Competing at the PBR World Finals is a dream for every bull rider.
Wesley Lourenço is living his dream, by making his much-anticipated debut on U.S. soil after winning Brazil's version of the Iron Cowboy Invitational earlier this year.
However, until Wednesday night, he hadn't been to get on a bull in more than month. He was the top-ranked rider in the PBR Brazil standings, but slipped to second while recovering from a broken jaw.
As the start of the Finals loomed, and Lourenço felt himself weakening from a liquid-only diet, the 20-year-old took matters into his own hands and removed the wires that had been holding his jaw in place.
"He took the wires off by himself because he hadn't eaten anything," explained Robson Palermo, who spoke on behalf of Lourenço. "He said, 'I need to eat, because I need to be strong to ride bulls here.'
"He'll be fine. The jaw is pretty good."
Lourenço looked strong in his first outing at the Finals.
He covered Betta Watchitt for 85.5 points and did not disappoint those who have been anticipating his emergence. Lourenço is 23rd on the qualifier list, which qualifies him for the start of the 2011 Built Ford Tough Series.
"Yeah, he'll be here in January," said Palermo, who was introduced to Lourenço in August of 2009 at the World Cup event in Barretos, Brazil. "He has a dream, and now he's here and he's really excited. … I talked to him today and he saw the city here, Las Vegas, is so big that he's lost a little bit, but he's going to be fine.
"I told him, 'Don't get excited too much, get here and ride your bulls like you do in Brazil, get focused, get in the bucking chute and ride your bulls. Forget everything and then later, when this is over, then do everything here."
- by Keith Ryan Cartwright
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