International intrigue

Gabrielle Diaz, Gene Melton, Jeff Talley, Cory Melton and Ricardo Diaz attended the PBR Brahma Super Bull Finals this fall.


  • Gene Melton and Jeff Talley have worked for the better part of a year researching and looking for a bucking bull partner in Brazil.
  • Guilherme Marchi introduced Circle T Ranch & Rodeo to Brazilian businessman and stock contractor Ricardo Diaz.
  • Circle T Ranch & Rodeo is the first known American-based contracting company to enter into a partnership in Brazil and, likewise, Ricardo Diaz is the first Brazilian-based contractor to do the same in the United States.
  • Diaz is currently partnered on six bulls in the U.S., including David’s Dream, while Circle T Ranch & Rodeo is partnered on as many as 50 bulls in Brazil.

In This Article

It's never been a numbers game for Circle T Ranch & Rodeo.

For as long as Gene Melton has worked with the Talley family heading up their Louisiana-based bucking bull operation, the veteran bull man has steadfastly stayed true to the philosophy of quality over quantity.

So when he approached Jeff Talley about the possibility of expanding their brand, they didn't talk about bumping up their bull roster for a Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) event. Instead, they spoke about the opportunity of growing internationally.

Melton, who along with Talley recently made their first weeklong trip to Brazil for the PBR Brahma Super Bull Finals, said they initially didn't know what to expect but that they wanted to get involved with owning bulls in Brazil.

The process started about a year ago when Melton talked with 2008 World champion Guilherme Marchi of Leme, Brazil.

Within a short time of their conversation, Marchi introduced Melton and Talley to a Brazilian stock contractor named Ricardo Diaz.

Diaz, who has a large law firm in South America, owns a ranch that operates a lot like Circle T. Another commonality was the fact that much like Melton and Talley wanted to be the first American contractors to get involved with the bucking bull industry in Brazil, Diaz wanted to be involved in the United States.

After several phone conversations, Diaz traveled to the U.S. and met up with his soon-to-be partners at the BFTS event in San Antonio, Texas. From there he traveled with them to Louisiana, where he observed their operation.

"He presented his idea to us and we presented our idea to him and they were pretty much the same," Melton said. "It didn't take long to work out a deal. It just turned out to be a good opportunity."

For the time being, Melton said they'll partner on existing bulls in each other's pen.

They have discussed the idea of cross breeding, but because of the difficulty in sending bulls or semen back and forth between the two countries, that's something that won't happen soon.

However, they have begun inquiring about the process and learning what steps need to be taken.

Diaz, who speaks fluent English, returned for the World Finals and by then was partnered with Circle T on several bulls, including David's Dream.

"He wanted to be a stock contractor in the United States and that was something I had been looking at for a while," Melton said. "Bull riding is growing and turning into something that's really prospering down there. I wasn't scared to venture off in it."

He added, "We started seeing how it went and what each other wanted and we were both pretty much on the same page."

Diaz will be stateside again later this month. Melton and Talley partnered with Diaz on about 50 bulls in Brazil and Diaz will be added to several more this year in the United States, Melton said.

"Bull riding is growing and turning into something that's really prospering down there. I wasn't scared to venture off in it."

Melton and Talley have plans to return to Brazil in July and again in August, but stated they could add another trip sooner if needed.

Both enjoyed their first trip to Brazil. Melton said he didn't meet an unfriendly person. He was amazed at how many people attended the event, comparing it to a big-time college football atmosphere that lasts an entire week, all through the night until the early morning hours.

"We went down there to kind of see how things operate," said Melton, whose son Cory also made the trip. "The bulls were good and the people were great. Lots of people come and they have a good time and it lasts a pretty good while―not just the bull riding, but the whole deal."

Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC

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