NAMPA, Idaho – After a wild weekend inside the Ford Idaho Center, Ramon de Lima (Rio Branco, Brazil) stood on the dirt Saturday evening in front of a sold-out crowd after capturing his first Unleash The Beast (UTB) event win of the 2023 season at the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Gem State Bucking Battle, presented by Cooper Tires.
Lima was the only rider to ride three bulls in Nampa during another weekend in which the animal athletes of the sport defeated PBR’s top riders.
With just four events remaining until the PBR World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 12-21, the world title race had a lot on the line over the two-day weekend in Nampa.
PBR World Champion and current No. 2 man in the standings Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) remained sidelined due to injury, allowing current world leader and 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) to gain ground – an opportunity that did not pan out as the bulls dominated the weekend.
On Friday in Round 1, Out of the Blue (Vold Rodeo/ Wyatt Bridge) tossed the 2022 PBR Team Series Nashville Stampede athlete to the ground after just 6.79 seconds. Knowing Saturday would make or break his weekend, Pacheco put it all on the line in his matchup with Back Jack (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger). Despite being thrashed to the ground at 4.76 seconds and not punching his ticket to the championship round, Pacheco clings tightly to his razor-thin 2.5-point lead over Leme.
After coming in seventh in the opening round courtesy of his 86.5-point matchup with Fowl Play (BMC Bucking Bulls/ Jenkins Cattle), 32-year-old Lima knew that in Saturday’s Round 2, he had to get past another rank pen of bulls to continue to climb the leaderboard.
Paired with Drago (Jeb Fredericks/ Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger) as Saturday night began, the veteran Brazilian, who rode for the Austin Gamblers during the inaugural PBR Teams Series in 2022, exploded from the chutes and hung on to make the 8, collecting an 86.75-point score.
Lima then selected Fastfire (Glover Cattle/ D&H Cattle Co) as his final opponent on the weekend. With two of the world’s Top 5 bull riders and half of the Top 30 out due to injury, along with the pen of rank bulls dominating the weekend, he decided to keep the 61.25-point ride, which moved him to the top of the leaderboard.
Combined with his two previous scores, it still put him on the victor’s podium, allowing him to collect 130.5 UTB points and pick up his first event win of the season. His last event win was, in fact, in Nampa in 2022.
Lima’s 3-for-3, first-place finish moved him from No. 33 to No. 20 in the UTB standings and earned him a check for $53,122.
Capturing second place overall for the weekend was Tate Pollmeier (Ft. Scott, Kansas), a rookie from Kansas who made his league debut during the inaugural PBR Team Series season in late 2022 as part of the Oklahoma Freedom. Pollmeier was matched with Hard Not To Get (Vold Bucking Bulls) on night one of the two-day event. As he launched from the chutes, he matched the athletic bovine’s intensity until the buzzer sounded, scoring 88.75 points, the highest score of the night, to win Round 1.
He was then paired with Skeeter Peter (Dakota Rodeo/ Mark Baker/ Clay Struve/ Chad Berger) for Saturday’s Round 2.
As one of only four men to ride in Round 2, Pollmeier recorded the highest score at 87 points, punching his ticket into the final round.
The 19-year-old’s championship round ended abruptly when Ricky Vaughn (D&H Cattle Co./ Buck Cattle Co.) dispatched him after 2.49 seconds.
Pollmeier’s 2-for-3 weekend netted him 106 UTB points to move him from No. 22 to No.14 in the standings.