By: Justin Felisko August 21, 2014@ 12:00:00 PM
PUEBLO, Colo. – With a rare weekend off for the Built Ford Tough Series, a group of Brazilian-born BFTS bull riders have returned to Brazil for this weekend’s PBR Monster Energy Tour Brazil Finals, which begins tonight in Barretos, Brazil.
Two-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves, 2010 World Champion Renato Nunes, 2013 Rookie of the Year Joao Ricardo Vieira, 2012 Rookie of the Year Emilio Resende, Eduardo Aparecido, Marco Eguchi, Claudio Crisostomo and Valdiron de Oliveira are all scheduled to compete.
Director of PBR Brazil Competitions Adriano Moraes announced Wednesday that the organization has quadrupled the points available this weekend compared to a standard PBR Monster Energy Tour event and now there will be up to 4,500 points available for contestants jockeying for position to win not only the event title, but the PBR Brazil championship. In comparison, the PBR World Finals has 5,500 points up for grabs.
Alves enters the competition, which concludes on Sunday, as the highest- ranked BFTS rider in the PBR Brazil standings and sits eighth overall. He trails current PBR Brazil No. 1 Edimundo Gomes by 1,999.06 points and will have the opportunity to win his first Brazil title. Gomes is the 2008 PBR Brazil champion and has competed in six BFTS events in his career.
Defending PBR Brazil champion Crisostomo competed sparingly in Brazil this year and trails Gomes by 4,436.25 points, meaning it is likely there will be a new champion crowned by weekend’s end.
With the help of Renato Nunes translating, Crisostomo said competing in Barretos is very similar to the environment of a BFTS event and was happy his performance last season carried over to success in the United States.
“Any bull rider can win, and I was glad it was my year,” Crisostomo said. “I learned to ride good in Brazil and made a lot of money, but I was lucky to lucky to win my first (BFTS) event and go to the (World) Finals.”
Crisostomo made his American debut last year in Springfield, Missouri, by going 4-for-4 to win his debut event. The 29-year-old finished third at the World Finals and 12th overall in the world standings.
The 2014 PBR Brazil champion will be offered an invite to this year’s 2014 Built Ford Tough World Finals in October.
It is an opportunity that young Brazilians aspire to achieve, said current world leader and 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi, who returned to Brazil earlier this week to rehab his injured right PCL with Nivaldo Baldo.
“It is great for those kids in Brazil,” he said. “Some of those kids have the wish to come and ride here and have the big opportunity to do this in Brazil right now. They will send one or two kids to Finals like they do every year. That is amazing for those guys over there.”
Some of the current top Brazil riders in contention for the title include No. 2 Edmilson Goncalves and No. 3 Ademir Candido.
Candido is a 40-year-old Brazil veteran that has a 62 percent riding average and holds the second-highest scored ride in Brazil history with a 94.25-point effort aboard Matrix in 2013.
Other notable riders competing include Kaique Pacheco, currently 47th in the world standings, and 2011 PBR Rookie of the Year Rubens Barbosa. Pacheco has a first-round matchup against Brazil Bull of the Year contender Bipolar.
Vieira begins the event 32nd in the Brazil standings and is a former PBR Brazil Rookie of the Year (2012). He is also one of eight Brazilians who have combined to win 12 of the 19 BFTS events this year. Vieira won the St. Louis event in February and was deemed the Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V in March.
“All summer down there in Brazil, they ride those bulls every week with no problem,” Vieira said through Marchi. “They have really big old bulls down there.”
Vieira added that the Brazilians heading home for this weekend are in search of winning the marquee event, but that the BFTS veterans understand it will be no easy task.
“It is the biggest event we have in Brazil,” Vieira said. “People from everywhere in the world and the guys are so excited to ride bulls over there. We think we are going to win the event over there, but those guys ride real good. They have real good riders.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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