SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A week ago, Valdiron de Oliveira didn’t even know the PBR had switched venues in Sacramento, California.
Oliveira was proudly recalling his 94-point ride on Buckey during the PBR’s first 15/15 Bucking Battle in 2012 when he began referencing Sleep Train Arena and the intimacy of the old arena 10 miles north of downtown Sacramento.
Oliveira’s eyebrows perked up when informed that the PBR now hosts its annual Sacramento event downtown at the Golden 1 Center.
“Oh it is downtown?” Oliveira asked. “Oh, I didn’t know that. Now it is more exciting. It is a different one. I had a lot of success at the old one. I hope I can do the same at this new one.”
Oliveira set a career-high six years ago when he won a special round of competition called a 15/15 Bucking Battle.
The PBR was slated to have eight network shows that year and the organization wouldn’t be able to showcase all 40 of its riders.
“We wouldn't be able to show all 40 riders and tell the whole story, so we're kind of building a series for these network shows,” PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said at the time.
It was a genius concept to help bring new, national fans into the sport of bull riding. It was simple too, here are the Top 15 bull riders in the world against 15 of the toughest bulls at that current event.
Oliveira is set to compete in Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle against Gambini (13-1, PBR UTB).
It is the 53rd Bucking Battle in the PBR’s history, and Oliveira has competed in 25 of them. He is 8-for-25 with the victory and five third-place finishes.
Eduardo Aparecido and Joao Ricardo Vieira are tied for the most 15/15 Bucking Battle history with four a piece.
RELATED: 15/15 Bucking Battle draw
Fans can watch the event exclusively on CBS national television Sunday at noon ET.
Oliveira said he has always enjoyed the 15/15 Bucking Battle. While he understands why some riders are not a fan of having a 15/15 Bucking Battle during a three-day event weekend, he said more points and more money works for him.
“Well, sometimes in three days it is very hard,” Oliveira said. “You get on five bulls, but I like it because you have more points. You can get 150 points and $7,000. They buck. It is good. I like it. It is pretty good.”
Coincidentally, Oliveira, who was the No. 2 rider in the world at the time, nearly didn’t even get the chance to attempt Buckey in Sacramento.
Lambert had originally placed Smackdown as the No. 2 bull at the event – currently, Lambert’s 15 bulls are randomly assigned and not ranked for the 15/15 Bucking Battle – and Buckey was No. 5. However, Buckey moved up after posting a 46.25-point bull score in Portland, Oregon, a week earlier.
“Well, I remember he was a difficult bull,” Oliveira said. “Only two (riders) stayed on him (then). He bucks pretty hard and pretty fast. He bucks fast and is strong. He changes direction sometimes. He is not easy to get on.”
Oliveira is off to a good start this year in Sacramento thanks to a fifth-place finish in Round 1 (86 points on Stars and Stripes.
The 38-year-old continues his resurgence following a year of retirement.
He heads into his Round 2 matchup against Modified Clyde (38-18, PBR UTB) ranked sixth in the world standings and is 10-for-12 on The 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast.
“I am still a little sore in my groin, but it is no problem,” Oliveira said. “I am sore all over my body, but I tell myself to forget about it. I am 100 percent. I (mentally) tell myself I am fine. That is what I do. I know I am a little bit hurt, but I know I will be alright.”
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