The final word: Billings


  • Oliveira answers doubt with a 5-for-5 performance

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A week after his 0-for-2 performance prompted questions about his title chances, Valdiron de Oliveira answered with a 5-for-5 performance in Billings, Mont., and claimed his fourth Built Ford Tough Series event win of the 2011 season.

“He came back this week looking like the guy we’ve seen leading the world standings for most of the year,” said nine-time World Champion Ty Murray, “and he did it in pretty good fashion, too. His final ride in Billings (Mont.) was a pretty impressive ride on a very impressive bull.

“I thought he stepped up and tried to take the win, and that’s what you have to do.”

Murray was less impressed with Silvano Alves.

In his weekly Podcast, which can be heard here, Murray pointed out that Alves missed an opportunity to get out of the chute on The Situation in the first short round, and then made a questionable draft pick in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.

Murray did not agree with Alves’ choice of Big Tex.

“It might have been the difference,” said Murray. “He makes strange picks, in my opinion, taking Big Tex when you have the No. 2 pick. That makes no sense.

“He’s going to have one of two trips. He’s either going to be an eliminator or he’s going to have the trip that we saw and look like an old bull that may have seen his last PBR event. That was a bull that was trying to stop, and it makes no sense to me.”

Alves made the whistle in the final round.

However, Big Tex had his worst outing since his BFTS debut in 2008. He was marked 42.25 points, and Alves scored 84.75 points, which was clearly not going to be enough to make up the 3.25 points that separated him from Oliveira in the average.

Unless, of course, Oliveira bucked off.

Instead he rode Jeffrey Scott’s Titanium Tough for 89.5 points and a commanding 8-point win on Sunday afternoon.

“That goes back to confidence,” said Murray, who liked Oliveira’s pick. “When you truly feel you can ride anything, that’s when you’re going to be unbeatable.

“I don’t think Silvano believes that about himself. I think he’s trying to slip around.”

“I’m only talking about what we saw this weekend,” Murray continued. “We saw two guys who can ride really well. We saw one of them go after first place and we saw one of them try and sneak into first place, and that doesn’t work.”

Alves took the lead in the world standings a week earlier – following the event in Thackerville, Okla. – and seemed to be protecting his 298-point lead rather than using the opportunity to extend the lead.

Oliveira’s win brought him to within 200 points, while Guilherme Marchi finished fourth in the average and is now 2,270.75 points back. Robson Palermo, whose wife gave birth to a son this morning, is 2,346.75 points off the pace.

“Everybody better be going to each event and doing everything they can to try and win it,” Murray said.

Murray later said, “Silvano’s very, very talented. At the beginning of the year he was one of my picks and I still have a lot of belief in him, but until he gets that belief in himself, like I have for him, it isn’t going to work. I’m not saying he’s not going to get it. … That’s part of learning how to win.”

— by Keith Ryan Cartwright

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