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Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 30: Jose Vitor Leme

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Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with disrupters and high performers in all walks of life. In episode 30, we spoke to Jose Vitor Leme, a Brazilian professional rodeo cowboy and bull rider.

Listen to the full episode above (scroll down for the transcript) and see more from this series below.

This interview has not been edited for length or clarity.


Mike Sarraille:

Welcome to the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. I’m your host, Mike Sarraille. Hey, we’re doing this one special one. We’re with, uh, Jose Vitor Lek, uh, one of the best bull riders, uh, in, in the world. And we’ll go down in history as the, uh, the same. We’re here on his, uh, ranch, the, the lame ranch. Uh, first off, I love the gate. Oh, where it says World Champion <laugh>. Um, I don’t have any title, but I’m gonna have to come up with a new gate that, uh, <laugh> that, that says something. Cool. Um, hey, man, first off, thank you for inviting us into, uh, into your home. Uh, I know you’re a private, uh, person and people are always reaching out for, for media appearances, so giving us the time. And I’m, I’m, I’m hop, you know, appreciative for that. I will say we, we did get to meet in Austin when Tim Kennedy, myself spoke to the, uh, the Austin, uh, gamblers, which you’re, you’re the team captain and you were the number one, uh, pick. Uh, there was something about you cuz you know, G Man and JJ had told me about you, where you seem like you’re very little talk all action. You’re not boastful in, in a way. And I, and I’m saying this is a compliment, like you just seem laser focused as to what you want. You just have very little time for bullshit. So

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah, first thanks for coming out and thanks for doing this and let’s, you know, try, explain a little bit about my story for the fans, for all the people who’s watching and my gate. It’s gonna be open for y’all whenever you guys want to come here to, to do it again. And, uh, yeah man, you know, I, I’m not a good talker, you know, I, I, I’m kind of shy with the cameras and stuff like that and, but I’m gonna try to do my best and like I always do. Like, I always try to do, even if it’s working or just having a conversation. Just, just do it, You know, just put on the work.

Mike Sarraille:
So, you know, I I, I do wanna get into your, your story, cuz I, I, there’s, there’s gotta be something in your upbringing that has just lent to your humility and your work ethic. Uh, so born in Brazil, now in the United States. Uh, give me the backstory to, to Brazil because I mean, uh, I love the fact that you were a semi-professional soccer player all the way to 18, and you make a decision like that and you become one of the best bull riders in the, uh, in the world.

Jose Vitor Leme:
Man, that was a big story. <laugh> like a big change to, you know, since I start Ride Bulls. My dad, he was a bull rider and, uh, I always had that on my mind, you know, on my blood, on my life, you know, watching him riding both. And, uh, when I, when I was 10, uh, he had some bucking bows and he start working with bucking bows and I start riding the calves, you know, yearlings young bulls. And, uh, that’s, that’s where I start, you know, ride something <laugh>, not real booze, but hearings. And, uh, when I was 12, 2, 2 years after I started ride calfs, uh, my dad and my mom, they got divorced and we had to to sell everything, all the bulls. And we had a little bit dark time on, on that moment. And, uh, I stopped riding and I start playing soccer.

Jose Vitor Leme:
That’s, that’s when I start playing. And I had to move to a different town. And, uh, I put all my life on soccer. I educate myself on to be a professional soccer player. That, that’s what I had on my mind on that moment. And, uh, I, I was doing it. I was, Oh, I, I almost get, you know, professional soccer player, but I, I was almost there and I think God knock on my door and say, Hey, I think I have something different for you. You know, because I was not making money on that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, I was living with my mom and my grandmom and we got, I got a little sister and I was the only one working at on ho uh, at home on that moment. And I had to put, you know, food on, Yeah. On, on her house cuz I was the man.

Jose Vitor Leme:
And I, you know, my friends, they, they invite me to go, uh, some jackpots we call jackpots, some tournaments, little tournaments, bull riding tournaments. And there’s just one day event. And I went with them and I watched some friends, some old friends riding and they say, Hey man, you gotta, you gotta try, you know, you was doing good when you was kid and you, you got a fu future on this, on this sport too. I know you, I know you play good soccer, but he was a good bull rider too. And I was like, Oh man, I don’t know, I don’t know about this. It’s a big change, you know, soccer player to professional bull rider <laugh>. Uh, it’s hard to imagine. But I start, think about that. And on the next practice they had, I went and I practiced in one bowl and I rode that bull. And, and that was, that was amazing because I didn’t, I didn’t have, I didn’t have the ride any bull since I was 12, and that was six years later. And I rode that bull. Like I never stopped it before. You know, I never get that time between 12 and 18. And, uh, I was like, man, I think I was walking on the wrong way. I have to, I have to be a, you know, bull rider. I have to put my focus on this now. And that’s what I did. And that’s how I, I started

