GLENDALE, Ariz. – Jose Vitor Leme had just ridden In For Life for 87.5 points during Round 2 of the Ak-Chin Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, on Sunday in Gila River Arena when he let out a sigh on the dirt.
“It really is a big relief when you get a round winner after two consecutive buckoffs,” Leme said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating.
Twenty-four hours earlier, Leme was dominated by Sketchy Bob (1.84 seconds in Round 1) and (Wicked Dreams (5.07 seconds in the 15/15 Bucking Battle).
“I just corrected everything I did wrong yesterday,” Leme said. “I had two really kind of hard bulls to ride yesterday. The first one today was weak and I got a really good re-ride. I just tried to not make the same mistakes I made yesterday. That first bull (Sketchy Bob) lunged and was real long and he kind of sat me back and came away from my hand.”
Leme did not stop with just his Round 2 victory.
The 22-year-old kept things rolling in the championship round by riding Wicked Stick for 90.5 points for another round victory.
“That is the Jose I have been waiting to see for the last week and a half right there,” two-time World Champion and CBS Sports analyst Justin McBride said. “Worth every point. Wicked Stick has one of the best days I have ever seen out of him. Jose goes at him with everything he needs to do, he does it with perfection.”
The back-to-back round wins propelled Leme to a second-place finish overall and 380 world points.
Leme now sits 862.5 points back of world No. 1 Jess Lockwood heading into next weekend’s Sacramento Invitational.
Lockwood was bucked off by Deep Water in 5.12 seconds in Round 2 and saw his premier series consecutive ride streak end at 10.
Leme’s three round wins this season is second in the PBR to Lockwood’s four. Leme is 6-for-11 (54.55 percent) through three events and is averaging 87.92 points per ride.
The Ribas Do Rio Pardo, Brazil, bull rider was happy to bounce back in a big way on Sunday afternoon. He knows he has to keep pace with Lockwood in the world title race and he can’t afford many buckoff streaks.
“This helps me go continue to dream about winning the title and get to it,” Leme said.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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