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Flawless Fabiano Vieira Wins PBR Unleash The Beast Event in Oklahoma
Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
Guthrie, Okla. – At one of the most significant events in PBR (Professional Bull Riders) history, a veteran cowboy from Brazil put on a bull riding show to win the event, marking the return of live professional sports in North America.
Bucking in an eerily empty arena closed to the public in observation of strict health protocols, Fabiano Vieira (Perola, Brazil) was the lone rider to deliver a flawless 3-for-3 performance. The 37-year-old Brazilian took the event buckle, $11,000 and 104 world points awarded at the Unleash The Beast PBR Las Vegas Invitational, presented by Union Home Mortgage, at the iconic Lazy E Arena.
Vieira began the weekend finishing third in Round 1 on Saturday, covering Uncle Gangster (Ogden Ranch/Hart Cattle Co.) for 87.25 points. He then covered Flight Risk (Tommy Julian/D&H Cattle) for 86 points in Round 2 Sunday afternoon to surge to the top of the event leaderboard and secure the first pick in the championship round bull draft.
Awaiting him in the pen of bovine athletes were five of the bulls then ranked inside the Top 10 for the 2020 YETI PBR World Champion Bull race. The left-handed Vieira selected Bullseye (Owens/Wyatt/Smith/Mears), a bull who would likely turn into his hand to favor Vieira’s riding style, and had delivered riders top marks in his past two outs.
After world No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) covered the Oklahoma bovine for 92 points to win the early February event in Oklahoma City, Dener Barbosa (Paulo de Faria, Brazil) topped the field at the latest PBR Unleash The Beast event in March in Duluth, Georgia, when he rode Bullseye for 91 points.
Inside Lazy E Arena, Bullseye went into Vieira’s hand. The Brazilian stayed dialed in, and with an 89.5-point score, Bullseye once again propelled a rider to the top of the Can-Am Cage for the win.
The victory is Vieira’s first on the Unleash The Beast series in 2020. He had last won at PBR’s elite level in April 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. The eight-time World Finals qualifier is now ranked inside the world’s Top 10, climbing from No. 14 to No. 9, within 409.5 points of No. 1 Leme.
Following in the footsteps of his countryman, Leme, sidelined with an injury for the two most recent tour stops in March in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Duluth, Georgia, also delivered a strong performance.
The Brazilian phenom was quick to find success in Round 1, proving his championship-contending form has not been impacted by his three broken ribs, when he covered Homegrown (Cord McCoy/Chad Reese) for 86.5 points.
Despite an uncharacteristic 1.79-second buckoff aboard Good Night Robicheaux (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Diamond Willow) in Round 2, Leme returned more determined than ever in the championship round.
Aboard his re-ride bovine athlete opponent Safety Meeting (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Hruby/Kainz), Leme scored a monstrous 90 points. Leme, a former semi-professional soccer player who celebrated his fifth 90-point ride of the season by punting his helmet across the empty arena, is now tied with Lockwood for most 90-point rides of the season on the premier series.
In finishing third, Leme cemented his world No. 1 ranking, collecting $6,350 and 52 world points. He now possesses the largest standings lead of the season, 124.5 points in front of No. 2 Jess Lockwood (Volborg, Montana).
With a 2-for-3 showing Leme remains PBR’s most proficient rider, covering a league-best 73.33% of his draws, while also massing a PBR-best 22 qualified rides on the premier series. Unleash The Beast newcomer Rafael Dos Santos (Sebastianopolis, Brazil) holds the second-best riding percentage, 66.67%, while Lockwood has covered the second most bulls on the elite tour with 18.
Oklahoma’s own Colten Jesse (Konawa, Oklahoma) also reached new career-heights with the best ride of his career en route to his runner-up finish.
The 22-year old bucked off his Round 1 draw Crazy Times (Hart Cattle Co./Randy Wood) in 1.89 seconds, but made a splash in the second round in recording the third-best score by covering Buckle Up (D&H Cattle Company) for 87.25 points.
Jesse then drafted Cool Customer (D&H Cattle/Flinn) for the championship round, and became the first rider to record a score in the final round of the historic event.
