By: Justin Felisko
June 21, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Joao Ricardo Vieira learned the valuable lesson last year about needing to be healthy for the stretch run of the Built Ford Tough Series leading up the Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Now wiser, Vieira is looking to be extra cautious this summer while recovering from a hyperextended left elbow.
The No. 4 ranked bull rider in the world standings sustained the injury at an open bull riding at the Fort Worth Stockyards in mid-May and recently made his PBR summer debut at the 16th annual Dakota Community Bank and Trust BlueDEF Tour event, presented by Cooper Tires, on Friday and Saturday.
The 31-year-old had mixed results in Bismarck and went 1-for-3. More troubling was the that he woke up Sunday morning with additional bruising around his elbow than when he first nodded his head Friday night during his 85.5-point ride on Big Enough.
Vieira then bucked off Jack Daniel’s After Party (3.66 seconds) in the championship round followed by Joe the Grinder (7.7 seconds) on Saturday.
“I am going to probably take time off until Calgary,” Vieira said. “The (Calgary Stampede) is a big event and my arm is still very sore. I will be ready for Calgary.”
Vieira said he first injured his elbow during an 8-second ride at the Fort Worth Stockyards in Texas.
“It was a good bull,” he said. “Two jumps and he turned to the left and my arm got extended. Yeah, I made 8 seconds, but it hurt.”
Despite the minor setback in Bismarck, Vieira doesn’t believe the injury will be an issue by the time the BFTS resumes on Aug. 19-20 with the Music City Knockout in Nashville.
“No. I am not nervous, but I am preparing to come here and be healthy,” Vieira said.
Vieira had a commanding 1,002.5-point lead atop the world standings last summer before an injured right knee/shin, riding wrist and sprained left MCL/bruised thigh combined with a second-half slump put an end to his reign as the No. 1 bull rider in the world.
After sustaining some of those injuries in Brazil last year, Vieira decided to spend this summer break here in the United States.
He also wants to keep competing in the U.S. following the Stampede once he is healthy again.
“I am excited, but I am a little sad about hyperextending my arm,” Vieira said. “I want to practice at events. I want to keep going and keep riding good.”
Vieira added that last year it took him a couple of BFTS events to get back into the swing of things as he transitioned from Brazilian bulls to American.
“I want to stay consistent and be riding bulls in America,” Vieira said. “That is good for me. You need to adapt for here.”
Vieira hadn’t competed this summer since the elbow injury to his riding arm. Instead, he turned his focus to physical therapy and exercise at Fit-N-Wise in Decatur, Texas.
The Itatinga, Brazil, bull rider arrived in Bismarck and felt ready to go. He made easy work of Big Enough, who went into his hand, and nearly rode Joe the Grinder during night two.
It is possible Vieira re-aggravated his injury Saturday night as he fought to ride Joe the Grinder away from his hand.
“Everything felt good, but tonight was a test,” Vieira said. “I feel a little sore, but good. It was a good test tonight.”
He earned five points toward the world standings for a sixth-place finish on Friday and still trails world leader Kaique Pacheco by 370.33 points.
Vieira reiterated that he will be ready for the Calgary Stampede in July.
“I will be ready for Calgary,” he concluded.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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