PUEBLO, Colo. – All it takes is one win to get back into the 2016 PBR World Championship race.
Win Last Cowboy Standing – the final PBR Major of the first half – and that can take one bull rider from pretender to contender in a matter of 8 seconds.
Therefore, for as much as three-time World Champion Silvano Alves or the other riders in the world standings not within 1,000 points of world leader J.B. Mauney have struggled this season, there is still a huge opportunity remaining for a push at the 2016 championship before the summer break.
It won’t be easy, but it is very much possible for Alves or any other rider to make a run, especially with 11 regular-season events remaining. That said, with a potential 1,250 world points on the line in Las Vegas in two weeks, doing well at Last Cowboy Standing can make or break your case.
“Oh Last Cowboy is good because it can help a lot for the points,” Alves said. “For everything. It can help your confidence. It can help everything. It is great. It is good because these events are good for the season. Sometime three, four events can help for a season and for the competition.”
Alves has been synonymous with winning when it comes to Last Cowboy Standing. He and Joao Ricardo Vieira are the only two-time winners of Last Cowboy Standing formatted events, which are single-elimination style and put an emphasis on making the 8-second mark to advance instead of high ride scores.
The unique format has been good for Alves and Vieira, with Alves winning back-to-back Last Cowboy Standing titles in 2012 and 2013 and Vieira winning Iron Cowboy and Last Cowboy Standing last year.
The duo lead active riders with the most qualified rides at Last Cowboy Standing events. Vieira leads the way with 10 qualified rides in 18 attempts, while Alves is right behind him with nine rides in 16 attempts.
2016 Iron Cowboy winner Shane Proctor has the third-most qualified rides with six in 12 attempts.
Fabiano Vieira (5-for-13), Tanner Byrne (5-for-9) and Stetson Lawrence (5-for-11) are tied for the fourth-most rides among active riders.
Alves has placed within the Top 5 at Last Cowboy Standing for four consecutive years and averaged 86.81 points per ride before having to miss last year’s event because of hip surgery.
He also has won over $275,000 at Last Cowboy Standing.
“Last Cowboy is a good competition,” Alves said. “It is one of the best events of the year. I like it because it is the best bulls and the best bull riders.
In fact, Alves has never finished lower than sixth-place in any BFTS or World Finals event in Las Vegas. Alves is a remarkable 32-for-46 (69.57 percent) in Las Vegas.
“You just need to stay on the bull and have lots of concentration to ride good because in one day you will be more tired,” Alves said last year. “There is not a lot of time to rest for long.”
A trip to Las Vegas may be the medicine the 28-year-old needs to snap out of the worst start of his career.
Alves is 25th in the world standings and is 14-for-43 (32.56 percent) with only three Top-10 finishes. A big part of his struggles this season has been not finishing his rides. Ten of his buckoffs have come beyond 6 seconds.
Alves has ridden four of his last eight, including a 3-for-3 performance in North Little Rock, Arkansas, last month after bruising his chest attempting to ride Burn It Down in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
“I feel better and am ready to keep trying again,” Alves said.
Alves is scheduled to compete at this weekend’s Cactus Jack PBR Bull Riding Touring Pro Division event in Uvalde, Texas as a tune-up before Last Cowboy Standing.
Alves said the PBR Majors, especially Iron Cowboy and Last Cowboy Standing, have become staple events on the PBR calendar. The Pilar do Sul, Brazil, bull rider compared them to popular summer events in Brazil that many of his countrymen compete in during the BFTS break.
“Last Cowboy is like a big event in Brazil, like Barretos, Americana, Divinópolis,” Alves said. “They are like those three or four events in Brazil because you have to ride four, five six bulls sometimes.
“I like Last Cowboy.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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