PUEBLO, Colo. – Silvano Alves had never stepped foot in Australia prior to this past weekend’s Caboolture Invitational. Yet, he has already made his footprint in the sixth-largest country in the world through one event just like he has in the United States and Brazil.
The reigning World Champion won the Caboolture Invitational this past weekend by going 2-for-3 and is off to a fast start to the 2015 season. Before leaving for Australia, Alves said he had no qualms about continuing to push himself despite winning another $1.3 million and a PBR record-tying third world title at the 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
For Alves, just the opportunity to go to Australia for the first time was worth it.
“Any place that is new I want to see, especially if I can get to do what I love,” Alves said with the help of translator Miriaham Contreras. “Ride and go see a new place? Why not?”
The risk of injury and fatigue are not a major concern for the richest athlete in Western sports. Alves has never been one to put much thought into title defenses, even though he did repeat as World Champion in 2012.
Instead, he is focused on primarily getting better as a bull rider before the Built Ford Tough Series resumes on Jan. 2 in Baltimore.
“Right now, I would rather keep on riding instead of taking time off,” Alves said. “Being in Australia is going to help me because it is a different event and setting than I am used to. Then the points will help me get ahead for next year.”
It should come as no surprise that the 26-year-old would want to continue getting on bulls due to the hot streak that Alves’ 2014 season. He concluded the year with 13 consecutive rides, and he had ridden 15 consecutive bulls prior to bucking off Barn Yard in the championship round this weekend.
Eight of his last nine rides have all been scored 86 points or higher, and Alves looks poised to continue his strong run following one event in Australia. He rode Astro Boy for 87.5 points in Round 1 and Rock Star for 88 points in Round 2.
“I feel good,” Alves said. “I was tired from the Finals, but I am rested now. I am going to ride in Australia and I am not sure if I am going to ride once I get back to the United States or if I will wait until Baltimore.
Along with the bull riding, Alves and his wife, Evelyn, have enjoyed being able to be tourists. The couple and Robson Palermo took a trip to Magnetic Island already and have seen kangaroos and other Australian wildlife.
“(Evelyn) is very excited to go,” Alves said. “It is a new place that neither one of us has gone to before.”
As of now, Alves has no plans to return to Brazil during the offseason.
Alves understands the importance of representing the PBR in Australia, calling it “good for the sport” to compete there as the current World Champion. Alves said it is important that top riders go to Australia to help promote and build the PBR brand overseas. He was quick to point out that fellow Built Ford Tough Series riders Matt Triplett and Robson Palermo are also riding, as well as Australia native Lachlan Richardson.
“I knew I was going before I won the title, but now that I did win it, it is even better,” he added. “It is better for the PBR, PBR Australia and for bull riding that we go.”
Palermo said Alves is a guy who never likes to sit still.
“Even though the Finals are over, he is always looking for more bulls to get on,” Palermo explained. “He doesn’t like to stay in the house. He likes to be outside and get on bulls.”
He then joked, “He will be alright because he just won the World Championship and he has lots of money now to spend over there.”
The next PBR Australia event takes place in Christchurch, New Zealand, for the debut of the New Zealand Cup on Thursday night, and the tour then stops in Townsville, Australia, for the Troy Dunn Invitational this Saturday.
When he steps foot into the arena once again, he will be introduced as a three-time PBR World Champion. It is something that is slowly starting to set in.
“I know it is (important),” Alves said, “but nothing has changed. Nothing is different with who I am. It is exciting be a part of PBR’s history.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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