Mike Sarraille:
Maybe, maybe not the, the the wrong way. Um, but were there things about soccer, Cause I know you had dedicated your life, that between that, that six year break that you learned that applied to bull riding, I mean, was there anything soccer that you equate to bull riding now?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yes, for sure. Uh, I’m glad I, I’ll, you know, I had that time on soccer because I’m sure that I still, I still using a lot of those things right now on my, on my job, you know, on my sport because, uh, that’s why I still playing too, you know, sometimes for fun. And, uh, I still using that for, for my physical, you know, for my body, for my mind. Uh, it’s, there’s something, there’s some, some things similar, like you have to, you know, have a quick feed, you have to have quick mind, <laugh>, you know, tank fast because on the boo you cannot lose a second. And on the soccer is the same thing. You have to, you know, have a quick mind. So

Mike Sarraille:
You, you had to have been in, uh, a lot better shape when you came back to bull riding than most of the bull riders. Yes. Just from what, what position in sucker did

Jose Vitor Leme:
You folks? Oh,

Mike Sarraille:
Mid midfielder. Midfielder. Yeah. So you were running the length the

Jose Vitor Leme:
Whole time. The whole time.

Mike Sarraille:
No kidding. Yeah. And, and you said something, man, I want, I want to cuz you, you, you can tell a lot about a man by, by by their, their their upbringing. So did you become the man of the house at a pretty early age?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yes. Yeah, that was a hard time because, uh, I was, uh, I move with my mom. I was 12 and that was very hard. But that, that teach me a lot of things, you know, how to be a man, you know, I, I was young, but I had to work. I had to, to start think about my life on different ways. And I learn a lot of good things with that because I think if that don’t happen at, maybe I was not here today, maybe I was, I wasn’t have this mindset now, you know? And that happened me grow like a man.

Mike Sarraille:
So when you made that leap to, uh, back to bull riding, what, what was the first competition you won?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Uh, the first professional competition I won, that was in 2000, uh, 16. That was my first first year riding professionally. And, uh, I, my man, my career was so fast because like you said, I was in shape, like, you know, because I was coming from soccer and my body was so perfect, you know, to ride. I was ready. I just, I just needed, you know, to fix some, some things on bull riding, but my body was, you know, ready to go. Yeah. And, uh, uh, I start so good and when, when I start, go every weekends to the events, that was like days so fast and I start finished good on the events. And, uh, I think I won two events on my first year, and that was in Brazil. It’s so hard because we have so many talents, you know, on, on a bull riding too. And for me, on the first year, win two, two good events, you know, two big event. That was, that was amazing. Especially because the, the events I won, uh, we had a lot of older professional bull riders over there too, you know, professional big names. And yeah, man, I was so, so happy. And that was, that was a quick start for me

Mike Sarraille:
In terms of the money Was that, did, did you start to see a life changing?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Nah, not too much. Not yet, you know, but for sure that was, that that was a start, you know, like, doesn’t change a lot because in Brazil it’s, it’s so hard for, you know, you leave just riding bulls, you know, you have, you need to have something else to do. Uh, but that was a good start for me, you know, for for sure because I, I didn’t have anything and I started winning couple, one, man, that was, that was good. I already started put some, some things on my house, you know, on my, with my mom and helped my mom, my family. That was, that was a good moment for me

Mike Sarraille:
At that point. Were your mom, your grandmother, and your, your little sister, like, go, just keep doing it. Go. They, they saw it.

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah, when I started, they, they don’t want <laugh> they don’t wanted me to, to ride bulls. They wanted me to keep playing soccer because I was, you know, I was, I was almost there to be a professional. And, uh, when I said, Hey mom, I I think I’m gonna be a bull rider. I’m not gonna be a professional soccer player. She say, Oh my goodness, what are, what are you thinking about? You know, what are you talking about? It’s a big change. I don’t want get hurt. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna lost you. You know, I want my son alive. And I was like, Man, mom, God will protect me. He’s always with me, so I’m gonna make this decision. And I’m sure big, big things will come.

Mike Sarraille:
Is is your mom still around? Yes. Is she still concerned?

