PUEBLO, Colo. – It is very rare for Silvano Alves to be fired up in a positive manner following a buckoff, but for whatever reason that was exactly the case on the final day of the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
The three-time World Champion had just been bucked off by World Champion Bull contender Roy in 4.61 seconds in his final out of the 2015 season.
It was Alves’ 33rd buckoff in 62 ride attempts of the season, which dropped his riding percentage to a career-worst 46.77 percent.
So why was Alves so excited about the future? Minus the fact that his worst season on the Built Ford Tough Series, which still resulted in a respected 12-place finish in the world standings.
Well, Alves had just aggressively tried to fight back with his surgically repaired hip aboard Roy to no avail, but following back-to-back qualified rides earlier in the week in Rounds 2 (87.25 points on Swashbuckler) and 3 (89 points on Rebel Yell), Alves believes he will be ready to return to peak performance in 2016.
“I am ready now,” Alves claimed. “I will be ready for next year. I will be stronger.”
Alves is competing in the final PBR Australia November Cup Series event this weekend – the Brendon Clark Invitational – this weekend in Newcastle, Australia.
It is not the first time Alves has made the claim that he is ready to return to his prior self – a man that was more likely to ride for 8 seconds than one to be bucked off in less than 4 seconds – this season.
He said multiple times since August that he felt better or stronger only to then suffer a setback a few days later.
However, Alves admitted during the World Finals he was mentally trying to convince himself that he was physically ready to return to competition during the summer following the first major injury and surgery of his career.
The 27-year-old had missed a little less than four months following a fractured left hip that he sustained in Nampa, Idaho, in April.
The Pilar Do Sul, Brazil, bull rider rushed himself back to action in time for the Built Ford Tough Series second-half opener in Biloxi, Mississippi, and posted two buckoffs just past 6 seconds.
He competed in seven consecutive events before missing the regular-season finale in Tucson, Arizona. Alves was 2-for-11 on the BFTS at the time and concluded 2015 4-for-17 post-surgery.
“Before my mind was thinking I was good, but my body was telling me it wasn’t,” Alves said with Miriaham Contreras translating. “It was very difficult because I did feel like I tried to come back to soon. I probably wasn’t ready. It is something I did learn. I feel like I am getting better and hopefully I will come back better.”
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi expects Alves to come back stronger next season.
“As a young guy he was never hurt,” Marchi said last month. “It is kind of different. It affects your confidence. When you are hurt for the first time, you go out for a little bit. Everything changes. He is the kind of guy that is strong mentally and physical too. He is still young. He already has won three titles and he can win more titles. I think he can do whatever he wants because he is one f the best in the PBR ever.”
A stubborn Alves didn’t want to believe that his hip wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t until the first week of October that he admitted he was struggling with inflammation in the area around his surgically repaired hip.
He went 1-for-2 last weekend at the Troy Dunn Invitational with a 79-point ride in his first of two PBR Australia events.
“I go to Australia for the start of next year,” Alves said in Las Vegas. “I feel better now. I have more confidence. I go to ride in just two events to ride in Australia. Then I will stop riding until next year.”
Alves said that as the World Finals progressed so too did the soreness in his hip. He believes a solid seven weeks off from bull riding following his trip to Australia will help erase the inflammation in his hip and help him prepare for the start of the 2016 BFTS.
“My hip was sore a little bit,” he said. “Too many days and too many bulls. No rest. It is tough now, but I am happy to just finish the Finals.”
Alves had success in Australia last season. He went 8-for-9, won the Caboolture Invitational and earned 140 points toward the world standings.
He also enjoyed being able to spend time as a tourist with his wife, Evelyn, who did not make the trip this year.
Alves has spent the past week with fellow Brazilian bull riders Kaique Pacheco, Rubens Barbosa and Robson Aragao.
Pacheco (14th), Aragao (16th) and Barbosa (17th) are all ranked inside the Top-20 of the PBR Australia standings.
“I have seen kangaroos and all different things I had never seen before,” Alves said. “To me, it is all fun.”
Alves laughed when asked if he would use a portion of his $5.5 million career earnings to one day buy his own kangaroo.
All joking aside, Alves, even if it was a lesson that took him a little bit to learn, understands he must rest before the BFTS season opener in Chicago on Jan. 9-10.
He will head into the event as the defending event champion, and a healthy Alves could be a 2016 world title contender.
“For me, it is very important for my hip to get normal,” Alves said. “It needs to be stronger. I need no more inflammation. No more nothing. I want to be 100 percent next year. (Rest) will be very important. I just want to stay on my bulls and have a same start as last year.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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