By: Justin Felisko
September 23, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – There is a small Mexican flag sticker on the left midsection of Jorge Valdiviezo’s riding vest.
Every now and then, Valdiviezo can glance down and remind himself what it is he is riding for outside of his immediate family and friends.
The Baja California, Mexico, native wants to be an inspiration to his home country. He hasn’t shied away from being a bull riding national hero and he can only hope to one day have as large of an impact as three-time World Champion Adriano Moraes.
“I am very, very patriotic,” Valdiviezo said. “I love my countrymen. I think all of my feelings are in Mexico. My temperament, my courage comes from Mexico. I was fighting there and training hard. I think my country needs something better. Sometimes I feel like Adriano Moraes when he come for the first time here. I feel it in myself that I am like Adriano. He came here alone and he ride with all of the Americans a lot. Now he is a three-time World Champion.
“I want to be the Mexican Adriano Moraes.”
Moraes was a pioneer for the PBR and sport of professional bull riding when he came to the United States in 1992 after PRCA bull riding champion Charlie Sampson met Moraes in Brazil.
The rest was history for Moraes as he won the first PBR world title in 1994 and became the organization’s first two-time and three-time World Champion.
There have been four Brazilian bull riders (Ednei Caminhas, Guilherme Marchi, Renato Nunes and Silvano Alves) that have gone on to win the PBR World Championship since Moraes’ first title. Brazilian riders have won 11 of the PBR’s 22 gold buckles.
There are currently five Brazilians in the Top 10 of the world standings, including world leader Kaique Pacheco, and 13 in the Top 35.
Valdiviezo sees Brazil’s success on a weekly basis on the BFTS and hopes one day his country, which has produced professional bull riders in the past, can reach that level of success.
There has yet to be a Mexican-born World Champion.
Valdiviezo is the only Mexican bull rider ranked in the Top 75 of the world standings. Eliezer Vital (No. 76), Gustavo Pedrero (No. 88) and Alex Cantoral (No. 92) are the only other Mexican riders in the Top 100.
“I want to be that Adriano Moraes and be an example for other riders,” Valdiviezo said. “In 10 years, maybe we will have a good group of Mexicans riding here at PBR.”
Valdiviezo is 37th in the world standings and is amidst a dog fight at the bottom of the standings. He is only 9.16 points behind No. 35 Cody Heffernan.
There is only 127.5 points separating No. 30 Aaron Roy from No. 40 Kurt Shephard.
The Top 35 bull riders in the world standings are guaranteed a spot at the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Valdiviezo has drawn Bad Grandma (2-2, BFTS) for Round 1 of the Rumble in the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Valdiviezo is a right-handed rider and, according to Probullstats.com, Bad Grandma is 9-6 against right-handers compared to 9-1 against lefties.
Valdiviezo, who came to the United States in 2014 with a little over $1,000 in his savings account, has been trying to ride through a left groin injury that forced him to take the majority of the summer off. He competed in six summer events and said the injury has improved, but that his groin is still sore.
The 27-year-old is 4-for-11 since the BFTS resumed in Nashville. Valdiviezo was 31st at the beginning of the Music City Knockout and he has since dropped outside of the Top 35.
“Obviously this made me frustrated, sad and mad at myself,” Valdiviezo said. “I fight all year to make these World Finals. I don’t want to lose. This is my place. This is my spot here on the tour and I don’t want to lose that.”
Valdiviezo says he does feel a tad bit of pressure when it comes to qualifying for the World Finals and representing his country.
He is also continuously inspired from all of the support he has received.
“I am training hard this week to get better every time and have a good show for World Finals,” Valdiviezo said. “That is what my family wants to see and my country, obviously. All of the people there. Every week they send me messages and try to support me and push me to try hard.
“I feel really, really happy, but at the same time there is some pressure behind me. If I made the World Finals I can be better next year, of course.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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