PUEBLO, Colo. – The reigning two-time PBR World Champion.
The 2018 PBR World Champion.
One of only two three-time World Champions in PBR history.
A perennial world title contender and the No. 2-ranked bull rider in the world.
The 2016 PBR Brazil champion and No. 9 bull rider in the world.
The Team Brazil roster for Saturday night’s PBR Global Cup USA, presented by Monster Energy, is a stacked lineup featuring some of the best bull riders in the world regardless of where they are from.
No other competing nation has a PBR World Champion on its roster. No team can rival the years of experience Team Brazil will bring to the table when it comes to competing against American-caliber bulls.
Jose Vitor Leme, Kaique Pacheco, Silvano Alves, Joao Ricardo Vieira and Dener Barbosa is an extremely talented group who will climb inside the bucking chutes at AT&T Stadium for the fifth rendition of the Global Cup.
“We know what we have,” Leme said in Little Rock, Arkansas, prior to winning the PBR Bad Boy Mowers Mowdown. “We know we have the cowboys to win. We have the ability to win. We have good riders to win Global Cup. We know this. We have proved a lot to everybody. Every one of us on the team has something special to talk about. Like I said, we have a great team. This is a special group. We are the favorite team to win. We have a lot of experience.”
Leme, though, understands that gold buckles on individual resumes or a talented roster do not guarantee Global Cup success.
Team Brazil has won two Global Cup titles (2018 in Sydney and 2019 in Arlington, Texas), but they also have had extremely talented rosters wind up short of victory in Edmonton (2017) and at the last Global Cup in Arlington in 2020.
The current world No. 4 went 3-for-4 at the 2020 PBR Global Cup USA, taking first place overall in the individual aggregate, but it was not enough to help lead Team Brazil past a stout American squad.
Team Brazil placed third overall, but it was only one qualified ride behind the Team USA Eagles.
“It was sadness, for sure,” Leme said. “That was not a big difference from the team who won. They did not have that big difference from us. If we ride one bull, everything would have changed. We were so close, and we lost. The most important goal for us is to win the Global Cup. That is why we were there. I think it is the most important thing.”
The Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil, native has been a part of two victorious Global Cup teams (2018 in Sydney & 2019 in Arlington) and is 9-for-15 (60%) with two 90-point rides.
Team Brazil coach Robson Palermo was the head coach in Edmonton and an assistant coach in 2020. Palermo said he believes this year’s team will communicate better with each other and is a perfect group.
“Well, those last two I was there, and it didn’t go as well like I planned to,” Palermo says in a PBR Global Cup show airing on RidePass on Pluto TV. “This time, I have a perfect team. All those guys are fresh and are good. Some young guys. Some old guys. I have been talking to those guys. The last two times I was there, I didn’t communicate right. We didn’t talk as a team. This one is going to be a really good team.”
Every team has to earn the victory at the toughest international team bull riding competition, and 2018 World Champion Kaique Pacheco said Team Brazil can only do its best and then see how things play out.
The 2022 Global Cup is a one-day event unlike past years and will feature a new format.
The competition will feature two rounds of competition, where three riders from each team will attempt one bull. Throughout those rounds, every rider from each team must attempt a minimum of one bull.
Each team’s head coach will be able to match up their riders with a bull in their randomly drawn bullpen (three bulls in Round 1 & 2).
“I am going to be different this year,” Palermo said. ‘Past years, I let the team pick, and those guys will try to pick the easy bulls to get on. This time, I will pick which bulls will be better for each guy, and if the guys don’t like it, they are going to ride them anyways. I am the coach, and if I feel like a guy should get on a bull, he is going to get on the bull.”
Following the initial rounds, each team will select one rider to attempt the nation’s last bull in the bonus round. The 2022 PBR Global Cup USA Champion will be the team with the top combined score through its seven outs.
“This is one of our best teams,” Pacheco said. “All of our riders are good. We all have to do our best. For me, it is the same thing when I get on my bulls. It happens. You never win all the time. You always have to do your best. I try to do that. Sometimes you do your best and someone else can still be better.
“You can’t see the future. All we can do is try.”
One thing to watch with Team Brazil is if the individuals on the team who have struggled recently can break out of their respective slumps and return to their gold-buckle standards.
Yes, Leme won the most recent event in Little Rock, but the rest of the team has actually been riding below their normal levels and potential.
Pacheco is only 3-for-13 this season on the Unleash The Beast, and three-time World Champion Silvano Alves is 7-for-22 (31.82%).
Meanwhile, Vieira has fallen into a 1-for-10 slump on the premier series since winning the PBR Ariat Invitational in Milwaukee on Feb. 5.
Barbosa, though, could sneakily end up being one of Brazil’s secret weapons. The No. 9-ranked rider in the world ranks third in the PBR in qualified rides on the premier series (13).
“We just have to get good draws,” Leme said. “It all depends about that, too. You have to have good bulls, God willing.”
LEGENDARY WESTERN WEEKEND ON TAP
The 2022 PBR Global Cup USA kicks off The American legendary western weekend on March 5-6 at AT&T Stadium. Following the Global Cup on March 5, the top rodeo athletes in the world will compete at The American, which is the richest single-day event in Western sports with an event purse of $3 million, on March 6. GRAMMY Award-winning musicians Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will perform a live concert during The American.
All tickets for Sunday, March 6, include the live concert performance from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.
Leme will compete at The American Semi Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, on Wednesday night in hopes of qualifying for Friday’s American Contender Round. If he qualifies for the Contender Round, Leme could then try to advance to The American on Sunday at AT&T Stadium and make himself eligible for a potential $2 million event winner bonus.
“I don’t think about that money a lot yet, but it would be great if that happens,” Leme said. “I have had only one good appearance at The American. I have only made the Shoot Out round one time. Last year, I missed The American because I broke my ribs before. This year, it will be interesting.”
Article Courtesy of PBR
Photo By: Andy Watson / Bull Stock Media