01/12/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/13/2019 00:01
CHICAGO - Jose Vitor Leme may be feeling pain in his right calf, but the No. 2 bull rider in the world refused to show it on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
Leme conquered Blue Crush for 87.25 points for his first qualified ride since bruising his right calf last weekend at the season-opening Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden, presented by Ariat.
The 22-year-old dominated Blue Crush as the bull was unable to use his size and strength to dislodge Leme from his bull rope.
'It is really hard to ride, especially with that kind of injury,' Leme admitted as he favored his right leg on the back of the bucking chutes with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. 'You touch and are in contact with those bulls all the time in the chutes. I am not going to give up. I am going to ride with pain. I won't give up. I am going to continue to do it.'
Leme injured his calf in New York when he was stepped on by Living Large in Round 2 after being bucked off in 3.43 seconds. He then aggravated the injury the next day when he was bucked off by Hedoo (2.07 seconds)
The 2017 World Finals event winner spent this past week rehabbing at Fit-N-Wise Rehabilitation & Performance Center in Decatur, Texas.
'I did all kinds of physical therapy,' Leme said. 'Electric stimulation. Hot and cold therapy. Massages. I did everything I could to be ready.'
Leme finished second in Round 1 (60 world points) to 2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood.
Lockwood rode Show Me Homie for 88.5 points to win the round and extend his lead atop the world standings to 672.5 points on Leme.
The 21-year-old has now ridden a career-high six consecutive bulls on the premier series.
'I will take that any day,' Lockwood said. 'Me and Cody Lambert have talked about it. Make it simple. Ride each bull every day. Ride each one each weekend. Ride each one each month. Ride each one each year. You have to take it one by one.'
The No. 1 bull rider in the world tipped his hat to Leme during the RidePass broadcast.
The mutual respect between the Top 2 riders continues to build on a weekly basis.
'He is incredible,' Lockwood said. 'I want that guy to do good every time.'
When told of Lockwood's comments, Leme smiled and nodded his head.
'I just want to say the same thing about him,' Leme said. 'He is a great rider and he is a great guy.'
The 2019 world title race has started to pit the two young superstars against each other.
Leme is slated to face Call The Law (8-7, UTB) in Round 2, while Lockwood will look for the 8 seconds against Kid Fletcher (3-0, UTB).
The action gets underway on RidePass at 2:45 p.m. ET and CBS Sports Network at 8 p.m. ET.
'It is going to be a hard competition through the year for the title,' Leme said. 'Lockwood has started off real good and I am right behind.
'I want to win that title also.'
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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