BRAZIL – When Joao Ricardo Vieira arrived in Brazil in May, he already had in mind everything he could do on his vacation back home.
Vacation and work blend together for Vieira, though.
The No. 9 rider in the PBR world standings had a busy summer of bull riding planned for himself.
‘I cannot stand still,” Vieira said. “I need to ride bulls every week. That's part of my preparation.”
Vieira competed at multiple PBR Brazil events this summer, various open bull ridings and the 2017 Calgary Stampede.
It was a relatively successful summer for Vieira as the 33-year-old went 15-for-22 before he returned to the United States for this weekend’s Koben Puckett Invitational in Amarillo, Texas, and the Silvano Alves Challenge Benefitting Boots for Troops in Allen, Texas.
However, Vieira’s biggest success this summer was that he was able to a raise a combined $37,391.54 for three children suffering from life-threatening diseases.
“God gave me the power of being a cowboy, so I use this gift to help people,” Vieira said. “I'm very happy to have helped these people.”
Vieira became connected through a mutual friend to a little girl, Victoria, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. Victoria has yet to make out of the hospital since being born and the family had reached out to Vieira and a group of friends for financial assistance.
In Brazil, event organizers often create a “Challenge for Good” during their bull ridings. A “Challenge for Good” allows a bull rider to attempt an extra bull and people then donate money to a beneficiary or charity.
The first "Challenge for Good" helped raise 33,000 reais ($10,546.33) for her.
Vieira then rode another “Challenge for Good” bull to raise another 66,000 reais ($21,092.67) for an additional child with spinal muscular atrophy at the PBR Brazil event in Divinopolis.
After competing at the 2017 Calgary Stampede, Vieira returned to Brazil and participated in one more “Challenge for Good.” Vieira helped raise 18,000 reais ($5,760.09) for a facility that cares for people with disabilities.
Vieira is now focused on the final 10 Built Ford Tough Series regular-season events before the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 1-5.
The 2013 PBR Rookie of the Year heads into the Express Employment Professionals Classic, presented by Osage Casino, after placing fourth at the Koben Puckett Invitational.
Vieira was bucked off by Opus in 4.54 seconds during the Silvano Alves Challenge on Sunday evening.
Overall, Vieira picked up 105 points toward the world standings this summer thanks to five Top-5 finishes.
“It was a very productive break,” Vieira concluded. “I was able to return to the U.S., and at the same pace as in May. I hope to improve my position in the standings, remain competitive and be among the best in the world.”
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