Behind the chutes: Thackerville


  • Alves was nearly perfect in Thackerville

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There’s a new No. 1 bull rider in the world, and his name is Silvano Alves.

The 23-year-old, who had been atop the standings for one week earlier this season, finished third in the average at the WinStar World Casino Invitational this weekend to overtake fellow Brazilian Valdiron de Oliveira, who was 0-for-2 for the third time in the past five events.

Alves was nearly perfect in Thackerville.

After covering his re-ride bull for 83.25 points in the opening round, Alves slid into the first short round in the 10th spot. He covered Bahada for 87 points and was fifth in the average after two of four rounds, and his two qualified rides and round points moved him to within 115 points of the top spot in the world.

Oliveira had said he was “ready to win again” coming into the weekend, and had a chance to protect his lead with a qualified ride in Round 3, but bucked off for the second time in two days.

That opened the door for Alves, who had already covered Perfect Poison for 88.25 points.

Alves, who won a Built Ford Tough Series event earlier this year in Anaheim, Calif., went into the championship round with the second pick in the bull draft. He selected Asteroid.

Prior to the draft, he not only moved to the top of the PBR world standings, but he made his way to the far back of the bull pen area and sat alone on the top rung of the fence for nearly 20 minutes. He went relatively unnoticed and avoided any conversation that had to do with the event or the race for the world title.

He eventually joined Guilherme Marchi and Paulo Lima near the out gate to talk about the bulls in the draw. Between them they had three of the Top 4 picks.

Afterward, Oliveira said, “We’re all friends. I’m a fan. I’m ready to win, but maybe it (will) be Silvano, Guilherme. Maybe Austin Meier will win.”

Alves was later than expected arriving at the event.

He originally planned to arrive in Thackerville on Thursday evening, but postponed the drive after arriving home in Decatur, Texas, to discover a water leak. He and several other Brazilian riders had spent the summer break in South America.

Alves now leads Oliveira by 298 points, followed by Robson Palermo and Marchi. Meier rounds out the Top 5 riders in the world.

Marchi finished the event fourth in the average to move up from sixth in the world standings.

Palermo had an opportunity to close the distance on the top spot as well, but was called for a slap at 7.1 seconds in Round 1. That score would have likely bumped Alves out of the first short round on a night that featured only 13 qualified rides.

Palermo made a nice ride early in Round 3 on Mad Max for 88.25 points, but had to be assisted from the arena after being hit in the face with a horn. Still, he was more concerned with how he had landed on his previously dislocated shoulder.

The BFTS will be in Billings, Mont., next weekend for a three-day event worth 1,200 points.

As for slipping a spot in the standings, Oliveira said, “I just thank God (I get) to ride bulls.”


Second time’s a charm: After winning his second BFTS event, Jordan Hupp said nothing will ever match winning his first. In 2010, he won in nearby Oklahoma City at an event in which he was fifth alternate called into the draw. The 26-year-old was the only rider to cover all four bulls this weekend. He selected After Party in the bull draft for the championship round, and covered him for 89.75 points. His winning interview can be heard here.

Beating the heat: Due to concerns about temperatures at or near 100 degrees for much of the weekend, the riders were provided with a locker room in a large air-conditioned tent that also housed the sports medicine room, an area for the production crew and another area where family and friends gathered before rider introductions.

Two riders – Mike Lee and Cody Nance – elected to get ready outside on the opposite side of the bull pen.

When asked about the heat, Lee, who lives in Decatur, Texas, said, “I’m in it all day.” He came to the event with his mother and two children. Lee added, “They’re used to it too. … I guess that makes them tough kids.” Lee said he also thought it was better to stay acclimated with the heat rather than going in and out of the air-conditioned tent. “That can make you sick if you’re not careful,” he said.

Hot job: During a TV production meeting with Versus producers and broadcasters, Shorty Gorham talked about how draining it could be for the bullfighters, working at the top of their game for every out.

Between the two nights there were more than 100 outs, including several re-rides.

Gorham thought it would be especially hard on Jesse Byrne, who is from just outside of Calgary, Alberta, and has been working events in Canada all summer. Saturday afternoon, Byrne said he thought he might have spent too much time in the air-conditioned tent during intermission.

Gorham did too, but added that his legs felt refreshed. Frank Newsom, who is from southern Oklahoma, said that while it was hotter when the sun was out on Saturday than it was on Friday, it didn’t seem nearly as humid Saturday night.

Cool bulls: Precautions were also taken for the bulls. To keep them from being in the direct sunlight all day, they were housed at a nearby sale barn.

Another change to their normal routine came with the amount of water bulls they were given. Typically, on a day they’re going to buck their bulls, contractors take them off water sometime between 10 a.m. and noon. However, because of the heat, they left the water out most of the day.

Friday night, Magic Man eluded his handlers. The driver was one bull short when he brought over a trailer to the WinStar World Casino and Hotel. It wasn’t until just before the start of the first round that they realized Magic Man was still at the sale barn, so they had to go back and pick him up.

Stormy Wing, who had drawn the first-round bull, went from being in the middle of the draw to one of the last riders out.

Staying sticky: One key to success was the adjustment riders made with their rosin.

Typically they work on making their rosin sticky by adding glycerin, saddle soap or Neutrogena. Rosin is basically the same pine tar substance used by baseball players to make the handles of their bats sticky. However, in a hot environment like this, they needed to use a dry, white powder-like rosin.

Playing through the pain: No one has equaled the success of Shane Proctor this year. He’s in the Top 10 of the PBR and atop the PRCA standings, but was injured at a rodeo last Monday in Spanish Fort, Utah. Proctor was coming down short of the whistle and tried holding on to the tail of his rope when he was pulled underneath the bull and stepped on.

He has a few broken ribs, but has continued competing. He’s been icing before and after each ride. Tylenol helps with the pain. Immediately after the final round of the Thackerville event, he was back on the road for an all-night drive to Cheyenne, Wyo., where he’s competing on the final day of a weeklong rodeo.

By a foot: Caleb Sanderson, who won a BFTS event earlier this season, showed up in Thackerville with a pronounced limp.

On Thursday, he was roping calves in a pasture at a ranch outside Stephenville, Texas, where he recently moved. His horse and another converged on a calf. Sanderson didn’t see the other horse coming until its head was right next to his horse’s. At that point, it was too late. The two horses collided and the one he was riding fell over. His horse stood right up, and stepped on Sanderson’s right foot.

After he was examined by Dr. Tandy Freeman, it’s believed he broke some bones on the top of the foot, but will need to have X-rays on Monday. In the meantime, instead of wearing his own size 9 boots, he bought a size 12 pair just for this weekend in order to get his foot inside.

Coleman update: The Coleman family drove up to Thackerville from their new home in Henrietta, Texas. It has been three months since Ross Coleman had surgery to repair a dislocated left shoulder and torn rotator cuff. He said it’s starting to feel a lot better than it did immediately following the procedure, and was there to see Freeman for a checkup. “Doc is the best,” Coleman said. “He’s taken great care of me.” He later said he has five months of recovery and rehab left before he can resume riding, and is looking at being ready to compete again at the first of the year.

— by Keith Ryan Cartwright

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