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Images for PBR Unleash the Beast returning to North Little Rock, Arkansas on Feb. 25th and 26th, 2022. Jose Vitor Leme in top 5

Leme Averts Serious Injury and is Confident in Third Consecutive World Title

Apr 082022

Two-time reigning PBR World Champion Jose Vitor Leme averted serious injury for the second time in 2022.

A capacity crowd in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, held its collective breath in the moments following Leme’s buck off Saturday night just shy of the 8-second whistle, when Jag Metal’s Grand Theft appeared to kick the 25-year-old in the lower back.

Instead, it was a glancing blow, but Leme was still slammed face-first into the arena dirt. The force of the blow left the Brazilian rider with facial abrasions, a concussion, and a possible broken jaw.

Leme did not compete Wednesday night in Everett, Washington, but was at the event and is expected to be in draw for the elite, televised event in Tacoma, Washington, this weekend.

“Last weekend's battle wasn't easy,” wrote Leme, on his official Instagram account, “but the war isn't over yet.”

Leme is ranked sixth in the world. He is attempting to become the first rider in the 29-year history of the PBR to win an unprecedented three consecutive world titles.

Leme was on his way to a score well north of 90 points — Grand Theft was marked 45.75 — when the buck off occurred at 7.13 seconds. It has been that kind of a season in which the bull draw and various outs have not quite gone in his favor this season. At least not like 2021 when he wowed audiences by tallying a record 28 qualified rides of 90 or more points compared to only four in 2022.

While some might try suggesting he has struggled this year, Leme is one of only two bull riders in the entire Top 35 of the PBR world standings with a world.

Fellow Monster Energy rider Derek Kolbaba is currently 16th in the world, while Marco Eguchi is 20th and Cody Teel is 22nd.

Boudreaux Campbell (riding hand), Chase Outlaw (groin), and two-time PBR World Champion Jess Lockwood (core muscle) are currently out with injuries. Campbell is week-to-week regarding his return to competition, while Lockwood has not made any decisions regarding a return to competition prior to the PBR World Finals, which is scheduled to take place May 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, and 22, and Outlaw is expected to be ready in June.

Leme along with Kolbaba, Eguchi, and Teel will be in Tacoma for the three-day event beginning Friday night. After which, there are only three more events — Tulsa, Oklahoma; Nampa, Idaho, and Billings, Montana — between then and the World Finals in May.

Leme, who remains confident he can and will win a world title in 2022, concluded this week’s Instagram post by quoting scripture: “If everything is difficult, worship the Lord. Even in sacrifice, give him praise. If you can love it, the test will pass. Praise moves the heavens and chains can also break.”