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PBR Brazil: On the Eve of his 2017 Brazilian Debut, Barbosa Reflects on his First Taste of the BFTS

By: Kristian Limas
May 31, 2017

Dener Barbosa is currently No. 19 in the world standings. Photo: Andre Silva

2016 PBR Brazil Champion Dener Barbosa checked in with PBR Brazil’s Jorge Cardoso about how he has been adjusting to life and competition in the United States this year.

The reigning PBR Brazil Champion will make his 2017 Brazilian debut this week at the Divinaexpo in Divinopolis, Brazil. He we will be joining fellow BFTS superstars Guilherme Marchi, Silvano Alves, Kaique Pacheco and Joao Ricardo Vieira, who are all tentatively in the draw for the event starting on Thursday.

Overall, Barbosa was pleased with his first showing on the PBR’s elite tour despite struggling with a shoulder injury through the first half.

“It was not a bad season for me. I managed to achieve my goals, which was to climb to the (Built Ford Tough Series),” Barbosa told Cardoso. “I think it might have been better if I had not had a shoulder injury. I left the pressure aside and tried to do what I was doing here, which is to ride bull to bull and to improve.”

Barbosa ended the first half 19th in the world standings, and third in the Rookie of the Year race behind 2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel and fellow Brazilian Claudio Montanha Jr.

Through 13 BFTS events he went a combined 19-for-39 (48.72 riding percentage) with two Top 5 finishes, including a career-high second place finish in Oklahoma City, his second regular-season BFTS event ever.

 
The finish in Oklahoma City was especially impressive considering that it was the most punishing event for riders so far in 2017. The bulls dominated that weekend, surrendering a season-low 16 rides, while Barbosa went 2-for-3 on his way to the second place finish.

The stark difference in U.S. bull power required an adjustment from Barbosa, who dedicated more time in the gym to help him build the strength he would need to counter them.

“(The bulls) have a lot of difference compared to Brazil,” Barbosa said. “I think they go a lot faster and are braver in the chutes.”

Outside of the arena, Barbosa said there is certainly a difference in food, and that he has struggled with learning English.

Barbosa is thankful for the veteran Brazilians on the Built Ford Tough Series that helped him get by.

“The food there is very different from the one I’m used to,” Barbosa said. “And there’s also the language that I do not know much about. Luckily, I had help from the Brazilian competitors who are there the longest. I will devote myself to English classes and learn more.”

He admitted that the time away from his family was hard, and that he hopes he won’t be traveling alone when he returns to the U.S. for the second half of the BFTS season.

“I do not want to spend so much time away from them,” Barbosa said. “For my boy, it will be great to live there, especially in relation to his studies.”

To learn more about PBR Brazil, check out pbrbrazil.com

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