Brazilian bull riders win Global Cup at AT&T Stadium

Team USA Eagles Jess Lockwood comes off of Wild Goose in the first section of the WinStar World Casino & Resort PBR Global Cup at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on February 9, 2019
Team USA Eagles Jess Lockwood comes off of Wild Goose in the first section of the WinStar World Casino & Resort PBR Global Cup at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on February 9, 2019 Special to the Star-Telegram

Brazilian bull riders ride with a lot of grit and determination and they can be hard to throw off.

That was apparent when a team of Brazilian cowboy athletes strapped on their spurs at AT&T Stadium and clinched their second Global Cup title on the Professional Bull Riders circuit.

Winning the third annual Global Cup, which was Saturday and Sunday, had everything to do with which team could have the most riders stay on their bovines for the required eight seconds. The results were based on aggregate scores.

After the dust settled, Brazil stayed on one more bull throughout the two-day show than the Team USA Eagles, which was among two United States teams that competed in the 2019 Global Cup.

Brazil clinched the title with an 11-ride aggregate score of 939.25. The United States Eagles finished second with a 10-ride score of 867. The U.S. Wolves, which consisted of Native American cowboys, came in third with an eight-ride score of 691.25.

“It was a team effort,’’ said Team Brazil member Joao Ricardo Vieira who lives in Decatur when he competes in North America.

“Everyone stepped up to the plate and did what they had to do to get it done.”

Team Brazil earned $365,100, which was split among its eight riders. Two of its standout riders were Eduardo Aparecido who stayed on three bulls and Jose Vitor Leme who stayed on two. Both Aparecido and Leme live in Decatur when they compete in North America.

Leme grabbed attention on during the Saturday night performance when he turned in a 90, which was the highest score of the weekend. It also was the first time for a rider to earn a score in the elite 90s at a Global Cup.

The Team USA Eagles earned $141,150, which was divided among its eight riders. The team’s standout rider was 2016 world champion Cooper Davis who finished with the highest aggregate score of all competitors, a 263.25 on three rides.

The Team USA Wolves’ eight members split $88,400. Their top rider was Ryan Dirteater who finished with the weekend’s second highest aggregate score, a 258.5 on three rides.

Last year, the Brazilians won the Global Cup title in Sydney, Australia. During the 2019 edition on Sunday at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium, the title was undecided until the final round.

The Brazilians led U.S. Eagles 939.25-867, going in the final. If Team USA Eagles’ Davis had stayed on his last bull, his score very likely would have been a high enough to give the Eagles the lead. And if Vieira then would have bucked off of his final bull, the USA Eagles would have finished with an 11-ride aggregate score that probably would have been higher than Team Brazil.

But Davis was bucked off in 4.63 seconds, which sealed the victory for the Brazilians.

Brazil took a commanding lead over the Team USA Eagles during the Saturday night show when the Brazilians stayed on three more bulls than the Team USA Eagles. After Saturday’s performance, Team Brazil was ranked No. 1 with a seven-ride aggregate score of 595.5. The Team USA Eagles ranked second with a four-ride score of 350.25.

During Sunday’s show, Team USA members stayed on six bulls and finished with 10 qualified rides (867 points). The Brazilians stayed on four bulls and finished with 11 qualified rides (939.25).

“We just tried to stay on,” said Team Brazil captain Renato Nunes. “We had more rides yesterday [Saturday] and that’s why we won.”

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Sports editor William Wilkerson is back for his second stint with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He first worked at the paper after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. He most recently was the Executive Editor of College-Team Sites for CBS Interactive/247Sports and has also worked at ESPN, Scout.com and the Austin American-Statesman.