Wesley Lourenço was getting used to hanging out with his Brazilian countrymen in one of the Thomas & Mack Center locker rooms after the Built Ford Tough World Finals concluded each night. On Friday, he was rustled from his red chair and asked to step into the hallway for an interview. A little while later he and Renato Nunes were summoned upstairs to the post-event news conference.
What the heck's going on here?
That's what happens when you are one of only two men to ride your first three bulls at the Finals. Nunes, who's vying for the PBR World Championship, leads the event standings with 267.25 points. Wesley Lourenço has 263.25.
With Nunes playing the role of interpreter, Lourenço was asked what he thought about all the commotion.
"I want to understand everybody, but I can't because I just got here a few days ago," Lourenço said. "I'm going to learn English because I want to talk to everybody. The United States is the place where a cowboy needs to be."
Lourenço, 20, is not only in this country for the first time, he's making his Built Ford Tough Series debut in Las Vegas. Few cowboys can claim that distinction. He punched his ticket for the Nevada desert solely on the $89,307 he won in PBR Brazil events.
Adriano Moraes, the PBR's only three-time World Champion, has high praise for the youngster with the slight build and wide smile.
"Because of his age and his early arrival, he's got all the tools to be the best we ever had," Moraes said.
After posting an 85.5 on his first Finals bull, Lourenço scored 89.5 points Thursday and won $12,000 for third place. He proceeded to second in line at the pay window in Round 3 on Friday when he teamed with 4L & Diamond S Rodeo Co.'s Foolish Pride for 88.25 points. That brought him another 18 grand.
Foolish Pride mostly spun left but turned back to the right late in his trip. Lourenço matched up well with him.
"The bull was very good and very focused," he said.
Lourenço broke his jaw in September and had it wired shut. When he felt he was losing too much strength, he removed the wires so he could eat solid food. He's wearing a helmet for the first time this week, and is pleased to make the grade on three tough bulls.
"I'm very happy because I have not been riding for a month and a half," Lourenço said. "Las Vegas is a very friendly place to be, very nice. I'm coming back [to the United States] in January and I'm going to be here the whole year."
- by Chris McManes
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