The accomplishment for the 2020 and 2021 PBR World Champion comes at the end of what is being called the greatest season ever for a professional bull rider. In 2021, Leme set the single-season mark for the most 90-point rides in PBR history (24), achieved the most round wins in a season (21), and tied the record with eight Unleash The Beast event wins. He had also set a 97.75-point ride-score record on Woopaa in July in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Leme broke new ground on Sunday by breaking that record for highest score ever in PBR through earning the first perfect 50-point ride in PBR history.
The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) circuit is the world’s biggest stage in professional bull riding featuring over 500 bull riders in more than 200 events annually. Presented by Monster Energy, the Unleash the Beast Series (UTB) is the elite series of the Professional Bull Riders with the world’s top 35 bull riders.
After suffering a strained core muscle in September, Leme returned to full form for the 2021 PBR World Championship finals and entered as the #1 seeded rider. In Round 1 of the 2021 PBR World Finals on Wednesday, Leme scored 86.75 points on Little Voodoo Jacket. “I expect a lot of things,” said Leme, “a lot of good things.”
Good things followed indeed, as Leme followed up with an 88 and a second 86.75-point effort. These first three-round scores placed the Brazilian second in average and a full bull score ahead of his most likely challenger midway through the Finals.
“Everything is going great in Las Vegas, happy with the results, blessed to be riding well and very confident in pursuit of my goals,” said Leme, adding: “I am so confident for this.”
Leme’s Las Vegas streak continued in Round 4 on Saturday when he set the PBR’s season record for most round wins at 20 victories. He thereby surpassed the 2013 record of 19 wins set by fellow Monster Energy teammate and fellow two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney. In Round 4, Leme rode WSM’s Jive Turkey for 92.5 points. This also marked his record-setting 24th 90-point ride of the season. Leme covered 49 bulls throughout 2021, with 48.97% of those qualified rides earning 90 points or more.
The massive score kept Leme two spots ahead of the only rider with an opportunity to catch him, Kaique Pacheco. More importantly, he remained a full bull score ahead in the average with only two remaining outs for the top two riders in the world.
Leme then capped off a magical season on Sunday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena with a perfect performance, earning 91.25 points in Round 5 on WSM’s Jive Turkey. He then pushed his record for the highest-scoring ride even further: Riding Woopaa, the bull on which Leme earned the 2020 championship, he clinched 98.75 points in Round 6 for a new record and 544-point aggregate score and 849 total points. The score also earned the coveted 2021 Lane Frost/Brent Thurman Award.
As the Event Winner and PBR World Champion, Leme celebrated by hoisting the trophy above his head. Leme earned a combined $1,401,800 for his second PBR World Championship and World Finals event win.
“Get on your feet Las Vegas, that was awesome,” proclaimed two-time champion-turned-broadcaster Justin McBride. “This is an amazing, amazing once-in-a-lifetime talent that we’re getting to watch.”
Leme was initially slated for a career in professional soccer in his native country Brazil. He only discovered bull riding at age 18, but already achieved his competitive breakthrough at age 21 when he became the second Brazilian rider to win the PBR Brazil national title. He also earned Brazilian Rookie of the Year honors that year. Leme began competing in the United States in 2018 and instantly won the PBR Velocity Tour Finals, PBR Finals event and became the PBR Rookie of the Year. His iconic rise continued by winning the 2020 and 2021 Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Championship