Silvano Alves did just what he needed to do on Saturday night at the 2014 Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Built Ford Tough World Finals at the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas. On the eve of the final day of the PBR season, he rode another bull.
The two-time PBR World Champion bull rider is in search of his third title, something that has been done just once in PBR history (Adriano Moraes), and the $1 million bonus that comes with it. He came to Las Vegas ranked third, trailing fellow Brazilian riders Joao Ricardo Vieira and Fabiano Vieira but has inched up to second after four rounds.
With his 86.25 point ride on Freakster (Davis Ranch) on Saturday night, Alves held onto his lead in the event standings here as the only rider to be a perfect four-for-four. He has 329.25 points on four bulls.
“Thank God I’ve been healthy,” Alves said with the help of a translator. “I always stay concentrated on what I have to do to ride, and thank God it’s worked out so far.”
The event winner earns $250,000 and 2,500 very important bonus points in the race for the World title. Alves now trails Ricardo Vieira, who bucked off of Karaoke in round four and has ridden two of his bulls this week, by just 534.69 points. Ricardo Vieira is ranked seventh in the average.
Alves said, “I am excited and hoping to win because it is my fifth finals. I am so close.”
In addition to the big payoff for the event standings, riders will chase a share of the 400 bonus points available in each of the two go rounds left in this Finals. All 35 riders will compete during round five beginning at 1 p.m. local time on Sunday, October 26 with the 15 best in the event standings advancing to the Championship Round to be held immediately after round five.
Facing the riders on Sunday is one of the deepest pens of bull power they’ve seen all year. The Championship Round is stacked with six of the eight World Champion Bull contenders (the other two will buck during round five). Round five is full of bulls who buck during the Championship Round every week during the regular season.
Winning the round, for the second consecutive night, was 2013 PBR World Champ J.B. Mauney. Mauney posted the season’s highest score, 93.25 points, aboard Bruiser (D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.), his second straight 90 point ride. He has won $62,000 this week and six of the last ten go rounds he has competed in at the World Finals, going back to 2013.
Though Mauney has no chance for the World title, he is second in the event standings, one bull behind Alves, and would become just the second rider (Robson Palermo) to win three World Finals titles if he could move up on the final day.
Matt Triplett won second on Saturday night after earning 89 points aboard Delco (Jeff Robinson Bucking Bulls). The Montana cowboy moved all the way to fourth in the World standings, just 1,436.17 points behind Ricardo Vieira. He is ranked third in the average and has won $50,500 this week.
Two cowboys are still battling for the title of Rookie of the Year on the final day of the season. Gage Gay has led most of the way in 2014 and continues to hold a lead of 1,445 points over Canadian cowboy Tanner Byrne. Byrne, however, has the inside track here in Vegas after covering three of his first four bulls. He is ranked fifth in the event standings while Gay is outside of the top 15 entering round five. Fifth in the event is worth 1,500 bonus points.
“It feels awesome,” Byrne said of his Finals success. “Just making the World Finals was my goal at the start of the year, considering I wasn’t on tour. I knew it was awesome to make (the Finals), but I wasn’t going to settle for that. I want to be a Champion. I’ve always said I do better when the lights are on and there is a lot of pressure on the line.”
Sunday also marks the final out for the contenders for the World Champion Bull title and the final out of Bushwacker’s career. The two-time World Champ will be retired following the Championship Round. Probably the most famous of all the athletes within the PBR, Bushwacker has been followed all season by fans and media as he makes his farewell tour.
In the title chase, Bushwacker comes into the final out trailing Asteroid by 1.5 points. During Thursday’s first round, Asteroid put up 46.5 points with Mik E Mouse (46) and Roy (45.25) trailing. Bushwacker earned 45 points to land fourth. He is seeking to become just the second bull behind Little Yellow Jacket to win three PBR World titles.
Action begins Sunday, October 26 at 1 p.m. PT and will be aired live on CBS Sports Network. The event will also be broadcast live on SiriusXM Channel 80 Rural Radio and Pro Rodeo Live.com.