PUEBLO, Colo. – Rafael Jose de Brito had tears in his eyes as he walked off the dirt inside Desert Diamond Arena on the final day of the PBR Team Series regular season.
The Texas Rattler had just ridden High Plains Drifter for 89.5 points to help Texas (16-12) defeat Missouri (13-15), go 3-0 at Ridge Rider Days and win a third consecutive event.
“It is so great to be here,” Brito, who went 3-for-3 in Glendale, Arizona, said with the help of Ednei Caminhas translating. “I never thought this dream could come true. To leave Brazil, and within seven months this happens. This was so fast for me. I never expect this.”
Brito, the 2011 Ekip Rozeta champion in Brazil, never really intended to come to the United States earlier in his career.
However, Brito began to consider making a late-career jump to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic as rodeos throughout Brazil were shut down and at the encouragement of his wife.
The 30-year-old arrived in the U.S. in March, and Brito has not shied away from admitting his first season in the PBR has featured a steep learning curve.
Brito went 4-for-19 before singing with Texas as a free agent following the 2022 PBR Team Series Draft, presented by ZipRecruiter, in May. The Potirendaba, Brazil, native then struggled for the Rattlers, going a dismal 2-for-13 until the regular-season finale.
So, what was the change?
“I had tried to change from what I was in Brazil, and it did not work,” Brito, who also struggled with a hand injury during PBR Teams, admitted. “I decided to go back to how I ride in Brazil and that has helped.”
If Brito can ride like he did in Glendale, then the red-hot Rattlers are going to be that much more dangerous at the PBR Team Series Championship in Las Vegas on Nov. 4-6.
The Rattlers 10-game win streak to end the regular season helped them clinch the No. 2 seed, and a first-round bye. Therefore, Texas, as well as No. 1 Austin, will be scoreboard watching on Friday night (Nov. 4) in Vegas, anxiously awaiting to see which opponent they will face in the second round on Saturday (Nov. 5).
“I am very, very happy because I was not riding good the past four weeks, and now I say, ‘Thank you God. Praise the Lord,’ and I stayed on all three of my bulls to help the team. I thank Ednei, Joao (Ricardo Vieira) and Cody Lambert for thinking I could help the team.”
Lambert said seeing his rider express so much emotion is something he is proud of. The PBR co-founder says it is pretty crucial for his riders to have a passion for the sport.
“It is really important,” Lambert said. “They have to want to be there. This is his first time to come over here and it was a little adjustment. He struggled with his confidence, and he had a hand injury and he struggled a little bit with that. He is back to feeling good and his confidence is high. He is a real bull rider. He is a competitor.”
JRV says Texas is ready for the PBR Team Series Championship
Texas had three of its riders compete at this past weekend’s Robson Palermo PBR Challenger Series event in Tyler, Texas. Brito and Daniel Keeping each bucked off, while Joao Ricardo Vieira went 1-for-2, including a Round 1-winning ride of 89 points aboard Latch Party.
Prior to his 3.47-second buckoff against Kingdom in the championship round, Vieira had ridden eight consecutive bulls at all levels of competition.
The 38-year-old has turned around his season for Texas, which has been a huge boost for the Rattlers. Vieira finished the regular season 10-for-19 after beginning the Teams campaign 3-for-12. Vieira’s 91.75-point ride on I’m Legit Too during the Ridge Rider Days Bonus Round was an emphatic statement that he is ready to help lead his team in Las Vegas.
“I love this, and I never questioned myself,” Vieira said. “It is important for me to help my team. My team is so tough. I like to see the young guys riding so good too. Cody Lambert is a little hard to ride for, but it is a good thing. He works hard too. God makes good plans for him and (assistant coach) Cade (Swor). I am so happy to work for these guys and do my job. Me, Ednei – the old guys – we try to help the younger guys. Cody is the boss, but sometimes me and Ednei will try to help the young guys to stay better. They need to come to Vegas, have fun and ride bulls. No need to think about any pressure.”
Article Courtesy of PBR
Photo By Andy Watson/ Bull Stock Media