LAS VEGAS — In front of a sold-out crowd inside South Point Arena & Equestrian Center, the Professional Bull Riders world title race intensified Saturday evening during Round 1 of the 2019 Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals with world No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme of Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil, and No. 2 Jess Lockwood of Volborg both posting top-five scores.
As the final two men to emerge from the chutes, Lockwood set the bar high, posting an 88-point ride aboard Hammered Down to surge to third-place on the leaderboard.
Leme, both the world and Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour No.1, responded with an 87.5-point ride atop Little Joe to tie for fourth in the round.
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For their efforts, Lockwood earned 30 world points and $2,000 and Leme took home 17.5 world points and $500.
Entering the opening round of competition, Leme held a 496.66-point lead over Lockwood, which the Montana man shrunk to 484.16 as he seeks his second PBR World Title.
In the race to be crowned the 2019 Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Champion, Leme expanded his lead to 220 points over No. 2 Taylor Toves of Stephenville, Texas. While Toves reached the 8-second whistle aboard Page 512 for 83 points, tying him for 15th in the round, it was not enough to garner world points.