LAS VEGAS – Silvano Alves is not ready to discuss or even think about what a third World Championship would mean to his legacy as a bull rider this week during the Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Even though the two-time World Champion has made it very clear that he wants to win his third gold buckle in a span of four years, he added that he also wants to also win the World Finals event title for the first time in his career.
The World Finals title is one of the few things missing from the 26-year-old’s Built Ford Tough Series resume. He has finished second twice and third and sixth once. He has yet to ride all six of his bulls at the Finals.
“It would be big, because that is the second dream of every bull rider,” Alves said earlier this week with the help of translator Miriaham Contreras. “First is the title and the second is the World Finals.”
Alves has put himself in position to accomplish both of those goals in 24 hours inside the Thomas & Mack Center. He begins Round 4 on Saturday night leading the event average by 63.75 points over Matt Triplett and Kody Lostroh, and is the only man to cover all three of his bulls so far.
He may trail world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira, who is currently fifth in the event average with 177.75 points, by 770.94 points in the world standings, but he would be the World Champion if the Finals ended today with him as the event winner.
Alves turned down his ninth re-ride of the season on Friday night when he was awarded 69 points on Here We Go Again, recording his 10th consecutive qualified ride.
Even though he was unable to receive bonus points in the round, Alves has always looked at the bigger picture when it comes to the re-ride scenario.
He is focused on winning a gold buckle and the World Finals event title.
“It is in the moment. It is not an overall plan,” Alves said. “If I see the points and there is a certain amount of points I need, I am going to give it my all. I risk losing points if I take a re-ride and don’t ride. Then I lose points for the event average.”
There are still 4,000 points available at Finals, but the most important ones come at the top of the event average with 2,500 points going to the event winner.
“Sometimes the judging affects the re-ride situation,” Alves said before the start of the Finals. “The re-ride (bull) may be a bad one, or it might be a good one. I know sometimes they are an 84-point ride, but I also know that sometimes with the re-ride situation and me, the judges may give me a 79 instead of an 80-something. I don’t want the judges to help me. I just want them to be fair.”
Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray, PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert and two-time World Champion Justin McBride all agreed that Alves was given to low of a score.
“I feel like the judges got it wrong,” Murray said. “He did try to pick the easiest bull in the round and that is why he was on the bull that had the weakest out.”
Alves developed into one of the best at making the 8-second mark. Even in a down year for him statistically, the Pilar Do Sol, Brazil, bull rider has used his consistency to keep his name in the world title race and he has since kicked open the door at World Finals.
He leads the BFTS with 47 rides this year, which is six more then the next highest-mark of 41 successful rides by Joao Ricardo Vieira, Fabiano Vieira and Guilherme Marchi.
“He is in the driver’s seat,” Murray said. “He is using the current system perfectly. Anything he draws, I feel like he is going to ride. I’ve seen him ride bulls before that give others hell and he makes them look easy.”
Alves said, “I am excited and hoping to win because it is my fifth finals. I am so close.”
While some may agree or disagree with Alves’ strategy, he is in position to potentially tie Adriano Moraes’ PBR-record of three career world titles. It took Moraes 12 years. If Alves accomplishes the feat, he will have done so in only five years.
2013 World Champion J.B. Mauney says you can’t fault Alves for sticking with what has worked throughout his entire career.
“You can’t argue with a guy like that,” Mauney said. “He’s won the world twice. Each person goes at it with a different attitude. His strategy has worked. Why not stick with it? I look at it a little different than he does, but you can’t argue with a man that’s won two world titles back-to-back.”
McBride, who has been serving as the host of “Inside the PBR” on CBS Sports Network this week, believes Alves is clearly the favorite and said he thinks Alves is dialed into the task at hand.
“There is nothing wrong with this guy riding,” McBride said. “He is right on track with his game plan and his strategy. He is going to knock them all down and I think he is going to be the World Champion.”
Ironically, Alves hasn’t been the No. 1 bull rider all season long, yet he may just end up being No. 1 come the conclusion of the World Finals on Sunday.
“I don’t think I have an advantage this year,” Alves said, “but Sunday is when it is all going to be decided.”
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