BILLINGS, Mont. – He seemed to struggle for the first couple months of the season.
However, 34 other riders let him stay close enough that after back-to-back Top-5 finishes the past two weeks in Nampa, Idaho, and Billings, Mont., two-time World Champion Silvano Alves is ranked in the Top 5 of the world standings for the first time this season.
The 2011 and 2012 World Champion was 4-for-4 in this week’s Built Ford Tough Series Stanley Performance in Action Invitational and moved from ninth to fifth in the world standings after winning the Built Ford Tough Championship Round with 89.75 points on King Buck.
“I feel good and my confidence is good,” said Alves.
He has not won a BFTS event in 2014 and yet Alves is ranked three spots higher than Billings event-winner Cody Nance, who has now won three of the past five BFTS events.
The telling difference in the two riders is that Alves has only gone 0-for-the-weekend three times and that’s including the Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V in Arlington, Texas, whereas Nance has gone 0-for-the-weekend in four of the past eight events— meaning it’s clearly feast or famine for the Paris, Tenn., native.
Nance’s riding average is a shade over 40 percent.
On the other hand, Alves has scratched together a ride or two nearly every week. He’s recorded six Top-10 finishes in 15 events and five in the last nine weeks, including three of the past four BFTS events, to steadily work his way up the standings.
Guilherme Marchi continues his two-month reign atop the world standings, while Fabiano Vieira, Joao Ricardo Vieira, Mike Lee and Alves round out the Top 5 in the standings.
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Alves said he’s not worried about where he’s ranked.
He said it’s important to “just think about one bull” at a time.
“Just ride bulls,” he added. “Everybody is up and down.”
He’s ridden seven of his last 10 bulls and although his season riding average of 50 percent is nearly 14 points off his career average of 63.9 percent, Alves is among the most confident riders right now. For a guy who injured his right shoulder earlier this year – the first substantial injury of his professional career – he’s also currently among the healthiest.
“When I draw a good bull and I get a good score I’m very happy,” he said.
In the opening round this weekend he scored 81 points on Fighting Siouxand then followed up with 84 points on Crystal Pistol in Round 2.
Coming into Sunday, he was one of five riders along with Nance, Kasey Hayes, Matt Triplett and Jordan Hupp to have gone 2-for-2 with two rounds remaining. After Round 3, there were only three – Triplett, 258.75, Nance, 251, and Alves, 246.25 – who had gone 3-for-3.
Matt Triplett puts up 89 points on Gun & Donuts winning Round 3 of the 2014 BFTS Stanley Performance in Action Invitational in Billings, Mont.
In the third round, Alves scored 81.25 points on Flint.
He gladly took King Buck with the third pick in the bull draft.
Nance scored 339.5 points on four bulls, while Alves finished with 336 points in the average.
Matt Triplett, Eduardo Aparecido and Joao Ricardo Vieira rounded out the Top 5 in Billings.
Alves said he’s benefitted greatly in recent weeks from getting on practice bulls at his ranch outside Decatur, Texas.
He plans to get on more over the course of the coming 12 days before he heads to Des Moines, Iowa, for the next BFTS event. In addition to Des Moines, there are two other BFTS events – Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Last Cowboy Standing in Las Vegas – before the upcoming summer break.
Alves and his family – wife, Evelin, and their two children, Hanyelle and Eduardo, – will spend the entire break with their extended families in Pilar do Sul, Brazil, where he’ll host the first Silvano Alves Invitational on June 27-29.
In the meantime, he’ll continue focusing on one bull at a time.
Oftentimes riders will talk about drawing good bulls, but the 26-year-old admits that when a guy is as confident as he is right now they’re all good bulls.
“Yeah,” agreed Alves, who smiled and for a rare moment showed a hint of emotion.
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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