LAS VEGAS — Jess Lockwood came into the 2019 Professional Bull Riders World Finals knowing he had to be just about perfect to catch Jose Vitor Leme in the title race. That's exactly what the now two-time world champion was.
Lockwood started the final day Sunday with a 91.25-point ride aboard Rising Sun in Round 5, good for third in the round. Leme was fourth with 91 points, meaning the Brazilian needed to score 94.75 points in the championship short-go and have Lockwood buck off to catch the Volborg cowboy. Leme bucked off Lil 2 Train in 4.59 seconds, handing Lockwood his second title in three years.
"I thought I was at a loss for words for the first one, now I literally don't know what to say with this one - I'm completely speechless," Lockwood said after the event.
The 22-year-old hinted that he didn't know he had already won the title after Leme's buck-off, and thought he might have lost the title race after bucking off Canadian Mist, but his performance up to that point still earned him the World Finals aggregate title and enough points to pass Leme in the standings.
Leme led Lockwood by 749 points coming into the Finals, but put himself behind the 8-ball early after slapping his bull in Round 2. Leme was left chasing the rest of the Finals, knowing the aggregate bonus would be impossible to overcome unless Lockwood bucked off. He didn't until it was too late.
Columbia Falls bull rider Matt Triplett, meanwhile, had his best PBR World Finals run ever, riding five of six bulls to finish second to Lockwood at the World Finals. Triplett ended up 7th in the final world standings.