Jose Vitor Leme:
No. Yeah. Now, now she, now she, she agree with me. She say, Yeah, I was wrong, but I just, you know, I just wish the best for you. And now I know, um, that feeling he had before, because I have a son and yeah, I don’t wanna, I don’t want to have my son riding bus. But

Mike Sarraille:
Is is honest to God, I mean, I’m sure you’d be inwardly happy or proud if your son became a bull rider, but deep down, or are you trying to change the status of your family so he never has to?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah, man, it’s, you know, if I have to tell him something, you know, if I have to tell him to do some, any sport, I’m not gonna tell him to be a bull rider. Yeah. Because I know all the risks and I had a lot of, you know, bad experiences riding bulls, but it’s my life, so I don’t want to, I don’t want any, any of those things happen with him, you know?

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. How many, how many friends have you lost in this sport?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Uh,

Mike Sarraille:
Or seen? Just get messed up,

Jose Vitor Leme:
Man, A lot of messed up. But a couple years ago we lost a, I lost a really close friend of mine. He, he was like, you know, really close and we lost him. Uh, it’s not easy, you know, because you always know the risk. You always know that can happen, but you never expected to happen, to expect to happen, especially with somebody very close to you or with you, you know? But that can happen. So that’s why I always, you know, have God with me, because it’s not only it, it’s not only how great you are, how good you are on, on your job. You, you need to have God with you because you’re not gonna step on your feet ever, every ride. You’re, you’re not gonna step on, on your feet every trip. So

Mike Sarraille:
Is that a, is that a big part of, of your life, your faith?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yes, always since I start, you know, all on the soccer, when I start bull riding, I always had a lot of faith, you know, because, uh, for me, there’s no reason we are here now without God’s plan. You know? That’s, that’s what I trust and that’s what I, I think.

Mike Sarraille:
What does your wife think when she sees you get under bull? She’s gotta be terrified.

Jose Vitor Leme:
Well, when we met, I was doing bull riding already, you know, and she’s already, you know, she already know all that, all the risk. But I’m sure she’s always, you know, it’s kind of nervous, you know, to watch someone riding. I, I know that because when I watch my, my friends riding and something happening with them, it, it’s, it’s terrible, you know? And you always, you know, cheer for, for a good ride and for, for his step on, on his feet and get out of their, like, clear with any nothing injury, you know? But it’s hard because those bulls, they just want to buck you off. They just want to take you out of them.

Mike Sarraille:
What, what, So for, for a lot of the, uh, the listeners, what’s the average weight of, of the bulls in competition?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Man, that’s, they’re heavy. That’s, that’s a lot. I don’t know the average, but, uh,

Mike Sarraille:
Mean they could be anywhere for like 1200 to 1800 Yes. Of her. Yeah, for sure.

Jose Vitor Leme:
It’s insane.

Mike Sarraille:
Easy to get on a beast like that. Uh, it, it just, I, I could say when you guys do that, I’m like, God, that is fucking stupid. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like, what, in what human would ever put themselves on the back of, of the, their beasts? Yes. They’re freaking beast, dude.

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Do you think, uh, deep down when, when you get on their backs, like the only thought in their her head is, I wanna hurt this person. I wanna get this person off as violently as possible.

Jose Vitor Leme:
I didn’t say hurt them, but just, you know, but, you know, take it out off me, you know? Yeah. Because there’s, there’s something, you know, different on. It’s like if you put somebody on your back, you, you’re not gonna like it, you’re not gonna, you know, you you gonna wanna take it out of that. If something, it’s, you know, uh, something’s strange. You, you are gonna find a way to get out of there. Yeah. And that’s what they do. And uh, that’s what, that’s the worst part. You have to, you know, stay on eight seconds. It’s just eight. But for us, on the top of them, man, it’s a lot. It’s like eight hours. <laugh>.

Mike Sarraille:
The, uh, when, when you step into the cage and, and you mount that beast, is it you versus the bull? Or is it you versus you in your mind?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Uh, on my mind it’s, it’s both, You know, like I have different moments, like before I start, it’s me versus me to get ready to do all perfect, to do everything I can to stay on and don’t buck off. And then when I step on the shoot to jump on on their back and then there it’s me versus them. Yeah. You know, versus the booze. So they want to buck me off and I want to stay on. So it’s a big fight. It’s eight seconds of a lot of fight. And, uh, man, the adrenaline, it’s, it’s crazy. It’s, it, I don’t know. I never skydiving before, but <laugh>, it’s, it’s insane.

Mike Sarraille:
I assure you do it. It’s, it’s not stepping on in the back of a, uh, 1500 out town pool. Um, there, there is adrenaline, but, uh, at the end of the competition’s, all said and done from that, we, we call it the adrenaline dump. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do you just, do you pass out? Do you sleep after competitions?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Sometimes, yes, sometimes not. Because when, when I won events, I cannot sleep. I, I just keep thinking about that, you know, because the happiness, you know, all that glory, because you did perfect. You, you did your job. And I, I don’t sleep at all. I just, I just try enjoy that moment, that feeling, you know? Because when I book off, I want to sleep and think about the next day. Yeah. Not, I want to forget about that, you know? And, uh, when I, when I win, I, I, it’s hard to sleep.

