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Rodeo Insider: Three-time PBR champion Silvano Alves keeps focus on one bull at a time

Silvano Alves, a Brazilian bull rider who lives in Decatur, finished fourth at the Professional Bull Riders Buck Off in New York’s Madison Square Garden over the weekend.
Silvano Alves, a Brazilian bull rider who lives in Decatur, finished fourth at the Professional Bull Riders Buck Off in New York’s Madison Square Garden over the weekend. AP

For Silvano Alves, a three-time Professional Bull Riders world champion, the formula for winning a gold buckle is simple: just stay on.

On the PBR tour, riders face the toughest bovines around. It’s not merely a drawing contest. Granted, a rider might have an edge in single-round competition by acquiring a better bull, but the riders who make the most qualified rides down the stretch clinch the world titles.

North Carolinian J.B. Mauney proved that at the 2013 PBR World Finals when he won his first world title after staying on all six bulls at the Las Vegas championships. Alves, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, proved that when he conquered all six bovines at the 2014 PBR World Finals in October in Las Vegas, where he clinched a third Built Ford Tough Series world title.

Alves, 27, also won PBR world titles in 2011 and 2012. He and Adriano Moraes, a former Keller resident from Brazil, are tied for the most world titles in the PBR, which conducted its first championship title race in 1994. Moraes snared gold buckles in 1994, 2001 and 2006.

In an interview through an interpreter last weekend at the PBR’s ninth annual tour stop at Madison Square Garden, Alves was questioned about the possibility of winning world title No. 4, which would break the all-time record. But he quickly downplayed the thought of surpassing Moraes and said his mission is all about staying on every bull he faces.

“I feel good — I just want to ride my bulls,” Alves said. “Mentally, I feel really good. I prepare myself and my mind. My body is good, and I just want to come here to ride bulls.”

Alves did just that at the PBR’s tour stop in New York, a three-day show called the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden. Alves made five qualified rides during the weekend — four in the regular Built Ford Tough Series competition against the entire field, plus one in a competition called the “15/15 Bucking Battle.”

Alves finished fourth at the tour stop in New York after finishing with a four-ride aggregate score of 306.50. Guilherme Marchi, the 2008 world champion, won the title with a 341.

When he turned in the 77.5 in the final round Sunday, Alves extended his streak of consecutive rides on the PBR tour to 24, a series record. The previous record was 16 qualified rides, a feat that was accomplished by Mauney in 2013 and 2014.

After finishing in the money last weekend, Alves is ranked No. 1 in the PBR world title race with 1,095 points. Reese T. Cates, who won the season-opening show two weeks ago in Baltimore, is ranked second with 550. Marchi is ranked third with 530.

This weekend, Alves is scheduled to ride at the PBR’s Built Ford Tough Series in Oklahoma City. The Express Employment Professionals Invitational is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Alves is scheduled to compete in the PBR’s sixth annual Iron Cowboy PBR tour stop on Feb. 28 at AT&T Stadium. He’s also scheduled to compete in the bull riding competition at the RFD-TV The American on March 1 at AT&T Stadium.

All in all, Alves, who began competing in PBR shows in 2008, has earned $5,677,110, the highest of all PBR competitors. Mauney is second with $5,509,692. Justin McBride, a two-time world champion, is third with $5,124,418.

Alves said winning lots of money has made life better.

“I’m really happy to win $1 million [bonus for claiming the PBR world championship],” Alves said. “It’s not just for the money, it has made a better life for my family. I’ve been happy about it every year I’ve won it.”