The young cowboy delivered the high-marked ride of his career – his first-ever 90-point ride on the elite Unleash The Beast – marked an event-high 90.25 points. For his second runner-up finish of the season on the premier series, Jesse earned $9,650 and 79 world points. He rose from No. 10 to No. 7 in the world standings, now 353.5 points behind No. 1 Leme.
In his elite Unleash The Beast debut, Rafael H. dos Santos finished fourth to leave Lazy E Arena with 33 world points and $4,000.
Santos made his first-ever trip on American soil in Round 1, leading to a series of outs that epitomized the Cowboy spirit. Gritting through his initial draw, and a re-ride opponent, Santos climbed aboard three of the planet’s rankest bulls before posting an 84.25-point score on Low Dog (Dakota Rodeo-Chad Berger/Clay Struve/Ken Barnhard).
In the championship round, the 24-year-old bounced back from a Round 2 buckoff, covering Milk Man (TNT Bucking Bulls/Hart Cattle Co.) for 88.75 points to propel him to the Top-5 finish. Santos is now ranked No. 40 in the world standings, gaining significant ground after beginning his debut event No. 66.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Round 1 winner Taylor Toves (Stephenville, Taylor). After covering Biker Bob (Dakota Rodeo/Chad Berger/Clay Struve/H&C Bucking Bulls) for a career-high 89.5 points to top the field on the opening night of action, Toves was not able to reach the 8-second mark again, bested by Hard & Fast (Glover Cattle/D&H Cattle Co.) in Round 2 and reigning World Champion Bull Smooth Operator (Dakota Rodeo/Julie Rosen/Clay Struve/Chad Berger) in the championship round. His 1-for-3 showing earned him $5,500 and 32 world points, allowing Toves to rise from No. 35 to No. 25 in the world.
Best of the Bulls
In addition to the feats of athleticism displayed by some of the world’s best bull riders, the planet’s rankest bucking bulls did not disappoint, showcasing the league’s world-class bovine athletes.
Ahead of the event, fans anxiously awaited the return of three-time PBR World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser (D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.) set to buck at his first PBR event since the 2019 PBR World Finals last November. Drafted by YouTube-taught, young gun Ezekiel Mitchell (Rockdale, Texas) in the championship round, Bruiser made quick work of the sophomore sensation, sending him to the dirt in 2.99 seconds to earn a 44-point bull score.
The bull pen, however, was led by I’m Legit Too (Bloyd Land & Cattle Co.), winning the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event honor, his first of the 2020 season. I’m Legit Too posted the top marks of the event when he bested Mauricio Gula Moreira (Gaviao Peixoto) in a swift 2.75 seconds to earn a massive 46.25-point bull score – a career best for the bovine athlete. I’m Legit Too’s marks are also tied for the third best bull score logged on the Unleash The Beast thus far in 2020.
While I’m Legit Too began the event outside the Top 10 in the 2020 YETI PBR World Champion Bull race, he ascended to No. 9 and now trails No. 1 Chiseled (Flinn/D&H Cattle Co.) by 1.21 points.
Chiseled also bucked inside the Lazy E Arena, retaining his lead atop the world standings. He dispatched Mason Taylor (Maypearl, Texas) in 5.23 seconds, marked 45.5 points. Chiseled now leads No. 2 Air Support (Braun/Cooper) by a slim 0.06 points.
PBR Unleash The Beast
PBR Las Vegas Invitational, presented by Union Home Mortgage
Lazy E Arena – Guthrie, Oklahoma
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
1. Fabiano Vieira, 87.25-86-89.5-262.75-104 Points.
2. Colten Jesse, 0-87.25-90.25-177.50-79 Points.
3. Jose Vitor Leme, 86.5-0-90-176.50-52 Points.
4. Rafael H. dos Santos, 84.25-0-88.75-173.00-33 Points.
5. Taylor Toves, 89.5-0-0-89.50-32 Points.
6. Mason Taylor, 78-80.75-0-158.75-25 Points.
(tie). Keyshawn Whitehorse, 0-88.75-0-88.75-25 Points.
8. Ezekiel Mitchell, 89-0-0-89.00-16 Points.
9. Cody Casper, 0-87.5-0-87.50-14 Points.10. Mauricio Gula Moreira, 87-0-0-87.00-10 Points.
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