ARLINGTON, Texas – The big stage has seemingly never fazed three-time World Champion Silvano Alves, and Sunday afternoon was another example of that during RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN.
While waiting for confirmation of his ride attempt on Raven Flyer via instant replay, the ginormous screen inside AT&T Stadium showed cameras zooming in on Alves’ face.
Despite the fact that this replay had $100,000 on the line, Alves confidently stood against the chutes waiting for a decision – he even jokingly shrugged and laughed as the replay continuously played out over and over again.
When asked after the event if he knew whether he made a qualified ride, Alves replied, “Yes, because my rope was in my hand at 8 seconds.”
Sure enough it was, and Alves was awarded 88.25 points on Raven Flyer after having to reset inside a different bucking chute seeing as Gene Owen’s bull continued to squat down and push against the back rail.
“It was hard in the chutes,” he said. “I tried to (nod) and the bull was lying down and then he would back into the chute. All the time, I try to get on the bull because I have seen the bull in the PBR and I knew he was one of the best bulls and a good bull. I knew it was getting close to the 30 seconds and I was happy to get out on him.”
He is the third rider to be able to cover Raven Flyer in 31 professional outs.
Many fans questioned why Alves advanced to the Final 4 Shoot Out Round at THE AMERICAN and why he won the event over J.W. Harris, who had earned 90.5 points on Who Dey in Round 1.
THE AMERICAN format was a shoot-out style event, meaning all ride scores reset for the final round. Therefore, Alves won seeing as no other riders made 8 seconds in the Shoot Out Round.
He advanced to the Shoot Out Round seeing as there were only three qualified rides in Round 1, and based upon THE AMERICAN rules, any open spots for the Shoot Out Round were to be filled via the 2014 PBR world standings.
The defending PBR World Champion was just as surprised – and thankful – when he heard the in-arena announcer say he was getting another shot after he bucked off Jeremiah in 3.58 seconds during Round 1.
“I fell off the first bull and I just had to be quiet with myself,” Alves said. “Once I heard the announcer say I could come back one more time. I was very excited, very happy to try again.”
His ride on Raven Flyer was another example of Alves’ ability to shake off a buckoff or bad performance and restart with a fresh mindset.
“You buck off and you buck off, you just need to focus on your concentration,” Alves said. “At Iron Cowboy, I did good in the first round (83.75 points on Fire Bender) and I had bucked off (Walk Off in 2.34 seconds) in the second round. Sunday, I fall off the first bull and I got to come back again.”
Once J.W. Harris was bucked off by Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey in 7.73 seconds, Alves let out a vociferous roar behind the chutes and head-butted long-time friend Guilherme Marchi in the chest.
THE AMERICAN bull riding event was sanctioned by the PBR and counts toward the world standings like a PBR BlueDEF Velocity Tour event. Alves earned 80 points for the victory and trails world leader Matt Triplett by 680 points.
The points earned are important for Alves seeing as the Pilar Do Sul, Brazil, bull rider went the entire month of February without recording more than one ride in a single BFTS event. He only picked up just 90 points toward the standings during his quiet slump.
Alves’ celebration Sunday was almost identical to when he celebrated with Guilherme Marchi and company on the dirt at the Thomas & Mack Center last year when Alves won his third World Championship.
There wasn’t $1 million on the line at THE AMERICAN for Alves, and his celebration was much more than being simply happy to pad another $100,000 to his growing record as the richest bull rider in Western sports.
Instead, Alves said that he wanted to give a new fan base a glimpse of what he can do and put on a show for a passionate rodeo fan base that may not have ever seen him compete in person before.
“It is different from PBR,” Alves said. “This is a bigger event with more (rodeo) events to make more of an impression. I am very happy to win the $100,000 and this event because all of the best cowboys in all of rodeo are here.”
It was the second year that Alves has competed at THE AMERICAN, and this year he was competing once again alongside rodeo legends such as 21-time World Champion Trevor Brazile, 11-time World Champion Charmayne James, eight-time World Champion Fred Whitfield and three-time World Champion Tuff Cooper.
Just as those Western sport icons have been known to have ice in their veins, so too can be said of the PBR’s reigning champion, who has a career riding average of 60.39 percent on the BFTS.
THE AMERICAN is now just the latest accolade on a continuously growing resume for the only 27-year-old bull rider.
Below are just a few of Alves’ accomplishments in just six years on the Built Ford Tough Series:
Tied with Adriano Moraes for the most World Championships in PBR history (3)
Richest bull rider in Western sports history ($5,466,414.81)
2014 World Finals event average winner
One of two riders (J.B. Mauney) to ride all of his bulls at the World Finals (2014, 6-for-6)
Has led the BFTS in qualified rides in each of the last four years
Only back-to-back PBR World Champion (2011 & 2012)
Two-time winner at Last Cowboy Standing (2012, 2013)
PBR record-holder for consecutive rides on the BFTS (24)
2010 PBR Rookie of the Year
Fastest bull rider to earn $1, $2, $3, $4 and $5 million
“He is so cold,” Marchi said. “He doesn’t become nervous. He knows what he has to do here. That is why he tries so hard every time. I am so proud of him because everybody is pushing him so hard and he has a big heart. He is showing everybody how good he is again. He is not letting things get into his mind. He is doing good.”
Alves estimated that he had over 100 friends and family members in attendance from Decatur, Texas, where he resides in the U.S., and said that is is part of what drove him to succeed at AT&T Stadium.
Just like how many of the rodeo athletes never get to see him compete on a weekly basis, many of his friends in Decatur only get to watch him ride on TV.
It was important for him to get a victory and ride for them.
“All of the people from Decatur come here to watch this event, and we have a lot of friends in Texas that came to watch this event,” Alves concluded. “It is exciting because I need to ride good because the fans come here. It is very exciting to ride good and get a score for them.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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