Note: All statistics are from ProBullStats. For those who think I imagined everything: numbers don’t lie.
During his first 6 months on the Built Ford Tough Series (he started in April), Silvano Alves scored the most times (11) in Round 1, then did well in Rounds 2 and 3 (7 scores in each), and in the Final Round (8 rides). He had 2 scores of 90 or better, 18 scores in the high 80s, 13 in the mid-80s, and 5 in the low 80s. Seems pretty fair to me. His two worst scores were 79.25 and 69. The fact that he kept them instead of taking re-rides was puzzling to a lot of people.
Silvano’s most successful Rounds were 1, with 22 scores; 3, with 21 scores, and the Final Round, with 10 scores. He had 3 scores of 90 or better (the judges hadn’t started totally hatin’ on him yet), 34 scores in the high 80s, 17 in the mid-80s, 11 in the low 80s, but twice as many low scores as in the previous year: 73.50, 79, 78.75, and 72. This time, he received 18 “Get Silvano!” scores. The judges were getting annoyed with his “keep any score” strategy. He just wasn’t living up to their definition of what a rider should do, hence the slew of low 80s and 70s. And yet he won his first World Championship.
His riding percentage was even higher than it was in 2010, 69% compared to J.B.’s 43.18%.
The gloves came off. Silvano scored more times than ever in Round 1 (27), and did very well in Rounds 2 and 3 (14 and 13 scores, respectively). However, the number of his scores in the Final Round dropped shockingly, to 3. I guess by the short go, the judges’ head games took their toll. They granted him only one high-marked ride: 90.25—and more low scores than ever: 78.25, 72.75, 68.50, 79.50, 70.50, 79, and 73.75. They were seriously hatin’ on him now: sliced his number of high-80s down to 25, gave him 22 mid-80s, and 5 low 80s, dishing out 18 “Get Silvano!” scores.
The judges were really ticked, so they kept lowballing him, figuring they’d force him to take re-rides, and then he’d have a 50-50 chance of no score at all. No soap. Alves stayed cool and on his own track. They developed several other “Get Silvano!” strategies: harassment while he was in the chute, wonky clocks and time vagueness, DQs, inflated scores for J.B. Mauney and a few other Americans, .25 dings to keep him from a 90-point score—but they still couldn’t prevent him from winning his second World Championship.
One example of a loud ding:
“That right there is a microcosm of how Silvano Alves won last year’s World Finals Title,” said Craig Hummer about Alves taming High Octane Hurricane (85.71% buckoff rate). “Ever notice that Silvano makes all bulls look easy?” said Ty Murray. And that’s why the judges gave him 89.75, instead of the at-least-90 he deserved for mastering a difficult bull: the 15/15 event was thrown to PBR fave Luke Snyder by dinging Alves for .25.
This year was an all-out assault on Alves. PBR did not want another Brazilian world champion, especially not a “three-peat” champ, and they geared up to grab the crown for Mauney. The “storyline” was set from day one, and the marketing campaign was relentless. The judges’ hostility and chute boss harassment stepped up enough to rattle Silvano’s cool. They used all the weapons in their arsenal to slide him down the leaderboard—even dinging some bulls to lower his score.
Still, in first rounds he had 19 scores, in second rounds, 17 scores, and in Final Rounds, 10 scores. He had 3 scores of 90 or over (those rides must’ve been so sensational, the judges knew they couldn’t get away with less—or else these were different judges), 22 in the high 80s, 8 mid-80s, more low 80s than ever (14), and lowest scores of 73.75, 79.75, 79.50, 79.50, 71, and 72, for a total of 20 “Get Silvano!” scores.
If you looked at these numbers and didn’t know what was going on, you’d think this guy Alves was getting worse and worse as a bull rider. The combination of sabotage techniques worked: PBR successfully maneuvered J.B. Mauney into a championship by shafting Silvano at every opportunity, despite the fact that Silvano’s riding percentage was 54.95% and J.B.’s was 52.22%.
Some examples of the “Get Silvano!” strategy:
Anaheim, Saturday night:
Alves did everything right, and even threw in an extra few seconds on Filmore Trouble, but was scored 81.25. We knew he’d be underscored; this time it’s at least partly on the bull, whose score was only 39.75. On the other hand, Snickers, with the same score, gave Cody Nance an 81.50. Oh my; are we starting with those .25-point dings this early in the season, so it won’t look as obvious as the Finals approach?
Las Vegas Finals, Sunday night:
We’re supposed to believe that the 70 Silvano kept when he turned down a re-ride earlier in the event lost him the championship? Some of us have longer memories. For those who don’t: Does the number 84 ring a bell? 84.50? 84.75? It should: that’s what the judges stuck Alves with so many times this season, while they did their best to keep J.B.’s scores in the high 80s and over 90.
The judges’ favorite “Get Silvano!” scores:
84.75, 8 times
84.50 and 83.75, 7 times
84, 6 times
83.50, 81.25, 81, 5 times
84.25, 82.35, 81.50, 4 times
83, 82.50, 80.25, 3 times
I don’t have the time or energy to review rides and analyze scores, bad calls, etc., but I know what the rankings would’ve been if everything was fair.
To a lot of bull riding fans, Silvano is the back-to-back three-time World Champion.
Not including the Tulsa event, Silvano scored 13 times in third rounds, and 10 in first rounds, while his Final Round scoring dropping to 4. He’s been given no scores over 89.75—ding! Now the judges are just plain vicious: they’ve dinged him four times already, decreased his number of high 80s to 9, gave him 8 mid-80s, 8 low 80s, and the lowest scores of 55.75, 71.50, 79.75, 76.75, 79. I think 55.75 is the world’s record bottom (so far; you never know how far they’ll go). P.S. Right now, Silvano’s riding percentage is 47.62%, higher than J.B. Mauney’s.
Alves is #4 in the rankings, but the judges aren’t taking any chances. I wonder if they’d stoop to sabotaging Guilherme Marchi if it looked like he was heading for a World Championship.
I’m just sayin’.