Mike Sarraille:
So you, you’re, you almost say it was a, it was a me york, uh, rise to, to, to the professional, uh, pbr. I mean, 2017 sort of changed everything for you. You won the Brazilian pbr. Yes. You became the rookie of the year. And then was it less, less than one year later, you found yourself competing in the us?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Nah, man, like I said, I was so fast because I started ride professionally in 2016, 2017. I won the Nationals in Brazil. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I was the rookie. After year, I, I jumped on a plane and came to USA without speak English without, you know, I didn’t know nobody, I just came to ride a boo on the award finals. And I won award finals. I won the rookie after the year. Yep. I won the last event. I finished seven on, on that year with just one event in the whole season. And man, that was, that was crazy because I never expected that. I, I knew that that will come one day, but not that fast, because I knew that because I was working so hard. And I always had had a goal on my mind to do something like that, but I didn’t know that was gonna be that fast.

Mike Sarraille:
So you’re in the US you, you’re, you’re learning the language and you’re, your English is much better than, uh, than my Portuguese. So well done. Uh, how did you find Decatur, Texas? Cause I know there’s a, there’s a, a Brazilian bull riding, you know, sort of community here, but who was the first one to approach you and say, Hey, come to Decatur and really sort of help get you set up?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah. Uh, that was a, that was a kind of fun story because when I came to here, I didn’t know where I was gonna stay <laugh>. I didn’t know, you know, where I was gonna live with, you know. Uh, and on the word finals, I met some, some guys, uh, and they was living here in Decatur and they say, Brazilians live in Decatur, so you have to move there to be easy for, for you and for we travel together and, you know, split expenses and it’s gonna be easier for you. And I said, Oh, okay. I’m going, I’m down. And I moved to Decatur. Um, I moved to live with Luciano De Castro and Alex Marcio, uh, actually Mar Alex Marcio eats on Gamble’s team now too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, uh, uh, I live with them about, I stay with them about two weeks. And I, I just rent my own apartment and I start building my, my own personal life after that.

Mike Sarraille:
So, Have you met your, are you married at this time or were you dating?

Jose Vitor Leme:
No, I was dating my wife and, uh, uh, she was in Brazil. And I, we stayed away from, uh, each other for three months since I came to here. And I said, Hey, come here baby. Because it’s hard to, to stay away from you. Yeah. You know, and, and she came, uh, to us too. And, uh, we, we, we was living an apartment and couple months after that, we got married and we start build our life. We, we bought this property and we are here now,

Mike Sarraille:
2020 2021. Defining years for you. You walked away with the championship back to back and put yourself in a very small category. Yeah. Um, cuz what only two other Brazilians have won three championships. Yes.

Jose Vitor Leme:
Before. Yeah. And that was a dream. Pun true. You know, because ever since I start ride bulls, or ever since I start doing anything on my life, I, I always had this mentality, you know, not be just one more, I want to be different. I wanna be special. You know, if I want to do something, I’m gonna do my best to be the best. And when I won my first war title, I was, I was ready. You know, I was expecting that because I, I, I, I had two past years in 2000, uh, 18 and 19, I finished second mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And in 2020, that was like the re redemption for me. Yeah. Yeah. Because I finished second two years in a row, and I finally got my first war title. And man, like, that was like, I took it. I took 200,000 pounds off my back because I was working so hard for that, and I finally did it.

Jose Vitor Leme:
So after that I was so light, you know? And I was look like five feet tall because, because I was feeling good. Yeah. And my dream come true. And, uh, I was feeling great. And I won again on the next year. And, uh, with all the issues I have during the year, some, some injuries, I, I stayed a lot events out. That was hard because, uh, I was watching those guys riding pretty good and I cannot do anything. But, uh, I bet you don’t like to sit on the sidelines. No, no. I don’t like, I don’t like to stay out. But, uh, that was a, that was a good moment too for me, because I stay with my family, with my son, you know? Uh, and I always, I always try to take something good from, from the bad parts. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because I don’t like, just stay worry about, you know, Oh man, I’m out.

