ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves has remained relatively, even-keeled throughout his downward descent in the world standings this year.
Alves continuously stuck to the same script even despite having to use World Champion exemptions to remain on the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast once his initial eight guaranteed events for finishing 11th in the 2017 world standings ran out.
He would say everything is OK and that things would turn around in due time.
He was unconcerned.
He didn’t feel pressure or embarrassment even as he fell to 45th in the world standings during this weekend’s Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Alves simply knew that he just needed to put together a string of rides and things would work themselves out.
Whether it was confidence or disinterest, Alves shockingly has never wavered from his approach this season.
Finally, the 30-year-old got some favorable results.
Alves went a perfect 4-for-4 at Dreamstyle Arena, aka The Pit, and earned 236.7 points toward the world standings to rocket up 19 spots in the world standings and leave Albuquerque as the No. 26 rider in the world standings.
“I am very happy to go 4-for-4,” Alves said of his fifth-place finish. “This is a great week. Thank God. Thank you for all of my friends, partners and fans.”
Alves then started laughing.
“I think I am back in the Top 35?” Alves asked.
Alves pushed himself back into the Top 35 thanks to a familiar foe.
The Pilar do Sul, Brazil, bull rider rode Catfish John for 88 points in the championship round to cap off his weekend quartet of rides aboard Last Chance (84.75 points), Terror Struck (84.25 points) and Big Slick (85.25 points).
Alves – a once perennial 54 percent or higher bull rider – is 13-for-29 through 11 events. His 44.83-percent riding average is his best since finishing 2015 at 46.77 percent.
The nine-year pro hadn’t ridden four consecutive bulls on the premier series since beginning the 2016 World Finals with a 63-point ride on Wedding Crasher and ending the regular-season with three straight rides.
It also had been three seasons since Alves rode all four bulls in a three-day event. The last time he did that was when he opened up his word title defense in 2015 with five consecutive rides during his PBR-record run of 24 consecutive rides dating back to 2014.
It was in 2015 when Alves career was forever altered when he broke his left hip attempting to ride Legal Tender in Nampa, Idaho.
Since that injury, Alves hasn’t had the same lethal confidence that used to be so associated with him.
Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray isn’t sure if Alves will ever regain the same fire he had during his impressive title runs, but Murray said this weekend was another example that there is talent still deep inside Alves.
“He is a guy that is still very talented,” Murray said. “He is inherently talented. I said on TV. He is like the bubble in a level. Without trying or putting any thought into it, he knows where to go and he goes there effortlessly. I don’t know what it takes to get him to where he has a fire burning in him.”
Alves has shown that fire at times this year, but not as consistent as he once did.
On Sunday, Alves was jacked up in the arena after riding Catfish John, the same bull he rode for 90 points last year at the World Finals to finish runner-up to event winner Jose Vitor Leme.
Alves did his stereotypical pump of the chest and then slapped the hands of his friends Eduardo Aparecido and Kaique Pacheco.
“I just feel great,” Alves said. “That is a great bull. I have ridden this bull three times and have fallen off once. I am very happy. I am going to try and continue to ride good.”
Alves entered the weekend having ridden only one of his last 10 bulls attempted.
“Sometimes this happens and sometimes you don’t have a good draw,” Alves said. “I just need to stay on my bulls and have good luck and good draws.”
He credited his close friends for sticking by his side.
“My friends have helped me a lot,” Alves said. “Kaique (Pacheco), Eduardo (Aparecido), Emilio (Resende), Fabiano (Vieira), Marco (Eguchi), Claudio (Montanha Jr.), Luciano (de Castro), Guilherme (Marchi).”
Prior to his slump, Alves had placed fifth in Anaheim, California, when he went 3-for-3. Alves, though, left Anaheim frustrated with the judges and felt he should have won that event.
He has mentioned in the past couple of weeks that he just needs to ride his bulls and not get so frustrated with the chute clock or what his ride score is or isn’t.
This weekend nothing fazed him, including him being placed on the clock with Catfish John.
Now he can put to rest the chatter about him falling out of the Top 35 and once again stick to taking things one bull at a time.
Alves believes this weekend can spearhead him toward future success.
“Oh yeah,” he concluded. I had good bulls. This is good confidence. I rode four good bulls. I rode two into my hand and two away. I am very happy for this week and the rest of the season.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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