LAS VEGAS – The world’s Top 3 bull riders – No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme, No. 2 Jess Lockwood of Volborg and No. 3 Chase Outlaw – will headline the Professional Bull Riders Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour PWVT Finals at South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday and Sunday, setting the stage for one of the most fiercely contested World Championship races in PBR history.
Five crucial PBR World Finals berths are available at the Velocity Tour Finals, which will be awarded to the 2019 PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Champion and runner-up, 2019 PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals event winner and runner-up, and the top finishing international invite. Should any of these individuals already be qualified via the Top 35, the next rider in either the tour standings or event leaderboard will earn the berth to the most prestigious event in professional bull riding.
In the race to be crowned the 2019 Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Champion, the Top 12 ranked riders are separated by fewer than 440 points, with 10 poised to ride inside South Point Hotel and Casino. In addition to leading the world, Leme also sits atop the PWVT standings, 202.5 points in front of No. 2 Taylor Toves, who gained significant ground after his victory in Rapid City, South Dakota at the final regular-season event of the year.
In the broader PBR World Championship race, No. 1 Leme leads No. 2 Lockwood by 496.66 points and is 1,495.83 points in front of No. 3 Outlaw. One rider has the chance to win 440 world points at the Velocity Tour Finals: 80 points are awarded to the winner in each of the three rounds, and 200 points to the event winner.
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Leme, Lockwood and Outlaw each have had their career moments in the expansion series’ season-culminating event.
Lockwood will compete at the 2019 PWVT Finals as the 2019 Touring Pro Division Champion, concluding the season 52.5 points in front of Joao Ricardo Vieira after earning four event wins, along with five additional Top-10 results.
Much like Leme, Lockwood’s career has been significantly impacted by the PWVT and the Velocity Tour Finals. In 2017, Lockwood began the Velocity Tour Finals No. 5 in the world, 655 points behind then No. 1 Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington).
Mounting a 3-for-4 performance to finish fourth, Lockwood garnered 227.5 points, rising to No. 4 in the world, inching within 467.5 points of the top spot. After a 3-for-6 performance inside T-Mobile Arena, which included a historic three consecutive round wins, Lockwood became the youngest PBR World Champion in league history, edging Kolbaba by 447.5 points.