By: Justin Felisko
February 13, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There is a potentially dangerous and lucrative bull rider lurking in the shadows of the PBR world standings.
Don’t look now, but three-time World Champion Silvano Alves is sitting very quietly at ninth place in the world standings.
Alves has posted back-to-back third-place finishes and is coming off a season-best 3-for-3 showing at the Kansas City Invitational, presented by Express Employment Professionals, this past weekend.
In fact, as CBS Sports Network broadcaster Craig Hummer astutely noted, Alves is the only rider to have qualified for every Built Ford Tough Championship Round this season.
“Me?” a puzzled Alves responded. “I am very happy because I have started the year very good. I have tried in every championship round. Sometimes I didn’t have no luck in the championship round, but I feel good. I am going up.”
Alves had been previously been 0-for-5 in the championship round this year before riding Wicked for 87 points on Sunday afternoon inside the Sprint Center.
He began his weekend with an 85.25-point ride on Holy Mullah in Round 1 and then covered Strong Heart for 83.75 points.
“He looked good,” two-time World Champion and CBS Sports Network commentator Justin McBride said. “I didn’t realize he made every championship round this season. That is big, but he has to convert in those championship rounds, especially if he is taking low scores into them because he isn’t winning anything in the long rounds.
“I thought this weekend was really good. He made two good rides and came back in the short round against Wicked with another.”
A few additional rides against the rankest pen of bulls, and Alves easily could be the No. 1 bull rider in the world or at least that much closer to world leader Jess Lockwood.
Alves is tied with Lockwood and Marco Eguchi for the second-most rides (11) on tour behind Eduardo Aparecido (12).
The 29-year-old has gone 11-for-21 and his 52.38 percent riding average is the fifth-best in the PBR.
Alves is 1,107.5 points behind Lockwood heading into the second PBR Major of 2017 – The Frontier Communications Iron Cowboy.
The winner of Iron Cowboy takes home at least $100,000.
“Sometimes it is bad luck when you are the last one in the championship round,” Alves said. “Last week (in Anaheim) was my fault. I am just very happy because my body is great. I feel strong. I feel healthy. Everything feels good.”
It is a common phrase Alves has echoed since the middle of last season when he was competing in his first full season after breaking his left hip in Nampa, Idaho, in April 2015.
Sometimes you could argue he didn’t truly believe the words coming out of his mouth, but Alves’ riding is slowly starting to catch up with his beliefs.
He won the Eugene, Oregon, BFTS event last October and is 30-for-54 (55.55 percent) in his last 17 BFTS events since August 1, 2016.
Alves’ last prestigious victory came 41 days before breaking his hip when he won the 2015 THE AMERICAN rodeo and its $100,000 payout in March 2015.
Now, Alves’ disappointing 22nd-place finish in the 2016 world standings is one of his most favorable assets heading into this week’s THE AMERICAN Semi-Finals.
Alves is attempting to earn one of five wild card invites to the 2017 AMERICAN at the Semi-Finals being held Wednesday-Friday at the historic Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.
The five bull riding wild cards will be eligible to win a share of the $1 million bonus that is offered to any qualifier who potentially wins one of the seven rodeo events – bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, team roping, tie-down roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling and bull riding during the event held the day after the PBR’s Iron Cowboy.
The five bull riding wild cards will compete alongside the Top 10 riders from last year’s PBR World Standings – Cooper Davis, Kaique Pacheco, two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney, Ryan Dirteater, Joao Ricardo Vieira, 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi, Eduardo Aparecido, Lockwood, Fabiano Vieira and 2004 World Champion Mike Lee – that qualified for THE AMERICAN, but are ineligible for the $1 million bonus.
“I am very happy to go and try and ride good over there,” Alves, who has won $5.7 million in his career, said. “There is a good chance to get to THE AMERICAN and win $1 million.”
Many have questioned if Alves can ever regain the same form and fire that made him so dominant during his first five seasons.
He believes that rider is still there and the last two weeks has shown glimpses of a fired up Alves.
“All the time people talk, but I am very happy with my career,” Alves said. “It has been great. All of the bull riders have moments that are no good. Bull riders have moments good, moments bad and moments so so.
He later confidently concluded, “A good moment is going to happen soon because I am starting to ride really good. I need to concentrate on a few little things, but I am very happy to be starting to ride really good.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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