This season’s title race is starting to feel like the Roadrunner and the Coyote.
Whenever it looks like a rider finally has Jose Vitor Leme in their gun sight, the skilled Brazilian knocks down a big bull and finds a way to pull away, leaving everyone else in the dust.
Last night in Nampa, ID the bulls dominated in yielding only 11 qualified rides in round one, but the Roadrunner got one of those on Red Bandana for the round win, extending his world lead that had been cut to 321.66 points by No. 2 Jess Lockwood going into the season’s final regular-season Unleash The Beast event.
Leme had already won a round on the same bull with an 89 point-ride in 2018 in Sioux Falls, Sd.
And again last, with World No.2 Jess Lockwood pulling up on his bumper, Leme avoided the urge to drive with his rear view mirror and instead shifted his focus to his own out. Jose and Red Bandana paired for an awesome 88.75 point-ride and another round win, netting Leme 100 crucial world points.
The young Brazilian now sits 421.66 points ahead of world No. 2 Jess Lockwood. Click here to see Leme’s round 1 ride.
Current world No. 3 Chase Outlaw was the only other world contender to make the eight. Outlaw was granted a reride after a poor out from Coal Train (3-0), and closed the round with an exciting ride aboard Red Snapper (12-1) or 88 points to split second place with 2018 World Finals event winner Marco Eguchi. Each rider earned 55 points. Click here to see Chase’s ride and Click here to see Marco’s ride.
Dalton Kasel, world No.10 bull-rider and Rookie of the Year race leader, was paired up with Ambush (1-0) for round one, and Kasel made an easy ride on the bull, worth 86.75 points for fifth in the round. He netted 30 world points and extended his slim 21.25 point lead to 41.25 in the rookie race while securing his ranking in the world standings.
In a class packed with talented riders, Kasel was not the only rookie race contender to ride. Mason Taylor, who credits his improved riding to his weight loss and a training regiment of running and having fun riding bulls again was able to find a perfect dance partner in Raging Crazy (0-1) for 86 points 7th in the round and 5 world points.
With only 11 qualified rides in round one, it was a night of dominant bull power punctuated by some tremendous rides. The door is open for a few riders to in round two to post high-point rides and find their way into the championship round.
It will be interesting to see how Jess Lockwood and Joao Ricardo Viera – the two championship contenders shut out last night – respond in round two.
Leme the leader may be on the cusp of making history for winning the most rounds in a season if he can take round two and the championship round. The former semi-pro soccer standout in Brazil currently has 18 round wins and more than capable of writing his name in the history books again.
Fans can relive all of the action of round one of the Team Cooper Tires Take The Money And Ride by accessing RidePass on RidePass.com or via the RidePass mobile application. It is a must-see round.