PUEBLO, Colo. – Bull riding fans in Reno, Nev., should take note: one of the hottest bull riders on the planet will be in town on Saturday.
Alexander Cardozo will arrive in “The Biggest Little City in the World” for the BlueDEF Velocity Tour event at the Lawler Events Center $5,913 richer and riding the momentum from a big Touring Pro Division victory in the PBR headquarters’ back yard.
Cardozo, 24, was one of just two riders to cover both of their bulls at the Southwest Motors Events Center in Pueblo, Colorado, on Thursday night, winning the event title with a 173.5-point total. With the win, Cardozo earned 60 points toward the world standings.
He held on to Meathook for 86 points to finish second in the championship round and secure the overall title. Valdiron de Oliveira won the final round with an 86.5-point effort on White Lie to finish second overall with 168.5 points on two bulls. Oliveira earned 30 points toward the world standinds with the effort.
Cardozo has now covered eight of 12 bulls so far this season and is confident going into the remainder of the year.
“I feel comfortable, am riding really well and feel confident in myself,” Cardozo said through friend and teammate Luis Blanco, who interpreted for him. “I believe in myself and can’t wait until Reno. I want to keep doing a great job.”
In the long round, Cardozo stayed with Hot Wired for 87.5 points to win the round, with Cody Tyler White of Talala, Okla., finishing second, thanks to his 86 points aboard Cross Fit. White was bucked off in the championship round and finished third overall with his solo score.
Cardozo said he feels healthy and that winning heals all ills.
“I’m healthy, and I feel better now after the win,” he said.
Oliveira didn’t let a swollen left ankle – courtesy of a bull stepping on him at the Built Ford Tough Series event in Chicago on Jan. 10 – keep him from covering both of his bulls. He made the whistle on Just Sayin for an 82 in the long round, before taking the championship round title.
“I felt good tonight,” said de Oliveira, who pocketed $4,207 for his runner-up finish. “They weren’t the best scores, but for me, it was good to stay on. The last bull I had in the short go, I had seen before, and I knew how difficult his spin could be.
“I got lucky because he went with my hand, and that helped me.”
Oliveira – the runner-up to the 2011 PBR world title – won’t get much rest, as he has a 6 a.m. flight to New York out of Denver International Airport on Friday morning. A nap is no doubt in his plans before nodding his head in the Monster Energy Buck off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
Cardozo said he prides himself on being another top-notch bull rider from Brazil and has a few ideas about what has led to his country’s dominance of professional bull riding in recent years.
“Brazilians dedicate themselves a lot to riding bulls,” said Cardozo, who plans to have a busy and full schedule this season. “We don’t think about other things, just riding bulls. Coming to the event, we don’t think the bull is better, we think the rider is.”
The bulls won most of the battles on Thursday, with just 10 qualified rides in 45 attempts.
Not all Brazilians were so fortunate. Rubens Barbosa was stepped on hard after bucking off Fire Show in the long round and had to be helped out of the arena by medical personnel.
Staff evaluated Barbosa, who had apparent right forearm and left ankle injuries, for nearly 10 minutes before he walked away on his own power.
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