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Season Countdown: No. 1 Silvano Alves

Silvano Alves at the 2014 World Finals in Las Vegas. Photo by Matt Breneman / BullStockMedia.com.

PUEBLO, Colo. – The 2015 Built Ford Tough Series season kicks off on Friday night inside Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena and PBR.com will be counting down the final days of the offseason by taking a look back at the Top 5 bull riders at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

Today, we look at defending World Champion Silvano Alves, who finished the 2014 season by winning his third career world title.

Silvano Alves

World Championships: 3 (2011, 2012, 2014)

2014 BFTS Stats:

Rides: 50

Attempts: 92

Riding Percentage: 54.35 percent

Wins: 1 (World Finals)

Top 10: 12

Top 5: 7

90-point Rides: 1

High Score: 92.25 points on Rango (Nashville, Tennessee)

2014 Season Recap: Like a great white shark lurking in the ocean, Silvano Alves waited all season last year before striking when it mattered most – eventually winning a record-tying third World Championship.

A slow start to his 2014 season led some to question whether or not the Pilar Do Sul, Brazil, bull rider’s skills had diminished some, but slowly and surely Alves began to make his march up the world standings.

He entered the second half of the Built Ford Tough Series fourth in the world standings, trailing then No. 1 ranked Guilherme Marchi by 895.69 points. He would kick off the stretch run to the Built Ford Tough World Finals with a 15th-place finish in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before placing second two weeks later at the Nashville BFTS event thanks to his 92.25-point ride on Rango.

By the time he stepped into the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Alves sat just 516.19 points away from winning his third world title. More importantly, he had positioned himself as a clear favorite by riding seven consecutive bulls heading into the World Finals – finishing third in Biloxi, Mississippi, and fifth in Allentown, Pennsylvania – before sealing his third championship by riding six consecutive bulls at Finals.

The 2014 season was the fourth consecutive season that Alves led the BFTS in qualified rides and it was also his fourth straight year with 50 or more qualified rides.

2014 Highlight Moment: Alves caps perfect performance by riding Asteroid to win world title

There was no greater moment for Silvano Alves’ admittedly trying 2014 season than when he clinched his third World Championship and the 2014 World Finals event crown by riding 2012 World Champion Bull Asteroid for 87.25 points in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round of the World Finals. The ride not only cemented Alves as just the second rider to win three world titles, but it also ended Asteroid’s streak of 30 consecutive buckoffs.

Alves was the first rider to make 8-seconds aboard Asteroid since 2012, when J.B. Mauney rode the World Champion Bull for 93.5 points during the San Antonio BFTS event, and he is only the fourth rider to earn a qualified ride during the bovine athlete’s four-year career.

The ride not only clinched Alves the world title, but it also helped him earn his first World Finals event title – one of the few titles that was previously missing from his already glistening PBR resume. Alves’ performance in Las Vegas once again reassured fans and critics alike that he is one of the most consistent riders to ever compete at the World Finals. Alves has an 83.33 percent riding average all time in the PBR’s marquee event.

The third World Championship and his total earnings of $1.3 million helped him surpass Justin McBride as the richest bull rider in history with $5,266,273.59.

2015 Outlook: Alves begins his sixth year on the BFTS in search of becoming the first rider in PBR history to win four World Championships. The 27-year-old will begin the season in Baltimore with a 13 consecutive ride streak and will look to prove that the PBR’s new points system will not prevent him from succeeding at the highest level of competition.

Justin McBride believes Alves will have a great shot of making history in 2015 even despite the points system.

“I think even with the points change he is going to be right in there because even with the points change his strategy will still work if other guys can’t rise to the occasion,” McBride said.

Another huge advantage that Alves brings into this season is the fortune of never having to really contend with any significant injury during his BFTS career.

“The guy first and foremost stays healthy,” McBride said. “I think he is going to be there again. I don’t know if he will win it again, but I guarantee he will be in the mix for it.”

Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray has repeated throughout the offseason that Alves will continue to battle for world titles under the new system, and – like McBride – also pointed out Alves ability to stay healthy as a credit to his success.

“Again, I have said this before, but Silvano Alves’ ability to stay healthy is also a huge part of what makes him so good and so hard to beat,” Murray said. “It is going to be fun to watch Silvano.”

McBride also noted that with every year of wear and tear on the BFTS comes a further risk of injury. Still, Alves has been able to ride strongly and keep himself out of harm’s way.

“He is getting a little bit older, he is not old by any stretch and things may begin to pile up on him,” McBride added. “Little nagging things here and there, but he rides so damn good. Everybody gripes about his strategy and he doesn’t take re-rides, but when they do run a really good one underneath him he rides them.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.

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