NEW TOWN, N.D. – Fabiano Vieira walked past Wallace de Oliveira and pointed at his fellow Brazilian bull rider.
“He is a bad driver,” Vieira quipped with a big sarcastic smile. “I was so scared.”
Oliveira rolled his eyes and the two erupted in laughter.
Vieira and Oliveira were two of seven Brazilian bull riders that made the 20-hour trek from Decatur, Texas, to New Town, North Dakota, for this weekend’s Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event at Four Bears Casino and Lodge.
Oliveira was the champion behind the steering wheel of the 12-person van that the group rented for the trip. The 37-year-old drove 15 of the 20 hours and, at one point, had to navigate the vehicle through a snowstorm in South Dakota and patches of black ice.
“It was good, but we had a little problem with black ice this morning in South Dakota,” Oliveira said with a shrug and Marco Eguchi translating. “The car spun out a little bit. We drove 45 miles an hour for a part of the trip.”
Oliveira and Vieira were joined by Eguchi, Dener Barbosa, Luciano de Castro, Lindomar Lino and Robson Aragao for the trip. The group left Texas on Thursday and traveled over 1,200 miles through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota to get to North Dakota.
Through one night of competition in New Town, it sure looks like the long drive spent in the van didn’t hinder the majority of the riders’ abilities.
Vieira and Oliveira are a perfect 2-for-2 and sitting in second and third-place, respectively, in the event.
Castro (86 points on Just Juan), Lino (81 points on Make You Famous) and Barbosa (75.5 points on Sunday Funday) all have a qualified ride as well.
Castro’s ride was the first of his United States career after accepting a re-ride option last weekend in Ontario, California.
“I knew that bull,” Castro said with Eguchi translating. “I watched some videos before I got on him and he felt OK. He was a little strong, but I felt comfortable.”
Vieira said it was fun to hop in the van with two young guys like Castro, 20, and Barbosa, 22.
Castro and Barbosa, the last two PBR Brazil champions, are competing in the United States for the first time this season and have dreams of joining Vieira and Oliveira on the Built Ford Tough Series in January.
“Twenty hours with my friends is a long time, but it is very fun,” Vieira said. “I like driving. It is good company. The guys talk and we (poke fun of) each other. We play cards. It is fun.
Vieira pauses to laugh, “Luciano and Dener? I give them a hard time.”
The World Finals did not go as well as Vieira had hoped, and he finished 2016 ninth in the world standings.
The 34-year-old was a world title contender when the BFTS resumed in Nashville in August, but his left shoulder, which he dislocated at the Calgary Stampede and then again in Nashville, became a hindrance for him during the final three months of the season.
Vieira is planning on using November and December to rehab his shoulder and build up his strength with a series of practice bulls.
He rode Ferdinand in Round 1 for 86 points and Roll Your Own for 84.5 points in Round 2. He has drawn Rand’s Big Cadillac for Round 3.
The New Town Velocity Tour event concludes Saturday night at 6:45 p.m. CT.
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“Now, I need more practice so I can come back and start the year good,” Vieira said. “My shoulder is good. I was a little bit scared to hurt it one more time. My shoulder is getting better. My shoulder helps me ride good. I am no longer sore. I rode good tonight.”
Prior to making his own move to the United States in 2010, Vieira said it wasn’t uncommon for him to sometimes drive up to 14 hours a week in Brazil by himself to get to bull ridings.
Vieira remembers when he and Silvano Alves first arrived in the U.S. they had to lean on each other primarily. It is why he is looking forward to being a mentor to Castro and Barbosa whenever they may need his help.
“The first time I came over, the guys didn’t help me and Silvano too much,” Vieira said. “Now we have good company. Every Brazilian comes together. The guys help and we talk which way the bulls go. I have more experience here.”
Oliveira has drawn Patrick for Round 3 and agreed the road trip has been good for all of the Brazilians that decided to compete in North Dakota.
“It is satisfying to know we can have some good times on the trip,” Oliveira concluded. It is fun.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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