SEATTLE – After breaking his left clavicle for the second time in less than a year, Claudio Crisostomo returned home to Barro Alto, Brazil, this past offseason and simply rested.
Instead of undergoing a second surgery on his clavicle to fix a break in a different location, Crisostomo decided to let his clavicle heal naturally.
“I had five surgeries in my life and I didn’t want to do it anymore,” Crisostomo. “I wanted to rest a little bit before going to trying to (ride).”
He did basically nothing for roughly four months until he returned to the Built Ford Tough Series at the beginning of March in Fresno, California.
Since then, Crisostomo has been one of the hotter riders on the Built Ford Tough Series outside of Joao Ricardo Vieira and J.W. Harris. The 29-year-old has ridden 7-of-10 bulls through his first three events and is up to 29thin the world standings with 280 points.
He enters the Seattle Invitational coming off a 10th-place finish at the Ty Murray Invitational and has posted three consecutive Top-10 finishes. He is averaging 83.14 points per ride this season.
The biggest difference from a year ago has been Crisostomo’s confidence.
Last year, Crisostomo was nervous and hesitant in the bucking chutes after undergoing surgery for his first broken clavicle in March.
It is why he had a hard time getting comfortable in the chute for the remainder of the 2014 first half after missing four weeks because of the surgery. He had even tried riding with the injury for two events, before opting for surgery.
“I lost my confidence, but this year I am more confident,” Crisostomo. “Hopefully, it will continue.”
Crisostomo, who broke his clavicle a second time last year during a practice pen session before the final regular-season event in Allentown, Pennsylvania, avoided surgery the second time by only having to compete at the World Finals before the offseason arrived.
He finished 2-for-6 at the Finals and ended 2014 ranked 27th in the world standings.
“I didn’t ride any bulls for practice in Brazil,” Crisostomo said about his rehab. “I did nothing.”
Crisostomo rode El Capitan for 86.5 points in his first action back this year to win Round 1 in Fresno, California.
It is the only round he has placed in thus far this year, but he has finished high enough in the event average due to his consistency.
His fast start to 2015 is reminiscent of his BFTS debut in 2013 when he rode his first four bulls to win the Springfield, Missouri, event before riding six of his first 10 bulls on tour.
Crisostomo says he feels better this year than he did in 2013, when he used a 4-for-6 performance at the World Finals to finish third in the event average and 12th in the world standings.
“I am a little bit sore in my shoulder and my pelvis, but this year has been a good start,” Crisostomo said. “This year is a good year for me and I am riding good. I think this year is better than two years ago.”
Crisostomo will look to continue his recent success during Round 1 of the Seattle Invitational at KeyArena on Friday night. He has drawn Jumanji (1-0, BFTS) in Round 1 and Flying High (0-0, BFTS) for Saturday night’s Round 2.
The third-year BFTS pro isn’t sure how many more years he will continue to ride professionally, and he has made it known before that there are times where he misses his family and friends in Brazil.
Crisostomo was able to check in on his trucking business at home during the offseason, as well as work on the family’s ranch that has dairy cows and a few bucking bulls.
He also hopes to one day compete as a team roper in Brazil.
“I am more happy in Brazil because my family and friends are there,” Crisostomo said. “I don’t know how many more years I will ride – maybe one or two more. When I am done, I will be done.”
Crisostomo added that he is happy with the success that he has had in his short time in the United States and hopes there is more to come.
“I had a dream to come over and compete against the best bull riders in the world,” Crisostomo said. “I still ride because I love riding.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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