GUYMON, Okla. – Two decades ago, Brazilian bull riding champion Adriano Moraes moved to the United States to test his skills against the best in the business.
He was an explorer, of sorts, and became the first of his countrymen to excel worldwide; he did so rapidly. He was the first Professional Bull Riders world champion ever crowned in 1994 – he added two more titles in 2001 and ’06.
He led the way for an influx of Brazilian talent into the PBR. Over the years, he has been joined by other Brazilian world champions: Ednei Caminhas in 2002, Guilherme Marchi in 2008, Renato Nunes in 2010 and Silvano Alves in 2011, ’12 and ’14.
There’s reason to believe there will be a strong Brazilian contingent heading to the Oklahoma Panhandle for the Kasey Hayes & Stormy Wing Invitational PBR BlueDEF Velocity Tour event, set for 8 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena in Guymon.
Now in its third year, Hayes is the defending champion. His runner-up from a year ago, Kaique Pacheco, stands as the No. 1 man in the PBR world standings. That not only says a lot for the talent that is expected to be in Texas County in July, but also for the type of event that takes place each summer.
The BlueDEF Velocity Tour is a minor league system in the PBR, but it also features the top bull riders in the game. While the championship race is decided on a points system, dollars earned at every level of the PBR help identify qualifiers for the PBR’s premier tour, the Built Ford Tough Series, and the world finals, which takes place in November in Las Vegas.
In the Guymon event’s inaugural run, Brazilian Fabiano Vieira claimed the championship, then went to the finals No. 2 in the standings. He earned $7,367 inside Hitch Arena.
Fabiano is a phenomenal bull rider, and he did what he does,” said Hayes, a six-time PBR World Finals qualifier from Liberal, Kan. “He’s a machine. He rides the bulls he gets on, and he wins.”
Last year, Hayes pocketed $9,725, which helped him earn his eighth qualification to the finale.
Derek Kolbaba of Walla Walla, Wash., leads the BlueDEF standings with more than $33,000 in earnings. The next five cowboys are all from Brazile: Paulo Lima, Marco Eguchi, Emilio Resende, Juliano Antonio Da Silva and Lindomar Lino.
“I think what we’ve got something good to offer the contestants, and it’s one I’d want to go to,” said Wing, a PBR World Finals qualifier from Dalhart, Texas. “With Kasey and I both being bull riders and living close to Guymon, I think it should be good.”