PUEBLO, Colo. – It wouldn’t have been out of the question to look at Luciano de Castro’s stats, his 2015 PBR Brazil championship and his runner-up finish in 2016 and believe that there wasn’t much more the rising Brazilian superstar needed to learn upon his arrival to the Built Ford Tough Series.
His nearly unbelievable 85.42 career riding percentage in Brazil backed up that notion as well.
But the BFTS has a way of humbling even the best in the world, and as Castro explained to PBR Brazil’s Jorge Cardoso, he was no different.
“My adaptation has been a bit difficult,” Castro told Cardoso this week. “I have gained the support of my friends and family and learned a lot about what it is like to ride in the United States. I have a lot to improve. I'm not even close to (how I) was here in Brazil."
Castro made his BFTS debut this past January in Sacramento, California, and has gone a combined 13-for-31 (41.94 riding percentage) in 11 BFTS events, picking up four Top-10 finishes and a career-best fourth-place performance at the Jacksonville Invitational.
He currently sits at No. 23 in the world standings, and fourth in the Rookie of the Year race.
While still an impressive stretch for a rookie on the PBR’s top-flight tour, it was certainly a more modest showing from one of the most dominant riders in Brazil’s recent history.
That’s not a surprise for Castro, who anticipated a major readjustment period once arriving in the United States. He and reigning PBR Brazil champion Dener Barbosa have been carrying the banner as the next generation of Brazilian superstars and have been going through the learning process together both inside and outside of the arena.
“I'm getting used to the weather, the (mouth guard) and even wearing the helmet," Castro joked. “But the bulls are still (the challenging) part. I had to change my style since they are faster. It gets in the way a bit."
Like Barbosa, Castro has been extremely grateful to the veteran Brazilian riders who have helped him adjust his training regimen and ease his transition to the U.S.
"I just have to thank the Brazilians who are there,” Castro said. “They have helped me a lot in this process of adaptation. I learn so much from them. I ask a lot and I pay attention to the tips. They have been (crucial) at the moment."
While bull riding has continued to be the focus of his life, Castro has not forgotten to simply appreciate the moment and experience everything he can in the U.S., including an interesting first for the Brazilian.
"I had never been on a plane before,” Castro said. “I kept my eye on everything. I considered myself a tourist. Las Vegas was the one that impressed me the most. It was a dream come true, but I still want to know more."
For now, though, Castro is ecstatic to be back home in Brazil and spend time with some important people before returning in August for the second half of the BFTS.
“I want to enjoy a lot and stay with my family,” Castro said. “Especially my son, who is my biggest inspiration.”
To learn more about PBR Brazil, check out pbrbrazil.com
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