BILLINGS — Every point will count in a tight world standings race when the Professional Bull Riders return to Billings May 14-16.
And, Montana bull riding great Jess Lockwood is expected to make his return to the arena.
Texas bull rider Cooper Davis scored his first PBR Unleash The Beast event victory of the season Sunday in the premier series first performance in Omaha, Nebraska, in 12 years.
Less than two weeks before the Professional Bull Riders Unleash The Beast series returns to First Interstate Arena at MetraPark, there is also a new world standings leader as defending world champion Jose Vitor Leme — who won the Billings tour stop last year — climbed to the top of the pack for the first time this season.
Davis, a 27-year-old from Jasper, Texas, and the 2016 world champion, scored a season-best 92.25 points, according to a PBR news release, in the championship round on Sunday in Omaha.
After the first performance on Saturday, when Davis tied for second-place with 88.5 points, he jumped out front at the event with an 88.75-point score in round two on Sunday.
Davis, who placed third in the 15/15 Bucking Battle with a score of 78.5, earned $32,823.14 and 179 points in the world standings race.
Leme has come a long way since fracturing his right ankle in the first round at the season-opening event in Ocala, Florida, on Jan. 16. On Saturday, Leme rode to his PBR-leading seventh round win of the season with an 89.25-point score aboard Blue Crush. In the second round, Leme became the first PBR rider in 19 attempts to record an 8-second ride aboard Jayded, with an 86.75 point score the league noted in a press release.
In the championship round, Leme notched is league-best 10th 90-plus point ride of the year with a 91.75-point effort aboard I'm Legit Too.
With his second-place overall performance, Leme, of Brazil, surpassed fellow Brazilian and 2018 world titlist Kaique Pacheco, who placed 12th, in the world standings. Pacheco had been in the driver's seat in the world standings chase for four weeks.
Leme now has 819.5 points in the world title chase, while Pacheco has 792 points. Davis is in third place with 696.5 points and Joao Ricardo Vieira is in fourth with 682 points. Dener Barbosa is fifth in the standings with 529.83 points.
In finishing in the top five for the sixth time this year, a PBR release said that Leme netted $18,023.74 and 107.5 points.
Barbosa placed third overall with scores of 85.25, 87.75 and 88.5. He also won the special round, the 15/15 Bucking Battle, with a 91.25-point score. Junior Patrik Souza was second in the 15/15 round with a score of 87.5. Davis was the only other rider to successfully cover a bull in the special round.
Colten Fritzlan, of Rifle, Colorado, placed fourth, and continues to lead the Rookie of the Year race the PBR reported. Cody Teel of Texas, who won the Billings stop in 2019, placed fifth.
No UTB events are scheduled this week. When the PBR returns to action, it will be at Metra May 14-16 for the Wrangler Invitational presented by Cooper Tires it will mark the 26th straight year that the elite series tour has had a date in Billings. The Billings tour stop is the longest-running event for the PBR.
Lockwood, a fan favorite in his home state, is also expected to compete at the Metra, where he was victorious in 2016. PBR Insider Justin Felisko tweeted on April 27 that while Lockwood wouldn't compete at Omaha, he had "no intentions of missing his home state event."
Two-time World Champion Jess Lockwood (left thigh bruise) is OUT for Omaha, but says he will be back for Billings. Lockwood has no intentions of missing his home state event. He will, though, first get on practice bulls next month before making a final decision.— Justin Felisko (@jfelisko) April 27, 2021
Lockwood, the PBR world champion in 2019 and 2017, has been out since sustaining a left-thigh bruise during the first round of the tour’s previous stop in Oklahoma City April 17.
The 23-year-old Lockwood, who has battled an assortment of injuries this season, is 24th in the standings and has collected 119.5 points and $21,219.20 in just seven events this year.
According to the premier series schedule on the PBR website, the Billings event will be the 13th of 26 stops this season. The PBR World Finals are Nov. 3-7 in Las Vegas.
After a week off and with riders like Lockwood hoping to make up ground, a tight world standings race, the rookie of the year chase, and a 15/15 Bucking Battle on the schedule, riders will be seeking every point they can earn at Metra.