be_ixf;ym_202101 d_24; ct_50
Images from the Tulsa Unleash the Beast PBR


Aug 172019

Three of the top-ranked professional bull riders in the world are separated by less than 200 points with eight regular-season PBR events left in 2019. 

Two of those three bull riders – Chase Outlaw and Jose Vitor Leme – represent the Monster Energy team. Outlaw, who is a mere 20 points back, is ranked second in the PBR world standings, while Leme is 163 points back.

“I ain’t worried about none of that,” said Outlaw, when asked about slipping from first to second.

Two-time World Champion and fellow Monster Energy teammate J.B. Mauney, who is ranked 32nd in the world, was more vocal. The 2013 and 2015 World Champion said, “(Outlaw) has the fight and it’s going to be hard to beat him this year.”

Mauney has battled through injuries this season.


The North Carolina cowboy met with Dr. Tandy Freeman to have an MRI on his previously repaired shoulder. According to Mauney, Freeman told him he may have “tore some things loose.” On Tuesday, Mauney confirm an injury to his rotator cuff, but is forgoing surgery until after the World Finals.


Although Leme slipped from second to third in the standings, he actually gained 207 points on the No. 1 position and is closer to attaining his goal of winning a world title. 


Prior to last weekend’s elite televised event, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Leme told that he expects this year’s stretch run to be more difficult than last season.


While it looks to be a three-cowboy race between Outlaw, Leme and Jess Lockwood, the top eight riders are all within 2,500 points; including Derek Kolbaba. The Walla Walla, Washington, native is 2,488 points back and has firsthand experience when it comes to vying for a title down the stretch.


Kolbaba finished second in 2017.


In Tulsa, Kolbaba had an opportunity to pocket a $25,000 bounty when he selected Bill the Butcher with the fifth pick in the bull draft for the Championship Round. Unfortunately, he bucked off shy of the 8-second whistle.


The buck-off not only cost him the bonus check, but, more importantly, he finished the weekend 2-for-3 and it cost him a chance of winning the event. He’s still eighth in the world and very much in contention. 


Much was made of Leme passing on a re-ride opportunity in Round 1 when he kept 65.5 points on the leaderboard.


He finished 3-for-3 in Tulsa with no chance of besting the other two riders who covered three bulls, but, again, the always calculated Leme gained on the No. 1 position by earning a pair of round-wins on Sunday afternoon.


Leme rode for 89.25 points in Round 2 to move from 25th in the average to splitting eighth and ninth. His 91.25 points in the Championship Round ultimately gave him his 12th round-win of the season and a third-place finish in the event.


Outlaw, 2; Leme, 3; Kolbaba, 8; Marco Eguchi, 26, and Mauney, 32, will be in Houston, Texas, this coming weekend before the Top 35 move on to Nashville, Tennessee, the following weekend. 


Those two events will be followed by three events in September and three more in October to wrap up the regular-season before convening in Las Vegas for the 2019 PBR World Finals during the first week of November.