WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. ― When asked why he chose to set his gear bag right next to Guilherme Marchi and across from the likes of Silvano Alves, Marco Eguchi and other Brazilian bull riders, Ben Jones' answer was simple and to the point.
"They're here to win," he said.
Jones went on to explain, "Nothing against any of the other fellas, but they're always talking about what they should have done, or what they can do, or whatever else - where these fellas go out and do it every time out.
"They believe in themselves."
Last year, seven of the Top 10 riders were from Brazil, and the Top 6 finishers at the World Finals in Las Vegas were Brazilian, as well.
This year, through the first three Built Ford Tough Series events, Alves is again atop the world standings, attempting to win what could be his third world title in as many seasons.
In 2012, Jones traveled and roomed with a contingency of Brazilian riders after earning his way back onto the BFTS. He recorded four Top-10 finishes in the past seven events leading up to the World Finals.
"That's where I went wrong at the Finals," he said. "I didn't hang out with them, and Guilherme just helps in so many ways-head-wise, fitness-wise. He just keeps me centered."
Jones agrees that is, perhaps, the greatest benefit.
"They're here to win."
The 33-year-old is known for wearing his emotions on his sleeve in and out of the arena. It's been a tough lesson to learn, but according to Jones, Marchi has made a point to express the importance of "leaving it all in the arena."
For instance, last weekend, Marchi matched up with Asteroid in the 15/15 Bucking Battle and even though the reigning World Champion Bull turned back to the right - into Marchi's riding hand - he still came down at 4.86 seconds.
Asteroid was the Monster Energy Bonus Bull and worth an additional $21,000.
Marchi was disappointed, but by the time he got back to the locker room, the 2008 World Champion was already looking ahead to Saturday's final two rounds of the Winston-Salem Invitational.
According to Jones, who tended to allow his frustration to linger in the past, Marchi told him, "You can't bring it back here."
He continued, "It's tough to do, but Guilherme is a lot tougher. If I bring it back in here, he's going to put me in my place. He knows if I come back in here mad, then I didn't give it (my) all out there."
Jones, who has covered one of eight bulls in the first three BFTS events, fared better at Touring Pro Division events in the months leading up to the start of the BFTS season, and likewise, he is currently ranked 19th in the world standings.
He said he is hoping to thrive off the energy the Brazilians bring into the locker room.
Recently, Jones has been rooming with his wife Christy. However, she's planning to stay at home in Boyd, Texas, which will give the Australian native an opportunity to room with Marchi and others for the next few weeks.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, you know," Jones said. "They're just that good of people-that good of friends."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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