I spent some time on the phone with Silvano Alves recently, with the aid of a translator.
I asked if Adriano Moraes had helped him:
“Originally I came to the U.S. on my own to ride on the Touring Pro level, and stayed here for two weeks, then went back to Brazil and stayed there for a few months, and that’s when Adriano gave me a call, and I made it onto the Brazilian World Cup team to compete in the spring. I stayed in Brazil for the break and came back after the break in 2010.”
He laughed when I said Adriano had told us he had a secret weapon named Silvano Alves. “Adriano probably just said that because he heard from all the guys down in Brazil how good I was riding. I didn’t use to ride with PBR Brazil before. I didn’t ride in Barretos.”
Does he remember what happened on his first ride in America?
“I covered. It was on the Touring Pro; I don’t remember where. I went to two Touring Pros here, and ended up second in one, and fourth in the other. I started riding in the Built Ford Tough Series in 2010. 2009 was Touring Pro.”
Does he have a preference for any particular kind of bull?
“Because there’s so many different kinds of bulls, I have no preference. There’s some good ones that go to the right that I like, and then there’s some good ones that go to the left that I like, but then there’s bad ones, too, that go to the right that I don’t like, and the same thing with the left. There’s some that are good that jump a lot and have a high kick that I like, but then there’s some I don’t. Each bull is different. I think Smooth Operator, Asteroid, War Time, Bruiser, and a couple more are the best bulls out there.”
“There’s definitely a difference between the bulls in Brazil and the bulls up here, in my opinion. The ones here are very strong and they’re quick; they’re athletic. They might be smaller than the ones from Brazil, but because they’re so agile, they’re harder, and I think they’re really smart. The ones in Brazil are also hard because they’re bigger, but they’re not as quick as the ones here.”
What did he think of that bracket format the PBR used for the Nashville event?
“I didn’t like the bracket format in Nashville. It’s a good format for a one-time event, to change it up, to make it different, but it depends a lot on the draw, because if you don’t have a good draw—you have to be lucky to get a good draw, and if you don’t have luck, it doesn’t turn out so good for you. I like the normal format the best: the long gos and the short gos.” He laughed when I said I thought maybe they used that bracket format because the bulls were too good and they were afraid nobody would ride.
I told him that we see how the judges treat him differently from the other riders and always put him on the clock.
“I know that it’s different for us, and it’s probably because we’re from a different country, because we’re not from here. There are a lot of times an American will be in there a lot longer than we are, and they don’t get put on the clock. I know this happens, and I know I’m treated differently, but all I can do is do my best, do the best that I can do and be better, to try to get ahead.”
I told him that Cody Nance can make a sandwich in the chute and not get put on the clock, but they disqualify Silvano before he even leaves the locker room. He laughs. “Yeah, that’s normal.”
I asked if there’s a chute clock in Brazil. There wasn’t before.
“Now they’re using a chute clock in Brazil, too. They do use the clock, but it’s different, because in Brazil the judges are watching and they understand when you can’t get out. They can see if you’re having a hard time setting up in the chute with the bull, like if a bull’s acting up inside, they can tell, and they work with you. If they can see that it’s because of the bull, they won’t put you on the clock; they’ll give you some time to work it out. If they see you’re taking too long and you’re just wasting time, then they’ll put you on the clock. But here, they don’t care what the bull’s doing, they don’t care what’s going on, they just want you out. Sometimes it might be because they want to hurt your chances; they just want you to get out.”
We discussed what happened to Valdiron in the chute in Nashville: they put him on the clock while his bull was rocking wildly in the chute, and Valdiron lost the rope, then they disqualified him. “The bull was jumping, and the rope came out of Valdiron’s hand, it wasn’t his fault, but they still put him on the clock. It hurt him; they just did it to hurt Valdiron.”
I asked if the Brazilian riders had meetings with the PBR to talk to them about this kind of thing.
“In the riders meeting with the PBR, we have tried, we do speak, and we’ve told them many times about it, and nothing changes. Everything is the same. Nothing changes, and it’s always the Brazilians that end up getting hurt by it. We do get treated differently, and it’s not just Brazilians, it’s Latinos too; with the Mexicans it’s the same thing. That’s why you have to make sure you do your job right, to get ahead.”
“Being that the PBR is such a big corporation now, it’s all business, it’s starting to fade out from the sport, from taking care of the guys– and the guys are the ones that make the sport. If it wasn’t for the riders, they wouldn’t be getting the audiences they’re getting or the tickets they’re selling; it’s because of the riders that tickets are being sold and the arenas are getting filled.”
“The PBR doesn’t want to see that there are a lot of issues, that a lot of people are mad about it, and that they see a problem in what is going on, and that people are starting to lose interest. The PBR thinks that they’re winning and that’s all that matters, but the only place where stuff like this is happening is in the PBR, for the Brazilians. They’re starting to lose sight of the athletes. I don’t understand why PBR does it that way, but yeah, I know what you’re saying.”
“There’s no point in getting mad, because then you’re just giving them a reason to hurt you more.”
I asked how he manages to keep his feelings from showing on his face.
(Laughs) “It’s better not to show anger, because then you’re just going to make it worse.”
I said, “Well, I can show anger; I’m allowed to.”
He said, laughing, “Yeah, you can.”
I asked if his son wanted to be a bull rider, would he let him:
“I’m going to support him in whatever he decides to do. If he wants to be a bull rider, I’ll support him, but I’m not going to push on him. Whatever he wants to do, as long as it comes from him and he enjoys it, then I’ll support it, whether it’s bull riding or roping or whatever. Whatever he wants to do.”
Did he see Renato when he went back to Brazil?
“Since Renato left the U.S. and went back to Brazil, when I was over there I didn’t see him; I just saw pictures.”
I said that a lot of us know that he really won four World Championships, not three.
“Me, too. The judges didn’t let me win it.”
I told him we see that the judges are very prejudiced in favor of someone who I won’t name.
He laughed. “Yeah.”
I said, The judges gave you a lot of 84s. He said, “Yeah, my scores will never go higher
than 85.” Laughs again.
“Whatever you want to write—thank you for writing about the guys and about the organization. We’re thankful to you for writing about them and interviewing them. Thank you very much; I’m very happy.”