Jose Vitor Leme:
I cannot do anything. I’m gonna lose. No, I just, I, I try to stay positive, you know, and think about the future. And that’s what I did. And I finished good. I won again, I broke two records. I mean, I broke like, more than that, like maybe four records on, on the season. Most round winds, most 90 points, uh, most event wins. And on single season, the highest score of the history of PBR twice on the same year. That was a magical season for me. And I torn my, my growing Yeah. Uh, on that finals. And, uh, I took a couple months after that to recovery, but that was not enough. And that still bothering me during the 2022 season, but I still doing good on, on 22 season. And I, I was almost there. I was like very close to win my third one and to be the first one to win three in a row. And, uh, I got injury on the finals, like night before everything over,

Mike Sarraille:
Uh, not just an injury, four broken ribs in a partially collapsed lung.

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah. That was, I think that was the dark, darkest, darkest time. You know, the worst time on my, on my life because, uh, on that moment I was like, I don’t know if I can make it, you know, I don’t know if I’m gonna survive after this. Because I never felt pain like that all my life before. I, I already had broken, broken ribs before two times. And on the last time it was the worst.

Mike Sarraille:
Was it also because the lung? Yes. Just trying to breathe.

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yes. Yep. Yep.

Mike Sarraille:
I’ve, I’ve never had any of that. Like I’ve heard breaking the ribs are excruciating.

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Man, that was terrible. And on that moment, you start, think about your life, about your family, you know, you, you’d be like, Man, what I’m doing riding this bull, they can kill you, <laugh>. I don’t know if I want to keep doing that. You know, I can, I can die doing that. And, but that, that is only on the heat, you know, on the moment on, on that, right after you, you get an injury or something like that. After that, I was like, Oh, no, I, I have to keep doing that because I didn’t finish, I didn’t finish yet. I still have goals.

Mike Sarraille:
Uh, is it true that 48 hours later after that injury, you, uh, attended the draft for the new PBR team series in person to assist with the, uh, the Austin gambler selections?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah. Yeah. That was crazy because I was in the HO hospital and, uh, uh, I was so worried about it because I didn’t know if there they was gonna fix me because I was injured. You know, I was, I had a, I almost died on that arena, and I didn’t know if they will believe in, on, on me, you know? I don’t know if they was gonna trust on my job after that, if, you

Mike Sarraille:
Know, So you wanted to walk in to the draft?

Jose Vitor Leme:
For sure. You know, I was like, I have to go there and, you know, show them I’m, I’m ready. You know, I know I’m not ready, but I will be in the, I just walked there with my wife and my friends and, uh, that was, that was a great moment for

Mike Sarraille:
Me to, I’m assuming a lot of people were like, Stay in bed. You don’t have to go.

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s what they said, you know, But man, I, I knew that was, that was gonna be good, you know, especially because that was their first ever draft, you know, first draft ever. And that was gonna be special, you know, and be the first pick ever

Mike Sarraille:
Of the draft. I’m starting to see a little bit of pattern, uh, once you’re set, you’ve got your mind set on something. Can anyone talk you out of it?

Jose Vitor Leme:
No. Yeah, I’m, I’m like that, you know,

Mike Sarraille:
So bull bullheaded in a way Yes. Is what we call it. Yeah. Yeah.

Jose Vitor Leme:
I have that, you know, But sometimes it’s good

Mike Sarraille:
<laugh> as, as your wife learned to pick her battles, like up, he’s, he’s got his mindset not even gonna say anything <laugh>. Or does she speak her mind?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah, she tried, but I didn’t change it. <laugh>. Yeah. I follow my, my, you know, I don’t know, what do you call that? My stance. Like, like I follow my heart, you know?

Mike Sarraille:
And don’t look back. Yeah. I have no doubt. So as we transition from, you know, individual writing, now you’re part of the Austin gamblers, you guys just got back from your first competition in Cheyne, Wyoming, um, first night didn’t work out the way you guys had planned, uh, but you, you rallied the team for the second night and, uh, you, you guys came out victorious and you’re sitting in what, third right now? In the teams Yes. Team series. What, and I know it’s new for you, you, you, you were elected team captain for obvious reasons. You’re most talented, uh, well, one of the most talented, uh, writers in the world, if not the world. And, uh, you, you’re, you’re the best writer on the, uh, Austin gamblers. What did you say to them that first night? Uh, to, to get them reset for, for the second night?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Man, that, that was a hard time because everybody expected different, you know, from us, because, uh, ob obviously we was one of the best teams over there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we got a lot of good talents on the team, uh, and lose the first game, man, nobody wants to start like that. Especially me, man. I’m so competitive. Even if it’s just playing cards with my friends, I, I don’t like lose at all. And especially, you know, on the competition. Yeah. I don’t agree. You know, because we was working a lot and putting a lot of effort, you know, before, before the fir the season start, and she came on first game and lose. That was terrible. But a, uh, I think a lot of those guys, they learned something from that.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah.

