for the 2023 gold buckle.
“It’s my first time winning in Madison Square Garden and my first win of the season,” Leme said. “I’m so happy to be healthy again. I thank the Lord for allowing me to do what l love and being here in New York with these great fans supporting us.”
As action got underway inside Madison Square Garden Friday evening, Leme quickly struck in Round 1 when he covered Pickle Moonshine (Shuler Bucking Bulls) for 87.75 points.
Tied for fifth on the event leaderboard, Leme rose to second when he converted aboard Bad Decisions (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co.) for 86.5 points in Round 2.
Leme was finally stopped by Choc Tease (Cord McCoy/BuzzBallz LLC/McCoy Rodeo) as Championship Sunday got underway with Round 3, tossed to the dirt in a swift 3.25 seconds.
The 2-for-3 showing gave Leme the third pick in the championship round bull draft, which he used to select Cliff Hanger (Cord McCoy/Pioneer Bulls/McCoy Rodeo), a decision which paid dividends.
Leme remained in perfect time with the animal athlete and reached the requisite 8 for a mammoth 92 points, putting him into the event lead for good to hoist the one-of-a-kind Charging Bull championship trophy. The monster score was Leme’s 65th 90-point ride in premier-series competition and is the second-best score thus far in 2023.
With the victory, Leme earned a crucial 158.5 Unleash The Beast points along with a check for $45,825. Unranked prior to the tour stop, Leme catapulted to No. 10 in the World Championship race, now within 218.5 points of No. 1 Andrew Alvidrez (Seminole, Texas).
Second was Eduardo Aparecido (Gouvelandia, Brazil), garnering $21,906 and 109 Unleash The Beast points.
After a swift 2.36-second buckoff dealt to him by Tested’s Viper (Hookin’ W LeFlore Bucking Bulls) in Round 1, Aparecido reversed course.
The reserved Brazilian first struck in Round 2 when he rode Theodore (Lari Crane/Gene Owen) for 86 points.
Aparecido then continued to climb the event standings and punched his ticket to the championship round when he covered Concho (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls) for a matching 86 points.
The back-to-back qualified rides elevated Aparecido to fifth in the event standings, providing him the opportunity to select Tulsa Time (Cord McCoy/Kelly & Cami Heath/McCoy Rodeo) as his final animal athlete opponent.
Bringing the electric crowd to its feet, Aparecido conquered the powerful bovine athlete for a commanding 90.5 points to clinch the runner-up finish.
After traveling to The World’s Most Famous Arena™ ranked No. 20 in the Unleash The Beast standings, Aparecido will return home as the new No. 7-ranked rider in the standings. He is just 202.5 points back of No. 1 Alvidrez.
Reigning PBR Rookie of the Year Bob Mitchell (Steelville, Missouri) was third.
Mitchell was sensational as competition got underway in Round 1 for the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden, presented by Ariat, tying for the top score when he rode Tijuana Two-Step (M Rafter E Bulls) for 90 points.
The charismatic Missouri native then retained his spot atop the leaderboard when he covered White Dust (Mike Miller Bucking Bulls) for 85 points in Round 2.
Despite being bested by Rank Frank (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls) in 3.11 seconds in the third round, Mitchell’s first two scores were enough to keep him atop the leaderboard.
Mitchell then confidently selected Canadian-born Moonlight Party (Jane Clark/Gene Owen) as his championship round opponent.
The selection, however, did not go in Mitchell’s favor as he was tossed in a hard-fought 5.83 seconds.
The podium finish garnered Mitchell $12,063 and a critical 80 Unleash The Beast points. He surged 14 positions in the World Championship standings, climbing from No. 30 to No. 16.
Jesse Petri (Dublin, Texas) went 2-for-4 to finish fourth.
Petri’s 87-point score atop Viper (Cord McCoy/Big Sky Bulls, LLC/McCoy Rodeo) in Round 2 and 87.25-point effort aboard Norse God (Jane Clark/Gene Owen) in Round 3 earned him $10,369 and 67 Unleash The Beast points.
Chasing his first gold buckle, the Texan is now ranked inside the Top 10 in the standings, rising from No. 14 to No. 8. He is now within 210.5 points of the top position.
