For the first time since 2006, Professional Bull Riders (PBR) premier Unleash The Beast tour is coming back to Minneapolis, MN on Friday October, 4 and Saturday, October 5. With the top 35 bull riders in the world competing against the world’s top bulls during the final stretch run to World Finals (Nov. 6-10), this promises to be an intense and exciting event in a sport where every nod from the chutes is already a life-and-death-proposition.
Every point a rider can gain in 2019’s final three regular-season event is crucial to gain on the world leader, better their standings or widen their lead.
Certainly, world-leader Jose Vitor Leme is looking for the maximum number of points after gaining none in Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event in Portland, ME last weekend.
Leme is also looking to make history.
The No. 1 bull rider in the world leads the PBR this season with 17 round wins. Leme only needs to win three of the remaining 16 rounds this season to break two-time World Champion JB Mauney’s record the most most premier series round wins in one season.
There is also a great bull rider, Rookie of the Year contender Cody Jesus, making his return to the premier series. Jesus who had been sidelined from the past two Unleash The Beast events due to a groin injury, says he feels ready to return to riding again. Jesus finds himself 291 points behind current Rookie of the Year Ezekiel Mitchell and is looking to close that gap in the Target Center and perhaps regain the lead in the Rookie of the year race. He could start narrowing the gap by winning round one and gaining 100 world points. Jesus is known for putting up big-point rides, so Mitchell’s lead could be diminished in this round unless the Texas cowboy with the Million-dollar smile rides as well.
For this round, Cody is paired with Tulsa Time, who has a 0-0 record on the premier series. The edge goes to Jesus who is 6 for 19 since aggravating his groin injury in early May. Given Cody’s ability to ride and desire to improve his riding percentage, he gets the edge of Tulsa Time.
Ezekiel Mitchell, the current NO. 1 Rookie who leads Alisson De Souza by a slim 47.5 points are paired with Catfish John (38-20) for this round. Ezekiel has a great chance to widen his lead on a bull known to produce big scores, if he can make the 8-second whistle. Catfish John can be rode, it is not an easy task but if Ezekiel responds jump for jump and takes away the bull’s power, he maybe able to put further distance between and other Rookie of the Year contenders in this round.
World No. 1 bull rider Jose Vitor Leme comes in this event with 1,031-point lead over world No. 2, Jess Lockwood. Jose could widen his lead leaving this round or he could see world title contenders –Jess Lockwood, Chase Outlaw, and Joao Ricardo Viera– gain ground on him. Leme can get high point rides, and if he connects big on his in this round on Awesome Man (0-0), he’ll continue to be the the hottest rider in the sport.
Jess Lockwood, the world No. 2 rider, comes in Minnesota looking to snap a cold streak. Lockwood had won 9 events across all levels of PBR competition this summer, including the first two events of PBR’s second half. Since then, the youngest world champion in PBR history who had held the world No. 1 ranking a few months ago, has gone ice cold including being shut out at the last two elite series events. For this round, drawing Lethal Larry (2-5), the odds seem to go towards Lockwood given the bulls current record. While Jess is more than likely going to get a ride down, we thought the same thing in previous weeks when he’s bucked off bulls he’d seemingly ride during an intense title race.
Chase Outlaw is one standout rider who has been focused all of the 2019 season to become the PBR world champion bull rider this year. The fan-favorite Arkansas cowboy carries momentum into this round; he gained 67 points in the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event in Portland, ME last weekend. As long as Chase is laser-focused, he will be a contender for the round win.
Veteran riders Stetson Lawrence & Cody Nance back
Stetson Lawrence who has been off the premier series for a month and three weeks due to a herniated disc in his back is making his return at this event. Lawrence can put up some great rides and is anxious to get back to riding now that he appears rested and healthy.
Cody Nance is back after taking two weeks off to recover from some nagging injuries. The Tennessee cowboy, however, was not only resting during those two weeks. He was also running, doing yoga and taking pounds off to get into fighting shape. The last time fans saw Nance ride in Springfield, MO he was ten pounds heavier. We all saw how weight loss put Cooper Davis on a run that had him hoisting a gold buckle in Las Vegas. A leaner Nance might one to watch this round to see if the does the fan-favorite “Nance Dance”/
If fans are unable to attend the event in Minneapolis, MN PBR will broadcast exclusive coverage on the PBR subscription-based digital network RidePass starting at 8:30 pm.