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Images from 2018 PBR Las Vegas, Nevada

Leme Vying For World Title

Aug 162018

It’s a tale of two professional bull riders. One is 22-years-old and vying for his first world title. The other already won a title in 2008 and, at 36, announced he will retire at the end of the 2018 season.

Second-year rider Jose Vitor Leme established himself as a legit contender by winning this past weekend’s elite televised PBR event, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and moved from sixth to third place in the world standings.

Though not unexpected, Guilherme Marchi surprised the PBR community with the timing of his announcement. Both are from Brazil. And both are members of the Monster Energy team.

After seeing Leme dominate the competition – man and beast – two-time World Champion Justin McBride described Leme as “the most exciting guy to watch on tour right now.” McBride credited Leme’s aggressive style as a rider.

“He gets every point out of a bull,” McBride said.

Leme started the event, which was the first elite event since early May, with a solid 88.5-point effort on Finding Jesus in Saturday night’s opening round of competition.

He followed up with 86 points on Wound Up in Round 2, which earned him the first pick in the bull draft for the Championship Round. He selected Bottoms Up — a bull he previously scored 90 points on at a WRCA event in Las Vegas. This time he was 90.5 points for the win.

“I did everything I could to ride him,” said Leme, with the assistance of his agent and former rider Paulo Crimber, who translated for the Portuguese-speaking bull rider.


“And I thank God for my success,” Leme added. “I’m looking for more opportunities to ride like I am.”


After his 3-for-3 performance in Tulsa, Leme has now ridden 15 of the last 21 bulls he’s faced at elite PBR events, including a trio of 3-for-4 efforts dating back to Albuquerque, New Mexico; Glendale, Arizona, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


He’s covered 71.4 percent of his bulls during that period and 24 of 46 in 15 events on the season for 52.2 percent.


Leme has dominated for long stretches of time in a way that has not been seen since Marchi covered 72 percent of his bulls for the entire 2008 season.


Leme made his debut in the United States at the World Finals, last November, with a 6-for-6 performance to win the Finals average and lay claim to the PBR Rookie of the Year title.


Like Marchi once was, Leme is poised to make headlines for the next decade.


However, Marchi caused everyone to pause when he told Ride Pass announcers Matt West and Colby Yates, “I don’t want to get on more bulls. … My American dream came true.”


Marchi is ranked 20th in the world.


He said this year’s World Finals event will be the last of his career.


Marchi and Leme will be in Nashville, Tennessee, this coming weekend along with fellow Monster Energy riders Derek Kolbaba, Gage Gay and J.B. Mauney.


Also watch J.B. in Bad To The Bone - 2x PBR World Champion JB Mauney discusses his injuries, his mindset before he nods his head and the feeling of making a great bull ride.