Rounding out the Top 5 in fifth was Thiago Salgado (Navirai, Brazil).
Salgado converted in Round 1 and Round 3, riding Cowboy Playboy (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls) for 87.75 points and Razzmatazz (M Rafter E/High View Cattle) for 86 points, respectively.
He left Madison Square Garden with 52 Unleash The Beast points, rising from No. 6 to No. 4 in the Unleash The Beast standings. Salgado is now within 158.5 points of No. 1 Alvidrez.
In the bull pen, reigning YETI World Champion Bull Ridin Solo (Cord McCoy/Bill McCarty/McCoy Rodeo) and Dennis The Menace (Viducic Bucking Bulls/White Trash Buckers) tied for the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event honor, each marked 45.5 points in the championship round.
Ridin Solo posted the score courtesy of his 4.73-second buckoff of Salgado, while Dennis The Menace earned the marks when he tossed Koltin Hevalow (Smithville, Missouri) in 2.3 seconds.
Elsewhere in the PBR, the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour held events in both Lexington, Kentucky, and Portland, Oregon.
Delivering an unmatched performance on Championship Saturday, sweeping both rounds of competition, Alex Marcilio (Macaubal, Brazil) won the expansion series event inside the iconic Rupp Arena, victorious at the Lexington Invitational.
Marcilio first put points on the board in Round 1 when he covered Rock Solid’s Cowboy Cartel (Rock Solid Bucking Bulls) for 85 points.
Tied for seventh on the event leaderboard, Marcilio then faced Shakira (Cannon Cattle Co.) as Championship Saturday got underway in Round 2. In a perfect pairing, Marcilio conquered the powerful animal athlete for 88.5 points to win the round and punch his ticket to the final round.
The steadfast Brazilian then went to work against Hey Bartender (JQH Bucking Bulls/Skip & Elaine Jones) in the championship round. Remaining white-hot, Marcilio delivered another round-winning 88.5-point score to clinch the event victory.
For his efforts, Marcilio garnered a crucial 148.5 Velocity Global points.
At the PBR ZipRecruiter Classic at Moda Center in Portland, Conner Halverson (Gordon, Nebraska) secured the third Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event win of his career.
Halverson, one of only three men to successfully go 2-for-2 in Oregon, was paired with Buckeye (Howell Rodeo Company Inc./ Cow Punch Productions, LLC) in Round 1 of the night, firing out of the chutes for an impressive 86 points.
In the championship round, the 20-year-old Nebraska cowboy was able to confidently match Longmire (Wentz Bucking Bulls) jump-for-jump for 89 points, clinching the win.
For his perfect night, Halverson left Portland with 114 Velocity Global points.
The PBR Unleash The Beast next travels to Allstate Arena in Chicago for the PBR Tractor Supply Co. Invitational. The event will be on Friday, January 13 at 7:45 p.m. CST, and Saturday, January 14 at 6:45 p.m. CST.
PBR RidePass on Pluto TV will offer re-airs and on-demand replays of every PBR Unleash The Beast event. PBR RidePass is available on desktops, laptops and mobile devices via www.pluto.tv. Click here for on-demand PBR programming.
PBR Unleash The Beast
PBR Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden, presented by Ariat
Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Round 4-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
(tie). Koltin Hevalow, 88.25-0-0-0-88.25-16.5 Points.
(tie). Mauricio Gulla Moreira, 0-0-86.25-0-86.25-16.5 Points.
(tie). Cole Melancon, 0-84.75-0-0-84.75-10 Points.
Cooper Davis, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Rafael Jose de Brito, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Brady Oleson, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Keyshawn Whitehorse, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Colten Fritzlan, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Braidy Randolph, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Kaique Pacheco, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Chase Outlaw, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Casey Roberts, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Junior Patrik Souza, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Rafael Henrique dos Santos, 0-0-0-0-0.00
João Henrique Lucas, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Eli Vastbinder, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Adriano Salgado, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Daylon Swearingen, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Dakota Louis, 0-0-0-0-0.00
Alisson De Souza, 0-0-0-0-0.00
2023 PBR Unleash The Beast World Championship Standings
(Place, Rider, Events, Wins, Top 5’s, Points, Total Winnings)