LAS VEGAS – Early on Sunday morning, Silvano Alves was getting ready to close the door of his hotel room at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino and head to the Thomas & Mack Center when his wife, Evelin, asked the Alves’ 2-year-old son, Eduardo, if his father could conquer Asteroid and win his third championship.
“I asked Eduardo, ‘Will your daddy ride Asteroid or fall off?” Evelin said. “He said, ‘My daddy has got Asteroid,’ When my son said that, I believe.”
Eduardo’s advice to his Dad?
“Just hold on tight and don’t let go,” Alves recalled his son saying before smiling.
Alves did that and more on Sunday afternoon to conclude the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals as the 2014 World Champion and World Finals event winner.
The Pilar Do Sul, Brazil, bull rider won a record-tying third World Championship and passed Justin McBride to become the richest athlete in Western sports history ($5,266,273.59) by going a perfect 6-for-6 to also win the World Finals event title for the first time in his career.
Even more so, Alves capped off his record-setting performance by riding his nemesis Asteroid for 87.25 points to end the 2012 World Champion Bull’s Built Ford Tough Series-high streak of 30 consecutive buckoffs.
“I am extremely happy,” Alves said. “He is one of the greatest bulls and I know a lot of people doubted me because of it, but it was so great to be able to come here and ride all six of my bulls. It is a dream that everybody has to come here to Las Vegas and win the title.”
Nothing was able to slow down Alves during October.
Criticism, pressure, and stiff competition from Joao Ricardo Vieira were no match for the 2011 and 2012 World Champion bull rider.
It is why Guilherme Marchi stormed into the arena to congratulate Alves, who head-butted Marchi in the chest during his celebration, before the rest of Alves’ friends and fellow riders mobbed him to the ground.
Marchi knew how hard of a season it was for the decorated champion.
“Oh man, I am so happy,” Marchi said. “That guy works so hard too and he showed everybody how good he is. Those people talk about the re-rides and he doesn’t care. He rode that bull, Asteroid, and he showed how good he is. He is a three-time World Champion. He deserved this.”
Alves is the first rider to cover Asteroid since J.B. Mauney rode the bovine athlete in San Antonio, Texas, for 93.5 points during the 2012 Built Ford Tough Series event. Alves is the fourth rider to conquer Asteroid (42.25-point bull score) during his four-year BFTS career.
He had previously been bucked off by Asteroid on four previous occasions, including twice this season.
Alves’ wife, Evelin, was nervous as can be during the past 12 hours leading up to championship Sunday.
“This morning I looked at the draw and my heart was so tired for him,” she admitted, “but I felt Silvano will ride Asteroid. When Silvano takes on a much more difficult bull, in this situation (at Finals) he is stronger.”
Alves always thrives inside the Thomas & Mack Center. During his career, Alves is 25-for-30 during World Finals.
He wound up defeating Vieira, who finished 2-for-6 and in ninth place, for the gold buckle and its $1 million bonus. All totaled, Alves walked away with $1.3 million.
He also joins Mauney, who finished second in the event average, Renato Nunes and Mike Lee as the only riders in history to win both the World Championship and World Finals event title.
He was a perfect 13-0 in the month of October to push him toward his third career gold buckle.
The humble and shy World Champion even slightly hinted inside the locker room on Sunday that he could potentially ride Asteroid.
By the time he sat down inside the bucking chute during Sunday’s Built Ford Tough Championship Round, the newly minted World Champion had one thing left to do.
He had to conquer his rankest opponent of the World Finals and snatch the event title and an additional $250,000 out of J.B. Mauney’s hands – a year after Mauney prevented Alves from becoming the PBR’s first back-to-back-to-back World Champion.
Even though the world title was not on the line, the World Finals event average was, and Alves rose to the occasion in true championship fashion.
“It was very important,” Alves said. “The event is so big here and just the Finals by themselves – then just the title, too. I wanted to cover my bulls and give it my all and kind of be another person on the notch after J.B. achieved (perfection) last year.”
Alves made it clear from the beginning of the Finals that he wanted to be perfect for the first time at the PBR’s marque event and he did so in a dominating performance to join Adriano Moraes as the second rider to win three PBR world titles.
Perfect was the word nine-time World Champion Ty Murray used to describe Alves as the World Champion hoisted the World Championship trophy into the air the arena just like he did in a setting he is all too familiar with.
“At the end of the year he left no doubt that he is the world’s best bull rider,” Murray said. “Even as great as some other guys were – J.B. Mauney was fantastic and dynamic – but Silvano was perfect. He had everything thrown at him here. It is nice when you have a World Finals and it is all over with and you feel like everything ended up like it is supposed to be.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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