Jim “Razor” Sharp knows all about riding streaks.
Prior to his PBR career, the 2010 Ring of Honor inductee logged a pair of consecutive riding streaks that reached 57 and 51, while competing at pro rodeos.
Like everyone else, Sharp has watched three-time World Champion Silvano Alves push his Built Ford Tough Series streak to 24 consecutive qualified rides.
“He’s a great bull rider,” Sharp said. “He looks like he’s one of the greatest ever.”
For years, the PBR mark was at 15 until J.B. Mauney went to 16 with his late-season run to win the 2013 World Championship and the start of last season, while Alves’ streak began last fall in Biloxi, Mississippi.
This past weekend, in New York, he was 5-for-5, including his 8-second effort in the first 15/15 Bucking Battle of the season.
“And it’s probably fixing to be a lot higher,” said Sharp, of Alves’ current streak heading into this weekend’s BFTS event in Oklahoma City.
Sharp continued, “That doesn’t surprise me. He can stay on anything they run in there.”
Alves streak also includes a 6-for-6 performance last October at the World Finals, where he won his third title in four years along with the World Finals average.
In fact, he’s qualified for the Championship Round in all five Finals since his rookie season of 2010 and his 80 percent riding percentage – 24 of 30 – at the marquee season-ending event is another of his many PBR records.
PBR statistician Slade Long called Alves’ streak remarkable.
The most comparable streak would be the 56-game hitting streak Joe DiMaggio set, while playing Major League Baseball, with the New York Yankees in 1941. The closest any modern day player has come is when Pete Rose hit in 44 straight games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1978.
But longtime MLB writer Tracy Ringolsby, a Wyoming native, who started his sports writing career covering the old RCA, mitigated the comparison by saying, “Hitting streaks do not require perfection. Silvano’s streak does.”
“It’s amazing that anyone can ride that many bulls of that caliber,” Long added. “A guy that can do that—you or that point system is not going to keep him down.”
It’s no surprise that Alves is currently the No. 1 ranked rider in the world.
He unofficially has earned 1,240 points and has more than doubled second-ranked rider Matt Triplett, who trails the 27-year-old Brazilian by 695 points.
Reese Cates, Guilherme Marchi and Chase Outlaw round out the Top 5 in the world standings.
Alves made an impression the moment he arrived in 2010.
He rode his first eight bulls in Nampa, Idaho, and Billings, Montana, en route to earning the Rookie of the Year title and then became the first rider in PBR history to claim a world title the year after being the top rookie when he won his first of three gold buckles in 2011.
In 2012, he became the first back-to-back World Champion in PBR history and only the second three-time Champion last year.
He’s also atop the all-time list of PBR money-earners with $5,810,723.16.
To put his earnings into perspective, he’s been competing on the BFTS for the past 58 months meaning he’s averaging $100,000 per month in career earnings—largely because of the three $1 million bonuses he’s earned as World Champion.
However, in an era where the bull pens from one BFTS event to another are better than any other time in its 22-year history, Alves’ streak of 24 stands out among all his accomplishments.
“He can ride the rank bulls,” Sharp said. “He’s not a flashy rider, but he gets the job done and that’s what counts in my book.”
For Sharp to speak highly of Alves means a lot.
The 49-year-old Sharp claimed three consecutive AJRA titles and the all-around Texas high school title (1984) before winning back-to-back National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association titles in 1986 and 1987.
At 20, he was the PRCA Rookie of the Year and won a pair of PRCA world titles in 1988 and 1990.
He was the first rider in history to ride all 10 bulls at the National Finals Rodeo and, in fact, the Texas cowboy rode 23 in a row at the Thomas & Mack Center from 1988 to 1990.
Upon being inducted into the Ring of Honor, PBR co-founder and longtime livestock director Cody Lambert said, “If Jim came along in any other era in bull riding…he would have won six or seven World Championships. The problem is, Jim came along in an era when I haven’t seen tougher bull riders.”
Sharp was calm, cool and collected.
He is remembered for mentally keeping his composure regardless of the task at hand.
“I think it’s a personality type that he was born with,” said nine-time World Champion Ty Murray, who is among Sharp’s closest friends, “but he was the coolest competitor to this day I’ve ever seen. I thought he rode the best, I thought he looked the best and I don’t think anybody really compared to him.”
As for Sharp’s cool demeanor, Alves is often described as being cold as ice.
Sharp shied away from comparing his streaks with Alves’ accomplishment saying only he would have had a few re-ride options by today’s standards and that he can’t understand why Alves wouldn’t take all of the options that come his way.
Sharp opined that anyone competing at a BFTS event ought to be able to ride the bottom-end bulls in any long round, but that eventually Alves will be matched up with a bull that will finally get the best of Alves.
For Sharp, that was a bull called Mr. T.
“He can ride just about any one,” said Sharp, who estimated Alves can ride 98 percent of the bulls Lambert uses at the BFTS, “but I’m sure there’s one or two, if he draws him the streak could end next week.”
As for how much longer Alves’ streak will continue, Sharp added, “Hard to tell.”
However, Long was emphatic when he said, “I don’t think anybody is going to break that.
He concluded, “It’s somebody way in the future, who we haven’t heard about yet. There’s nobody on tour right now that’s going to do that.”
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