By: Justin Felisko
November 13, 2016
ONTARIO, Calif. – Wallace de Oliveira wiped away the dirt from his balding head, stuck his tongue out and winced some as he drug his bull rope out of the arena Saturday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Oliveira had just been bucked off by Lucifer in 1.79 seconds during the championship round of the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour’s Frontier Communications Invitational, but he couldn’t resist letting out another smile from his battered face and a nod of the head to the PBR fans in attendance
The 37-year-old was competing less than a week after being stretchered out of the arena at the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals because of a concussion he sustained two days after separating his ribs.
“When you try to be a cowboy, you don’t care about the pain,” Oliveira said with the help of Marco Eguchi translating. “You never give up and you just ride your bulls.”
Oliveira finished in 6th place in the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Frontier Communications Invitational season-opener, but quickly became a fan favorite Saturday when in-arena announcer Scott Grover told fans about Oliveira’s injuries.
He rode Wicked Ways for 83.5 points to finish Round 1 in second-place to eventual event winner Reese Cates.
“That was a good bull,” Oliveira said. “He gave me some trouble in the chute, but outside he was very good.”
The biggest hindrance in Ontario this weekend for Oliveira was his separated ribs, which he suffered when Cochise flipped over on him inside the bucking chute during Round 2 of the Finals.
“My ribs didn’t hurt in the chute tonight, but when he spun outside,” Oliveira explained.
If that wasn’t enough, Oliveira, who came back to ride Torch for 87.5 points in Round 3 at the World Finals, then got knocked out inside T-Mobile Arena by Red Rocket in Round 4.
Less than 24 hours later and Oliveira was passing the PBR’s concussion protocol and riding Rodeo Time for 86.5 points to a standing ovation.
“It felt great,” Oliveira said. “I love the fans of the PBR. They always give me support no matter if I buck off or ride. They always are with me. That is the loudest it has ever been here for me. It was nice.”
2004 World Champion Mike Lee, 33, began his 16th PBR season Saturday in Ontario and said he has been impressed with Oliveira’s dedication.
“I had seen him on the Internet and he has a workout program he does in Decatur,” Lee said. “He is working hard at it. He is an inspiration. When you hit 30, you are just tired and you don’t feel like doing it. You have to find ways to motivate yourself.”
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert repeatedly said how tough Oliveira was during multiple CBS Sports Network production meetings.
Oliveira said hearing Lambert’s praise was an honor, but he wishes he actually performed better overall in his first career World Finals appearance. The Goiania, Brazil, bull rider went 2-for-5 to conclude the season 13th in the world standings and second in the Rookie of the Year race.
“That is the main event of the year and I didn’t ride like I wanted to, but I rode two bulls and I am thankful for everybody, and Cody Lambert,” Oliveira said.
Oliveira finished his first season on the BFTS 21-for-80 (26.25 percent) and won the 2016 season-opener in Chicago.
Oliveira was even riding in Ontario with a bum knee because of a silly accident earlier in the day. He has had a chronic left knee injury for years and wound up twisting it when he fell over putting on his cowboy boots earlier in the day.
“I was falling over and I said, ‘Oh, No!” Oliveira said before laughing and demonstrating how he went tumbling over.
Oliveira plans on competing at the next Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event next weekend in New Town, North Dakota, on Nov. 18-19.
Why not take some time off knowing he has eight guaranteed Built Ford Tough Series to start 2017?
“We come here to bull ride,” Oliveira said. “We just stop when we get hurt. My ribs feel better.”
Oliveira may be the oldest rider on the Built Ford Tough Series next year when the tour resumes in New York on Jan. 6 following the retirement of his good friend Valdiron de Oliveira, but he has no plans on next year being his last season by any means.
He is not ready to be called the grandpa of the Built Ford Tough Series locker room.
“As long as everything feels great, I will ride another 3-5 years,” he concluded.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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