NAMPA, Idaho ― In October 2012, Emilio Resende and Silvano Alvesstood side-by-side atop the shark cage following the conclusion of the World Finals.
Alves had won his second consecutive world title – the first and only rider to ever win back-to-back titles in PBR history – and Resende had claimed the Rookie of the Year honor.
It was a moment that nearly never happened.
Having grown up in Santa Helena de Goias, Brazil, Resende discovered bull riding on television when he was 11 years old. He didn’t get on a bull until he was 14 and even then he never competed in an event until he was 16.
At 16, he knew he wanted to compete professionally. When it came to thinking about the PBR and coming to the U.S., he said, “I never thought I would get that far.”
Nine years later, he was the top rookie in the world.
He only came after being urged by Alves.
The two talked at length the previous offseason and in January, when Alves returned for the Built Ford Tough Series, Resende came to the United States and began the task of competing at Touring Pro Division events.
“Silvano would call and say, ‘Why don’t you try to come over here?” recalled Resende.
He finally heeded the advice because, “It’s a World Champion telling you that you should come.”
Alves told Resende, “I’ll help you all the time in the U.S.”
Resende lived with Alves and his family for the first couple months, but they didn’t travel together until March when the newcomer made his BFTS debut.
Until then, Resende was on his own when it came to traveling to places like Bossier City, La., Pensacola, Fla., Yakima, Wash., and Poplar Bluff, Mo., among the eight TPD events he rode at before finally qualifying for a BFTS event in Glendale, Ariz.
He won the opening round in Glendale with 89.5 points on Red Man and finished eighth in his BFTS debut.
“He’s a very good bull rider,” said Alves, who quickly noted that Resende is an easy going and happy person to be around in and out of the arena.
“He’s a good guy,” Alves said, “good friend.”
Guilherme Marchi explained that Resende played a key role in helping him through some difficult personal issues last fall.
“Anything you need – talk, train, rope, practice bulls – he’s ready all the time,” said Marchi. “I’d like to say, thank you for being my buddy. He helped me when I had trouble a little bit.”
For Resende, it’s all just part of developing lifelong friends.
He’s as close to his friends in Brazil, who he no longer sees as often as he did before moving to the U.S., as he is with not only Alves, Marchi and other Brazilian riders, but the American, Canadian and Australian riders as well.
Marchi noted that Resende is always the first one eager to experience new things – be it the culture found in various regions of the U.S. or different types of food.
More than anything, Marchi said, “He’s a gentleman.”
“The PBR changed my life,” said Resende, who’s happy and thankful to be in the Top 35. “Real friendships never go away.”
Resende never had a relationship with his parents and was raised on a rural farm by his grandparents where he grew up riding horses and eventually bulls.
While he never initially dreamed of coming to America, his focus has changed.
The first step was getting here and then it was a matter of riding his way up to the BFTS.
“I didn’t have any Brazilian companionship because they were all on the Built Ford Tough,” recalled Resende, who was quiet and observant back then. “I need to succeed or else I’m going to have to go back to Brazil.”
He easily adjusted and overcame those obstacles.
By year’s end he was the top rookie.
“It’s a memory I’m never going to forget,” Resende said about standing on the shark cage with Alves as they held up their respective buckles.
Although he only rode in 14 of the last 18 events that season, he finished 12th in the world standings.
Last year, he finished 15th.
In his first two seasons, he accumulated 15 Top-10 finishes of which seven were in the Top 5. However, until earlier this season he was without a BFTS event win.
That all changed in Kansas City, Mo., when Resende – currently the eighth ranked rider in the world – went 3-for-3 to earn his first BFTS win. He enters this weekend’s DeWALT Guaranteed Tough Invitational holding a riding average of 51.5 percent, which is nearly 10 points higher than his career average and 17 higher than last season’s.
Emilio Resende earns 85.50 points on Iron Man in the championship round of the Emilio 2014 PBR BFTS Caterpillar Classic in Kansas City, Mo
It’s been a great turnaround after a less than desirable month of January.
He had a slow start through four events, missed the fifth event in Sacramento, Calif., and returned a week later with a second-place finish in Anaheim, Calif. Unable to win that event, Resende was disappointed and thought perhaps he didn’t have what it takes to actually win.
He confided in Marchi.
This time it was the 2008 World Champion giving his friend some words of encouragement. Two weeks later, Resende won the Kansas City event.
“He’s been real good this year,” Marchi said. “He started slow a little bit, but right now he’s getting better every weekend.”
Marchi added, “When he first came he had a dream like us to be a champion.”
Resende is working and preparing himself towards becoming a season-long contender.
“Now with the help of God I have a new challenge to become a World Champion,” said Resende. “First, believe in myself. Be strong in my mind and my body to be ready to become a World Champion.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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