Jose Vitor Leme Wins Second Consecutive PBR Unleash The Beast Event in Chicago to Vault to No. 2 in the Race for the 2023 World Championship

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Also finishing second in the first 15/15 Bucking Battle of the year, Leme earned a combined 182 Unleash The Beast points, climbing within 87.5 points of the No. 1 rank

CHICAGO – In front of an electric, sold-out Saturday night crowd in Chicago, Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) won his second consecutive PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Unleash The Beast event, going a perfect 3-for-3 to claim the victory at the Tractor Supply Co. Invitational inside Allstate Arena.

Leme made his season debut at the previous tour stop in New York City, claiming the victory at the record-setting show inside Madison Square Garden via a 3-for-4 effort. He is now amidst a five-out ride streak and has gone a collective 7-for-8 (87.5%) this season. 

The two-time PBR World Champion was one of 22 riders to convert in the opening round of competition. He tied for the 14th-best score when he covered Reinstate Hank (Phenom Genetics/Basham/Sankey Pro Rodeo) for 83.5 points. 

Leme then catapulted to second on the event leaderboard when he rode Knuckle Head (K-C Bucking Bulls/TCB Ranch) for a Round 2-winning 87 points.

With the second pick in the championship round bull draft, Leme architected a rematch with Cliff Hanger (Cord McCoy/Pioneer Bulls/McCoy Rodeo). Less than one week ago, Leme rode the bull for a monstrous 92 points to cement his Unleash The Beast win in New York City.

Repeating his past success, Leme remained in perfect time with the animal athlete, matching him jump-for-jump en route to the whistle for 88.25 points. Leme’s score, coupled with the final rider out bucking off, clinched his second consecutive Unleash The Beast victory. 

Leme also finished second in the tour stop’s accompanying 15/15 Bucking Battle. The silver finish was earned compliments of his 88-point score atop The Right Stuff (Diamond Willow/Clay Struve/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger). 

Combined, Leme left Allstate Arena having earned 182 Unleash The Beast points and a check for $50,191.

After travelling to the event ranked No. 10 in the race for the 2023 PBR World Championship, Leme surged eight positions to No. 2. As he seeks his record-tying third gold buckle, he trails No. 1 Andrew Alvidrez (Seminole, Texas) by 87.5 points. 

Alvidrez remained No. 1 in the standings compliments of a fourth-place finish in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and an eighth-place result in the main event. The pair of Top 10 finishes earned him 51 Unleash The Beast points.

In the special round, Alvidrez topped Valiente (Nothin’ But Try Ranch/Kinser/McCall) for 81.25 points. 

During the PBR Tractor Supply Co. Invitational, the charismatic Texan covered in Rounds 1 and 2, marked 81 points on I’m A Secret (K-C Bucking Bulls/Bull Creek Bucking Bulls) and declining a re-ride after he was awarded 65.5 points on Side Yard Shimmer (OG Cattle Co.). 

Alvidrez, however, was unable to conclude the tour stop with a qualified ride, upended by Sky Harbor (Wilks Ranch/Clay Struve/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) in a close 5.98 seconds in the Championship round.

Returning to the top of the leaderboard, 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) parlayed his own 3-for-3 showing into a runner-up result.

Pacheco advanced to the championship round after riding God’s Plan (C Check Bucking Bulls) for 83 points in Round 1 and Back Yard Boogie (OG Cattle Co./D-W Productions) for 85 points in Round 2. 

As the third-ranked rider entering the final round, “The Ice Man” selected Tulsa Time (Cord McCoy/Kelly & Cami Heath/McCoy Rodeo) as his final animal athlete opponent. A decision which proved dividends, Pacheco rode the bull for a championship round-best 88.5 points to rise to the runner-up finish in the event.

Pacheco will return to Texas having earned 100 Unleash The Beast points and $20,245. He catapulted from No. 23 to No. 12 in the standings. He is now within 252.5 points of the No. 1 rank.

As the final rider to be perfect in the Windy City, Eli Vastbinder (Statesville, North Carolina) delivered a much needed third-place finish, breaking a dismal slump to start the season.

Vastbinder, who was competing as a last-minute alternate after a seeded rider was injured, was quick to make the most of his opportunity in Round 1, riding Agent 99 (Clay Struve/Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) for 80.25 points. 

Positioned twenty-second in the event, Vastbinder needed to convert in Round 2, matched up with Show Me Homie (Jo-Z Bucking Bulls/K-C/Spark-lin Acres). 

Continuing his momentum, Vastbinder rose to sixth in the event, and punched his ticket to the final round, when he rode the Ohio-raised bull for 81.5 points.

Knowing he needed a big score to remain in contention for the event win, Vastbinder drafted a familiar opponent in Pookie Holler (Dakota Rodeo/Brian & Ashley Pintar/Clay Struve/Chad Berger). Vastbinder had attempted the bull three times prior but had never before made the 8.

Reversing his fortunes, Vastbinder remained centered, reaching the whistle for 87 points.

The podium finish earned Vastbinder 63.5 Unleash The Beast points and $11,465. Ranked No. 40 in the standings prior to the event, the 2021 PBR Rookie of the Year rose 16 positions to No. 24.

Dakota Louis (Browning, Montana) was fourth, collecting 51.5 Unleash The Beast points. 

Louis tied for second in Round 1 when he topped Simon (K-C Bucking Bulls/Daniels Cattle Co.) for 86 points. 

The Montana man then took over the top spot in the event when he reached the requisite 8 atop Back Jack (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger) for 84.75 points in Round 2. 

Louis, however, was unable to earn the second Unleash The Beast victory of his career when he was bucked off by Roc Wit It (K-C Bucking Bulls) in a quick 2.94 seconds in the final round.

Seeking his first World Championship at season’s end, Louis climbed from No. 49 to No. 33 in the standings.

Rounding out the Top 5 in the main event and finishing fifth was Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington). 

Kolbaba bookended his efforts inside Allstate Arena with qualified rides, topping Back Jack for 86 points in Round 1 and Mr. Winston (Dakota Rodeo/Mark Baker/Clay Struve/Chad Berger) for 83.75 points in the championship round.

He earned a crucial 50.5 Unleash The Beast points, rising six positions in the standings from No. 26 to No. 20.

The 15/15 Bucking Battle inside Allstate Arena was won by Dalton Kasel (Muleshoe, Texas). 

Kasel earned the golden finish, and 58 Unleash The Beast points, via an 89.75-point ride on Roc Wit It.

Also going 1-for-2 in the main event to finish 23rd and earn an accompanying 8 Unleash The Beast points, Kasel rose from No. 12 to No. 9 in the standings. He now trails No. 1 Alvidrez by 217.5 points. 

In the bull pen, Blue Duck (Cord McCoy/Grin/Jacobson/Davis Rodeo Ranch/McCoy Rodeo) was crowned the YETI “Built For The Wild” Bull of the Event. He led the rank pen of animal athletes when he posted a 46-point score in the championship round for his 2.7-second trip with Ezekiel Mitchell (Rockdale, Texas).

The PBR Unleash The Beast next travels to Gas South Arena in Duluth, Georgia, for the PBR Gwinnett Chute Out. The event will be on Saturday, January 21 at 6:45 p.m. EST and Sunday, January 22 at 1:45 p.m. EST.

Press Release provided by @PBR

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