PUEBLO, Colo. – Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves knows that 2018 was far from his best season in the PBR.
In fact, his 32nd-place finish in the 2018 PBR world standings was the worst of his career, and Alves’ 39.13-percent riding average on the Unleash The Beast was the second-lowest of his career.
Alves openly admitted inside T-Mobile Arena during the 2018 PBR World Finals that this season was a far cry from his gold buckle years.
However, there is one number on the stat sheet that Alves is humbled and thankful for – 26.
Alves competed in all but one Unleash The Beast event in 2018. He missed the Billings, Montana, event to attend his son’s First Communion.
If not for Billings, 2018 would have been Alves’ third consecutive season that he competed in every single premier series event since sustaining a career-altering broken hip in 2015.
“This is not my best year,” Alves said. “I have never finished this low. But I am happy because my body is 100 percent with no pain or nothing.
“I am ready for next year.”
Alves went 27-for-69 (39.13 percent) with two fifth-place finishes and six Top-10s on the Unleash The Beast.
He not only competed in 26 premier series events, but he nodded his head at 38 total PBR-sanctioned events in 2018 and more than 10 rodeos.
The nine-time PBR World Finals qualifier has competed in 40 or more PBR events (all levels) four times. Alves won the PBR World Championship in two of those seasons – 2012 (47 events) and 2014 (41) – and he finished runner-up one season – 2013 (46 events). In 2017, Alves competed in 42 events and finished 11th in the world.
Of course, simply attending more events does not lead to a championship or success.
Alves, though, believes that the more he competes the easier it is for him to get into a rhythm and to overcome the slumps that are associated with bull riding.
“Sometimes in the PBR I have some trouble with the bulls,” Alves said. “But I am not worried about this because all of my life has been a great career. I don’t worry about that anymore. God helped me a lot after my injury. This year I felt 100 percent great. Sometimes I did not have good luck in the draw, but this happens in competition.
“Some is up. Some is down.”
2018 was Alves’ first go at riding part-time on the rodeo trail.
Alves rented an RV and drove all across the United States to compete at various PRCA rodeos and earned almost $30,000.
The future PBR Ring of Honor inductee still is hopeful to make the NFR in 2019 despite finishing outside of the Top 50 in the PRCA bull riding standings this year.
Alves enjoyed his PRCA run this past season and has better qualifications to enter rodeos with larger purses in 2019.
“I want to try again and make the NFR,” Alves said. “I will buy my card again. I will go, not a lot, but like this year. Now I can try to go to some of the bigger rodeos.”
Alves also is aware of how important a victory at The AMERICAN in March will be toward his NFR aspirations.
RELATED: Mauney has 2019 NFR aspirations
The bull riding winner of The AMERICAN wins $100,000, with $50,000 counting towards the PRCA standings.
“If I can win the American, you can go to the NFR,” Alves said.
The last bull riding qualifier for the NFR this year was Trevor Kastner with $94,396 in earnings.
No Top-35 PBR rider qualified for the NFR in 2018.
Alves will have to qualify for The AMERICAN by riding at the American Semi-Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 27-March 1.
PBR riders can try to qualify for the American Semi-Finals by paying a $75 entry fee at each U.S. Unleash The Beast, Velocity Tour and Touring Pro event they enter. The highest-placing rider who paid the fee is awarded a spot in the Semi-Finals.
So far, Chase Outlaw, Matt Triplett, Derek Kolbaba and Jake Gowdy have used PBR performances to qualify for the Semi-Finals.
The Top 5 riders from the Semi-Finals Final Round (March 2 in Arlington) will then advance to The AMERICAN on March 3 to compete alongside the Top 5 riders from the 2018 PBR world standings (Kaique Pacheco, Jose Vitor Leme, Cody Teel, Claudio Montanha Jr. and Marco Eguchi) and the 2018 PRCA standings.
Joe Frost is 5-for-8 at the NFR and is leading the aggregate race. Reigning PRCA champion Sage Kimzey is 3-for-8 and in ninth place, but Kimzey is still projected to win a fifth consecutive bull riding championship.
Reigning PBR World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser squares off against Eli Vastbinder tonight in Round 9 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Alves did not waste any time getting a head start on 2019.
He went 2-for-2 to finish in third place at the Velocity Tour event in Corpus Christi, Texas, for 55 world points on Dec 1.
Two weeks earlier, Alves went 1-for-2 at the WCRA $500,000 Semi-Finals Rodeo to advance to the $1 million WCRA Windy City Round-Up on Jan. 11 in Chicago.
Other bull riders who qualified for the Windy City Roundup include Montanha, Joao Ricardo Vieira, Fabiano Vieira, two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney, Derek Kolbaba, Wyatt Rogers, Chance Schott and Jason Mara.
WCRA earnings do not count toward PRCA standings.
Fans can watch the event exclusively on RidePass.
Alves is 18-for-23 (78.26 percent) with a victory and four Top-10 finishes in seven trips to Allstate Arena in Chicago.
“I need to focus on my mental (strength) and I will be ready for next year,” Alves concluded.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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