Jose Vitor Leme:
That, that they used that for learn something. And that helping us help was a lot on the next day because we used that lose to motivate us to win on the second, on the second night. And that’s what we did. We, we came to the next day and we just did it. We, we, over most of the bows and all the other guys, they, they changed their mindset and they got their reset, You know, they got new mindset and they step in and did their job. And that was a big relief, you know? And, uh, we prove for ourselves we can do that. You know, even if, if we lose the first game, even if, if we don’t start like we want, but we can finish good. And that’s what we gonna use for the rest of the season. We didn’t have the, the first, you know, the first hard good, but we’re gonna finish good

Mike Sarraille:
Being a team captain. That’s, that’s a little bit of a new feeling. And, uh, for the listeners, I, I think I sort of spoiled it when I was speaking to your team during the team week. I said, Well, who’s the team captain? And they hadn’t announced who the team captain was, but all, all the writers are like, Oh, it’s, it’s Jo. And, uh, that’s how you found out you’re the, uh, the team captain. What, what does it look like? What does it feel like that your teammates now look at you as, as the source of motivation and, and sort of guidance? Does that, are, are you settling into that position? Well,

Jose Vitor Leme:
Uh, yeah, man, that’s, that’s a big, you know, responsibility. Like, for me, be a captain. Uh, but I love that because I love how peoples, I love to give my opinion if, if somebody wants to, you know, if somebody needs help mm-hmm. <affirmative> and ask me, I’ll, I’m open to help anybody and give my thoughts, you know? And when JJ and Michael came to me and they say, Hey, you are gonna be the captain of the gamblers. And I was like, Man, thank you. You know, thank you for trusting me and this is gonna be awesome. Yeah. Because I know I can help a lot of those guys to improve themselves and be better, and not only on their, you know, their job, but on their personal life too and on their mindsets to be a successful, you know, on what, what they’re doing. And, uh, man has been great so far. We’re, we’re doing pretty good. All the guys, we have a good relationship. We have, you know,

Mike Sarraille:
A lot of of shit talking, going

Jose Vitor Leme:
On, a lot of shit talking between us. Yeah, man, It’s, it’s funny. It’s this team concept. It’s, it’s, it’s very interesting and I hope, I hope we, we can stay on this, like, on this, what I, what can I put words like this teammates, this, you know, this feeling for a long time, I think

Mike Sarraille:
Do, do you think the, uh, the team series is good for pbr? Yeah. And maybe bringing in more, uh, followers that naturally wouldn’t have been, that wouldn’t follow bull riding, or are pretty optimistic? Yeah,

Jose Vitor Leme:
For sure. Yeah. That already started, you know, like a lot of older fans of older sports, they already start cheer for, you know, teams because we’re doing different now. It’s different. It’s not about individual anymore. It’s it’s teams. And, uh, talking about Austin, you know, like a lot of peoples in Austin, they’re gonna cheer for Austin gamblers because we are from Austin.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. You know? Yep.

Jose Vitor Leme:
And, uh, we are gonna, we’re gonna have a lot of connections with different sports. That’s, that’s what bull riding needed, you know, need more partners, more peoples around it to, to help grow this sport. And I, I think it’s gonna be great. I think I’m, I’m so excited for that.

Mike Sarraille:
Do you feel fortunate to have, and we’ve had Michael Gaffney on, and, and I, I gotta tell you, man, you could just tell he’s a good man, a bull riding aside. He’s just a good, good family man. You can tell everything about him, But do you feel fortunate to have, you know, a writer who is gonna go down in history as one of the best bull writers in the sport? Do you feel fortunate to have him as a coach and Oh, yeah. And mentor for

Jose Vitor Leme:
Sure, man, have him to be a mentor of for us. It, it’s gonna be awesome, you know, has been great for us because we, we, we are learning a lot of different things from him, you know, because he was riding on the riding on the past, and now this new era of Bull Riders, it’s completely different. And we all learning from each other, man. It’s, it’s fantastic because, uh, he’s a great person. He’s a great guy. He’s a, he’s a, you know, no words to describe him because how great he, he is, you know, he’s, Does

Mike Sarraille:
Does he get upset? Have you seen him get upset

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yet? No, never. I never, I never see him angry. I hope I don’t see it because I don’t know if it’s good, because he’s so nice. He’s, he’s awesome. I love Michael.

