In a matter of 8-seconds Jose Vitor Leme rewrote the PBR history book not once, but twice.
The reigning PBR World Champion notched his record-tying 16th qualified ride of 90-points or higher in a single season and, far more importantly, the 97.75 points he was marked on Woopaa as a new all-time scoring record in the 28-year history of the PBR.
“This is awesome,” said Leme, who was visibly overcome with emotions as he addressed the in-arena crowd and the CBS television audience watching at home. “It’s hard to explain. I think it’s one of the best days of my life, my career riding bulls. Thanks to all my friends for helping me. Thanks to the fans.”
The atmosphere was electric.
The historic moment comes nearly a decade after fellow Monster Energy bull rider J.B. Mauney brought a sold-out crowd at the BOK Center to its feet when he rode three-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker for the first only time in a dozen matchups.
“I don’t know what special this arena has,” continued Leme, who in the excitement of it all had the presence of mind to put his feat in context with such a great moment of another ride. “J.B. rode Bushwacker here for 95.75 (points), so now I put my name on history too with the best mark of all the years. That’s amazing. Thank God for everything.”
Saturday night’s thrilling moment in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was the final out of the 15/15 Bucking Battle, which was broadcast Sunday afternoon on CBS network television.
Longtime PBR play-by-play personality Craig Hummer was on the call alongside two-time PBR World Champion turned analyst Justin McBride.
“There it is,” Hummer exclaimed as the 8-second horn blew.
Moments later the score flashed on the screen, and he proclaimed, “The best ever. No score has been better in the history of the PBR. Soak it in. History was just made.”
The previous record was 96.5 points, which had been recorded three times beginning in 1999 and not since 2004.
On Saturday, just four days after winning his first PBR Major event in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Leme was damn-near perfect on the backside of the No. 1 ranked bucking bull in the world, and judges rewarded him with 49.75 points out of a possible 50, while Woopaa earned a season-high 48 points.
McBride told the television audience that he had personally witnessed each of the 96.5-point rides and all the other top-ranked rides in PBR history and said in no uncertain terms the Leme and Woopaa match up on the last day of July 2021, “Was the greatest ride in PBR history.”
Leme now has a commanding 410.5-point lead atop the PBR world standings.
A trio of Monster Energy riders — Marco Eguchi, 7; Derek Kolbaba, 8, and Cody Teel,9 — are also in the Top 10 with two-time World Champion Jess Lockwood and fan-favorite Chase Outlaw still out of competition with injuries. Mauney is currently pursuing a PRCA world title.
Leme, Eguchi, Kolbaba, and Teel will be in Sacramento, California, this weekend for the second in a run of 13 consecutive weeks — including the Cowboys for a Cause team challenge onboard the USS Lexington — on the road to the World Finals in Las Vegas.