How good is Silvano Alves?
He won his very first Built Ford Tough Series event in Nampa, Idaho, rode the first seven bulls he got on, won a second event, finished the 2010 season ranked in the Top 10 despite not debuting until the 16th event of the season, and was easily named the PBR Rookie of the Year.
In 2011, he’s avoided a sophomore slump.
He’s won two more BFTS events, has the second-most qualified rides (37), the third-best riding average (63.8 percent), and is only 386 points behind the No. 1 rider in the world.
In fact, he’s been so dominant that if his rookie stats from the 17 events he rode in last year are combined with the 2010 World Finals and the first 13 events of this year, he would have enough points to have won three of the past seven world titles.
His 13,823.25 points would have been enough to win the gold buckle in 2006, 2005, and 2004, the first year of the current point system.
He would have also been within 140 points of last year’s title, and never would have finished outside of the Top 5 in the standings.
He does not miss events. And in 15 of the first 30 events he rode in, he finished in the Top 10 of the average.
Only twice this year he has gone 0-for-the-weekend – a stat matched only by Valdiron de Oliveira among the Top 5 riders – and one of those happened to be at the Iron Cowboy, where he bucked off his first bull and was eliminated from the competition.
This year, he’s never bucked off more than three bulls in a row.
Only three times has he bucked off two in a row, and yet something is leaving even the experts wondering if he could have performed better.
Ty Murray: “I think that Silvano’s very talented, I think he’s showed a lot of promise. I think we had high expectations for him this year, and I think I probably had higher expectations for him than he had for himself. I’m talking about deep down in your gut. I think when he gets enough time or experience under his belt and he gets to the point where he says, ‘I’m one of the best there is. I’m World Champion caliber, I can do this’ – once that sinks into his head, that will be a big help to him, too. … It’s almost like if he was a certain guy you would be talking about what an amazing year he’s having, so it’s a compliment that we’re almost talking about how he’s not having his best year. That’s a compliment because we see more in him. Like I said, when he sees more in himself, there’s no telling what he can accomplish. … Have you ever seen a kid do something and they don’t know enough to know to be nervous? Or they don’t understand the magnitude? It’s that you’re young and you’re just doing your thing and you love that you’re able to do it, and sometimes that’s a benefit. I’ve noticed (winning) comes from that, or somebody who’s been around the block and has learned how to cope with that. He’s going to feel it. When you go into a Finals situation and you’re in contention for a world title, there’s a big difference – huge difference between what that guy experiences and what the guy in 12th or 30th experiences.”
J.W. Hart: “If he gets a little more consistent, Valdiron will be looking up at him. He’s showed a sense of calmness about him in pressure situations, never got excited, and this, I guess, will be his sophomore year. Most guys we see have sophomore slumps and really go backwards the year after winning Rookie of the Year, but this is a guy that has clearly moved forward from that and will darn sure be a force to be reckoned with. … It’s everything about him. He’s levelheaded. You don’t see him get excited. He just does his job, and that’s what I like. I don’t mind you throwing your helmet or your hat or waving at the crowd, but I’m kind of old school, and I don’t like all the dancing and goofing off in the arena. That guy isn’t real flamboyant. He just lets the riding do the talking and I admire that. … He had, what, half a season last year? And he was still in the Top 10, so you know he has the ability. You don’t just get lucky and wind up in the Top 10 of the PBR, but you always have to wonder about the sophomore slump if he takes the mind, ‘Oh, I have it made now. All I have to do is show up and winning comes easy for me.’ If he takes that attitude then he goes backward like a lot of guys have. He was probably the best one out of all the Rookie of the Years to really repeat that the next year and look spectacular. To me, the next-best Rookie of the Year was probably Mike White as far as coming back the next year and really having a consistent run throughout the next year.”
— by Keith Ryan Cartwright
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