Mike Sarraille:
He’s, he, he’s, he’s almost like a pro typical cowboy you’d see in a movie. You’d just easy going. But if you guys ever piss him off, let let me know. I wanna know how that went. Uh, take pictures. Yeah. Um, so dude, naturally I want, I want, you know, a few things I want to touch on, uh, before we close, but the nature of bull riding, uh, you know, people don’t stay in this sport, you know, into their late thirties. I mean, there’s a, there’s a few bull riders that made it make it to, you know, 37, 39, but there, there’re rarities. Yeah. Compared to the most, the nature of the sport is, is just brutal on your body. Yeah. You know, and again, when I saw you, you strike me more as a soccer player than a bull rider. I mean, you’re fit, you can tell you don’t have many distractions. Walk me through your training regimen, uh, from lifting to, to, you know, to cardiovascular, to diet. And I’m gonna make an assumption you don’t drink, do you?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Uh, sometimes. Sometimes,

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah.

Jose Vitor Leme:
But just sometimes I, I was drinking more before, but now, uh, I’m completely, you know, focused on, on my, on my body, you know, on my, my professional career and, uh, now, Yeah. Now I’m just, I don’t drink at all now.

Mike Sarraille:
So what are you doing for workouts when you’re not practicing on the bowl?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Uh, we do a lot of functional, functional training. Yeah. You know, uh, a lot of agility because, uh, you don’t have, you, you can, you don’t want to get two, you know, two muscles on, on your body. Yeah. You don’t, you don’t want a lot of muscles. You want to be a flexibility, you know, have flexibility and be fast because bull riders, they cannot be heavy, you know, they, they have to be light and, uh, very active, like on the agility to, to dance with the booth. Yeah. Because it’s a dance, you know. Uh, that’s what I do. You know, every morning, uh, we start our training at six 6:00 AM and we have our personal trainer, uh, Jim Bowie, he, he, he do all this stuff. He’s a great guy. He, he take care of us not only doing treatments, but on the therapy too. He’s a great therapist. And,

Mike Sarraille:
Uh, and I notice you say we, uh, are a few of the boys join you in the morning. The team. The

Jose Vitor Leme:
Team, yeah. The team. Uh, we got almost, uh, 50% of the team lives around here. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, uh, we all go together on the gym and we all work out together like a team. And some of those guys, uh, who lives far from from here, sometimes they came and spent a, a week with us. Yeah. To, you know, to have that relationship and, and practicing and hang out together, uh, to have that spirit, you know, of team. And, uh, that’s what we do. You know, now, that’s why this team deal. I think it’s gonna be great for, for everyone, uh, on all the teams because that, that is pushing you to be better, to improve yourself because you want to be better, you want to help your team. It’s not only about you, you know, the consequences. It’s not only about you if you lose, it’s not only you, it’s the whole team. So nobody wants to see your teammate losing. Yeah. And that’s why it’s gonna help a lot, I think.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. I haven’t been in that environment. Uh, you feel like all the eyes are on you if that happens. What, what about diet man? What, what are you doing in terms of,

Jose Vitor Leme:
Uh,

Mike Sarraille:
Of food?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Not too much. I, man, I like eat <laugh> a lot. Uh, but I normally, I eat more during the night to, you know, for the next day because we, we work out early on the morning and I don’t, I don’t like workout hungry, so, uh, I eat good on the night during the lunch. I, I just eat something light to, you know, just stay the rest of the day. But I normally eat better on the night before sleep. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Now, in terms of, uh, and we, we spoke about this, you’re sort of unorthodox in the way that, you know, even if you have a competition during the weekend, you’ll, you’ll get on a bowl on Wednesday, which a lot of guys don’t do, cuz one, I mean, they’re, Yeah. I’m assuming they’re, they figure why take the risk and get hurt before a competition? But you’re, you’re different in the mind that you like to get in the saddle. And

Jose Vitor Leme:
Man, it’s not only about improve yourself riding booth, it’s about your mindset. I think bull riding, it’s, it’s like a game you have, it’s a combination with your body and mind. If some of those things, it’s not, it’s not right, something wrong, it’s gonna happen. You know, you’re not gonna, you’re not gonna be good on the competition. And I like to be balanced balancing, uh, balance it all the time, you know? That’s why I like to get on, on booze, on practice band before the events, because that’s gonna help me fix my mistakes on bull riding and fix my mind to get ready to ride bulls. You know, it’s like, it’s like you, if you have a, you know, know to go somewhere on the war, you’re gonna practice before you’re gonna, Oh, yeah. You’re gonna do a lot of things to be ready for that. You’re not, you’re not only gonna go there and take a risk, take a risk to, you know, get shit should, you know, And that’s what I do. I like to practice every week before events to, to get ready to prove myself. Now I’m ready. And that’s rock and row.

