FORT WORTH, Texas - Despite the pressure of living up to expectations, Edevaldo Ferreira showed his fellow countrymen why he was the No. 1 qualifier for the Built Ford Tough World Finals last month.
Last weekend, he capped off one of the most definitive runs in PBR Brazil's seven-year history when he became the first two-time national champion after winning his second consecutive title Sunday night at the PBR Brahma Super Bull Finals in Americana, Brazil.
Ferreira was the top-ranked rider in Brazil for much of the 2012 season and also earned his way to Las Vegas last month with $621,300.96. He earned more than $54,000 at the World Finals and in one event, he finished the season ranked 28th in the world standings.
The 30-year-old, who grew up on a small ranch in rural Brazil, returned home after the World Finals and for the second year, he won R$1 million as the top Brazilian rider.
"I feel a lot of pressure down there," said Ferreira, who paralleled the past two seasons in Brazil with what Silvano Alves has experienced in the United States. "I can see Silvano, the pressure that he's under up here, but I want to come up here and ride well up here, so that will give me some more confidence and some more strength when I go back to Brazil."
"I was scared that I wouldn't succeed in riding bulls here the way that I do in Brazil."
Ferreira is a second generation bull rider.
His father rode bulls, but unlike Edevaldo, was not as successful or famous within the sport. According to the younger Ferreira, his father competed mostly in the area as an amateur. Much like a lot of American riders, Ferreira and his brother Wagner grew up competing at a young age.
Last month, upon arriving in Las Vegas, Ferreira said he was happy to be in the U.S., and grateful for the support he received from the crowds at the Thomas & Mack Center during rider introductions.
However, he readily admitted, "I was scared that I wouldn't succeed in riding bulls here the way that I do in Brazil."
After bucking off his first bull, he covered four straight - 335, How We Roll, Carney Man and Blue on Black - to earn his way into the championship round on Sunday afternoon, where he matched up against Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey.
Ferreira wound up splitting fourth and fifth in the average at the Finals with Guilherme Marchi.
"I've been at the top of the Brazil league for the last several years," Ferreira said. "The Brazilian people expect a lot from me. There are a lot of Brazilian (fans) that come (to the U.S.) from Brazil to the Finals and they all know me and when they see me they say, 'You need to win this. You're going to win.'"
He faced that same type of pressure last weekend in Brazil.
Marcos Menezes, Eduardo Silva, Magno Alves and Silvano Alves, who won the Brazilian Finals event average, round out the Top-5-ranked riders in Brazil. Marco Eguchi was leading the event, but was injured while dismounting his long round bull Sunday night and was hit in the face with a horn.
Eguchi was taken to a local hospital and was expected to undergo surgery to repair a broken jaw and other possible fractures. The latest report from the PBR Brazil office is that surgery will not be needed, however, it is unknown how many (if any) Built Ford Tough Series events the 23-year-old will miss when the season gets underway in January.
Like Alves, Ferreira said he plans to compete on the BFTS.
"I'm going to intend to come up here in 2013," said Ferreira, who competed at seven BFTS events back in 2009. "It's a dream of mine to do that. Up here in the United States are the best riders in the world and my intention, my dream, is to come up here and stay in the Top 35 here."
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