By: Justin Felisko
January 05, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – The 2016 Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) season kicks off Saturday night inside Chicago’s Allstate Arena and PBR.com will be counting down the final days of the offseason by taking a look back at the Top 5 bull riders at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Today, we look at Fabiano Vieira, who finished the 2015 season fourth in the world standings.
No. 4 Fabiano Vieira
World Championships: 0
Best World Standings Finish: fourth (2015)
2015 BFTS Stats:
Riding Percentage: 52.44 percent
Top Ride: 90.25 points on Diesel in Colorado Springs
Wins: 1 (Fresno, California)
15/15 Bucking Battle Victories: 1 (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Round Wins: 5
Top 10: 11
Top 5: 8
90-point Rides: 1
2015 Recap: Fabiano Vieira finished inside the Top-5 of the world standings for a second consecutive season with a career-best fourth-place finish in 2015.
Vieira used consistency and grit to post his fifth season with a 50 percent or better riding average. Only one year – 2013 (46.81 percent) – did he finish below the 50-percent mark.
In 2015, he nodded his head a career-best 82 times and competed in every Built Ford Tough Series event.
Vieira had a deceivingly strong finish to the 2015 season, one that very much went unnoticed during the final three months of the season. He concluded the year 19-for-30 and his 19 qualified rides since Aug. 1 on the BFTS ranked second in the PBR behind World Champion J.B. Mauney (20).
According to ProBullStats.com, Vieira went 7-for-19 in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. The seven qualified rides were the third-most on the BFTS behind Joao Ricardo Vieira (eight) and Mauney (10).
Vieira’s best performance of 2015 came during the final PBR Major of the season when he went 4-for-5 to claim the ride score championship in Nashville, Tennessee. His final buckoff against Sasquatch ended a streak of nine consecutive qualified rides that Vieira began the second half of the season with. The streak tied a career-high.
Vieira’s only event win came during the first half of the season in Fresno, California, when he went 3-for-3 to win his 10th career BFTS event.
He entered the summer break with a 90.25-point ride on Diesel to win the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well.
Outlook: If not for a right shoulder injury and torn rotator cuff in 2014 that led to Fabiano Vieira having to alter his riding style, it is possible that Vieira would be a consistently stronger contender for a world championship.
Regardless of Vieira’s reluctance to undergo shoulder surgery, he has found a way to continue to put himself in the top echelon of the world standings in back-to-back seasons.
Michael Gaffney, who won the 1997 World Championship with an unstable left shoulder, expressed his admiration of Vieira’s toughness last seasonand said eventually you can train yourself to ride with an adopted style.
“It almost became natural to find yourself in a position where you knew where and where not to go with it,” Gaffney said. “You did it. You got talked into that position or you got flung into that position or you got jerked into that position and you had to go from there. You knew where your limits were a lot of times once you have been dealing it with for a while.
“At the same time, God I would hate to deal with that same thing right now with the level of bulls the guys are getting on.”
A key for Vieira in 2016 will be for him to improve placing in BFTS rounds. He only placed in the Top 5 of a BFTS round 16 times last season, not including his three round wins in Nashville, and he only earned round points for 37.21 percent of his qualified rides.
Vieira has shown an ability to place in the Top-5 of rounds in the past. In 2012, he placed in 23 rounds (60.53 percent of his qualified rides) and in 2014 he placed in 22 (52.38 percent).
In 2013, Vieira placed in only nine rounds while competing in just 16 events.
Getting back to 20 or more round placements, along with maintaining a riding average above 50 percent and a few more wins in 2016 could be a formula to put Vieira back in the world title conversation this year.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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