EDMONTON – National pride and honor is on full display this weekend at the PBR Global Cup, presented by Encor by EPCOR.
Every team competing inside Roger’s Place is flashing its countries colors with custom-designed jerseys, helmets, t-shirts and riding gear.
That is especially true when you head into the Team Brazil locker room where Joao Ricardo Vieira hung a Brazilian national flag on the wall right in the entry way.
“This is about our country, my family and my friends in Brazil,” Vieira said. “Riding bulls is popular in Brazil. A lot of guys wanted to come here and ride bulls. I am so grateful to have qualified to represent my country.”
Vieira knew his teammates did not need any more motivation for this weekend’s global bull riding competition. Still Vieira wanted to not only proudly display his nation’s flag, but also get a keepsake following the inaugural event.
“I brought the flag here because I want it to stay in my living room when I retire,” Vieira said. “I want Team Brazil to autograph it and I will frame it.”
Team Brazil coach Robson Palermo said, “Oh yeah, Joao brought the flag for us all to sign and we signed it. He’s happy about it. He wants to bring it on the chute too. But yeah, he’s so proud about the flag and the country.”
Each of the countries competing at the Global Cup have their own locker rooms inside Rogers Place.
Vieira, who did confirm he is returning to the PBR next season, also hopes the flag is a symbol of a 2017 Global Cup championship once the event concludes on Saturday night at Rogers Place.
Fans can watch Championship Saturday on TSN3 and PBR.com beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
Team Brazil finished night one in third place by going 5-for-9 (416.75 points). The Brazilians trail Team USA by 8.5 points for second place and Team Canada by 84.75 points for the event lead.
Rubens Barbosa began the evening for Team Brazil with 83 points on Black Sheep before Vieira came through with 83.25 points on Ulterra’s Teal Steel.
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi rode Moves Like Pozzy for 82.25 points, Jose Vitor Leme conquered I Always Stand for 85 points and Eduardo Aparecido accepted a re-ride before riding Falling Rock for 83.25 points.
Friday was Aparecido’s first action since losing the 2017 World Championship at the World Finals despite beginning the Finals as the No. 1 bull rider in the world standings.
“Yeah, I was really happy how they came out,” Palermo said. “We worked like a team and everybody came together to do this stuff together and I’m so happy.”
“Of course I was disappointed,” Aparecido said. “I rode good all year and worked hard for that. I was really focused to be the World Champion, but if you don’t make the Finals good then you won’t be the World Champion. I am disappointed, but I have to pick my head up and move on to the next one.”
Team Brazil headed into the Bonus Round sitting in place, but Leme (2.21 seconds on Gambini) and Kaique Pacheco (5.06 seconds on Pearl Harbor) were bucked off and allowed Team USA to leapfrog the Brazilians in the event standings.
Pearl Harbor was the high-marked bull of the night with 45.75 points in his first outing since coming up short in his pursuit of the 2017 World Championship.
Reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger confirmed Pearl Harbor will buck again on Saturday night in the Bonus Round.
Vieira had jokingly come out before the Bonus Round draft with his chaps and riding vest to try and convince Palermo that he was ready for any bull.
Palermo, though, decided to roll with Leme and Pacheco for the team’s final two bulls, after consulting with alternate Silvano Alves, who is serving as an assistant coach, and the entire team.
TEAM BRAZIL SATURDAY MATCHUPS
Eduardo Aparecido vs. The Knuckle
Kaique Pacheco vs. Berry Creek
Joao Ricardo Vieira vs. Dusty's Revenge
Rubens Barbosa vs. Tequila Sunrise
Jose Vitor Leme vs. Legacy
Fabiano Vieira vs. I Hear Voices
Guilherme Marchi vs. Mud Bog
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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