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Images from the Division A play at the Monster Energy Team Challenge PBR.


Jun 242020

Whether he’s riding for his own individual ranking or as part of a team, Jose Vitor Leme remains the most consistent bull rider in the world. 

After two weekends of team competition, the Brazilian rider finished 9-for-12 to open the Monster Energy Team Challenge in Las Vegas. In addition to his team winning all six of their games, Leme is the frontrunner to be named MVP of the new limited series. 

His 779.5-point total is nearly double that of any other rider competing in Las Vegas.

Several observers remarked that before the team series is over with, Leme may outscore 11 other teams without even needing to factor in the scores of his teammates. 


That is precisely what everyone expected from the No. 1 ranked rider in the world before he even arrived in Vegas.


The team series will conclude July 10–12 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 


“I am certainly very happy with the performance of the whole team these two weeks,” said Leme, on Sunday. “All of which were fundamental for us to be able to reach Sioux Falls in the No. 1 position.”


Incidentally, the team finals will be the first PBR event with fans present since March. 


Leme, who has earned a reputation of encouraging his top challengers during the PBR regular season deflected his individual accomplishments the past two weeks during the team format.


“I just thank God for the help of this team,” he said after bucking of his last bull of the weekend. “I am very happy and grateful. We rode a lot of bulls today, and the other days.”


Later, he took to Instagram, where emphasized the contributions of his teammates, “Thankful for being part of this team, thanks guys we all were very important to get all these numbers, 6 – 0 to finish perfect. Looking forward to the playoffs at Sioux Falls.”


Kolbaba, who like Leme is an established member of the Monster Energy lineup of PBR riders, finished Division A competition fourth in the MVP standings with a respectable 4-for-12 performance over the past two weeks. 


Kolbaba, who was not happy with his regular season performance that currently has him ranked 20 in the PBR world standings, averaged 86.875 points per qualified ride the past two weeks. That is actually a slight advantage over Leme’s 86.611.


Monster Energy rider Marco Eguchi will be in Vegas the next couple of weeks and hopes to eventually join Leme in Sioux Falls. 


Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney, Chase Outlaw and Cannon Cravens are all out with injuries along with two-time defending World Champion Jess Lockwood. Mauney, Outlaw and Cravens are all set to return to competition in mid- to-late-July.