Professional Bull Riders’ World Finals: Can Anyone Catch Jose Vitor Leme?

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(CBSDFW.com)- The 2020 Professional Bull Riders’ season is ready to crown a champion this week in Arlington, Texas when the World Finals: Unleash The Beast rolls into AT&T Stadium. The weekend promises to be action packed as always with four rounds of intense competition culminating in the the world champion rider taking home the gold buckle and a $1 million bonus. All four rounds will air on CBS Sports Network with the B&W Hitches Inside the PBR World Finals presented by Yeti preshow leading up to the action.

The season has been a dominant one for world No. 1 rider Jose Vitor Leme. The 24-year-old Brazilian has racked up 17 wins, 11 90-point rides and an absurd 65.59 ride percentage across 42 events. He’s a full 424.59 points ahead of countryman Joao Ricardo Vieira in the standings entering the weekend. After second place finishes in 2018 and 2019, this would appear to be Leme’s year to take home the PBR World Champion buckle.

But, Vieira could have something to say about that. The 36-year-old was victorious in the final regular-season event of the year in Nampa, Idaho. And, he’s had success when the tour has made stops in Arlington winning the Iron Cowboy twice when the major was held in the city.

Joining the two Brazilians in fighting for the right to be called this year’s champion are a pair of Americans in Daylon Swearingen and Jess Lockwood. Lockwood is the reigning champion having overcome a 749.16-point deficit while winning the PBR World Finals in 2019 to overtake Leme. He’s currently 745.50 points behind the leader this year so he may have him right where he wants him.

Meanwhile, Swearingen put the tour on notice in 2019, becoming the youngest rider to ever qualify for both the PBR World Finals and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in the same season. This year, at age 21, he claimed his first Unleash The Beast event win of his career and racked up five 90-point rides, putting him within 738.84 points of the top spot.

While those four riders are competing for the title of best in the world, there are a pair of bulls going for the 2020 PBR World Champion Bucking Bull. Heading into the event, the top two bulls are separated by just 0.03 points. Chiseled (No. 1) and Smooth Operator (No. 2) have each posted three bull scores in excess of 46.5 points this year combining for six of the 10 times that has happened this season. Smooth Operator is the reigning PBR World Champion Bull making for an interesting battle for a repeat title again this weekend.

In addition to the World Finals, Arlington is playing host to the Inaugural Women’s Rodeo World Championship this weekend.

Fans are allowed to attend the event, with strict protocols in place to attempt to ensure safety amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For full information on the arrangements made for fans at the venue, check out the tour’s safety protocols here.

World Finals weekend coverage is set to begin Thursday, November 12 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time with the Inside the PBR World Finals preshow on CBS Sports Network. The full TV schedule for the weekend is below. All Times Eastern

Thursday, November 12

9:00 p.m. B&W Hitches Inside the PBR World Finals presented by Yeti preshow

9:30 p.m. 2020 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast Round 1

Friday, November 13

10:30 p.m. B&W Hitches Inside the PBR World Finals presented by Yeti preshow

11:00 p.m. 2020 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast Round 2

Saturday, November 14

7:00 p.m. B&W Hitches Inside the PBR World Finals presented by Yeti preshow

7:30 p.m. 2020 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast Round 3

Sunday, November 15

4:30 p.m. B&W Hitches Inside the PBR World Finals presented by Yeti preshow

5:30 p.m. 2020 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast Championship Round and Trophy Presentation

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