Mike Sarraille:
When you think about longevity, man, um, I know you, you’ve started, you know, let me bucking bowls. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what, what are you thinking about the future beyond bull riding? Would you, would you take G in Michael Gaffney’s position? Would you be a coach of a team one day, if you could? Uh,

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah, probably Now, honestly, I, I’m not thinking too much about this because I’m so focused on my, on my career now mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I, I don’t know how many years I, I still have it, but I hope more 10 years of bull riding all my life. And then after that, probably maybe a coach, maybe stock contract. I don’t know. Yeah. I, I wanna be around doing something, you know, doing something to help those guys and, uh, uh, maybe a coach. I don’t know. We’ll see. Maybe coach after gamble.

Mike Sarraille:
<laugh>. Yeah. There you

Jose Vitor Leme:
Go. If Michael left me.

Mike Sarraille:
Well, I think you will be, you’ll be dumb by that time. Is is Decatur hope? Are you guys pretty happy here?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Oh, yeah. Yeah. We have a good community here and you know, a lot of friends, uh, we hang out together. We do a lot of stuff together. We were like a Brazil family here. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Yep. I, I do have to ask you this, you know, I know you love Brazil. You do you love the United States as well?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Oh yeah, for sure, man. Now here’s my life, you know? Uh, I started my, my life here. I have everything, everything I have. It’s because us gave me the opportunity to, to have it, You know, I’m so proud to, to be on United States. And, uh, now I’m, I’m thinking about be citizenship, you know, to start work on my papers to, to get a citizenship. Do it. Yeah, do it. I will. Yeah, I will for sure.

Mike Sarraille:
What was your son born in the United States? Yeah, so he, he’s a citizen. He’s Americans.

Jose Vitor Leme:
Yeah, he’s American. So, yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know. After I retired if I, if I’m going back to Brazil, uh, but probably not. What

Mike Sarraille:
Does your wife say?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Uh, she’s kind of, she don’t know

Mike Sarraille:
Yet. 50 50. Yeah.

Jose Vitor Leme:
50 50.

Mike Sarraille:
So we always end our podcast with two, two basic questions. First one is, what are those things that have led to the majority of your success? Those things that, that, that you consider to be the, the, the keys to, to who you are? Is it like hard work, discipline? What, what are the things in your mind that if your son was looking at you and said, Dad, what, what are the three things I need to do to be, to be in success, successful in life? What, what would you tell him?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Man, first thing, God,

Mike Sarraille:
God,

Jose Vitor Leme:
For me, that’s the first, first thing ever for me. Uh, that’s what I put all my life. And first thing is God, second, be better every day. Try do something to improve yourself every day. Yeah. I love that. You know, like, be better than you. Not be better than anyone. Just, just be better because one day you are gonna be the best, but first you have to be better than yesterday. Yeah. And then, you know, never give up. Just believe in yourself, because if I did, if I did it, I’m sure anyone can do that too. But you have to pay the price. You have to work hard and never quit, never give up.

Mike Sarraille:
God, uh, be better than the did four. Yep. And never give up on yourself. Always believe. I I love that. That’s powerful. The, uh, the last question we ask is, you know, imagine, you know, 70 years from now, you’re 95 and you’re looking back, how do you think you’ll evaluate your life and whether you lived a, a life of purpose and impact? Is it the family you’ve built? Is it your career and the PBR going down as, uh, and you’re already gonna go down in history as one of the best writers, uh, ever? What matters to you at the end? What’s your legacy?

Jose Vitor Leme:
Man, I wanna look back and see Dell’s, a young guys look up to me, and I want to be like that guy, you know, not only good on, on his job, not, not only be a world champion, but be a good person, You know, be a good dad, be a good husband, you know, uh, have a good family and walk on the lines and, you know, motivate more people’s, help other peoples. Yeah. Uh, I want to, you know, get out of the places and people’s talk about good things of me, not shitty things. That’s what I want to do. You know, that’s how I wanna, I wanna be,

Mike Sarraille:
Well, just, I’d say you’re, you’re well on your way to that and the way you conduct yourself, man, as a, as a professional. Uh, I can tell you there are probably kids all across this nation in Brazil that are looking up to you to, to, to follow the path that you’ve, uh, you’ve set in, uh, remarkable, uh, interview. Thanks for the conversation. And we’re having stakes later, Is that right? Yeah. Then I’m looking forward to this man. Yeah, let’s do it. All right. Thank you, sir. No problem. Thank you. Thanks for joining us on this episode of the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. Uh, we will be back and see you again soon. All right, guys,

Thanks for joining us on another episode of the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. Hey, whatever platform you utilize to listen to our podcast, please, please leave a review. We read all of ’em. That’s how we get better. And lastly, again, thank you to our sponsor, Pendleton Whiskey. We’ve got your six. Cheers.

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