GLENDALE, Ariz. – Lucas Divino used a 3-for-3 performance at the Ak-Chin Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, to plant the first seed of what he hopes will be a plentiful harvest later this year.
The 25-year-old had bucked off seven consecutive bulls at all levels of competition before erupting with his first three rides of 2019 this weekend at Gila River Arena.
Divino finished a career-best third overall and picked up 320 points toward the world standings.
“It is hard to explain because these are the best riders and best bulls in the world,” Divino said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “But you can’t harvest if you do not plant. I planted it, and I am going to harvest it.”
Divino entered the championship round with the second pick of the championship round draft.
The rookie selected Big City and would convert aboard the bovine athlete. The problem for Divino was that he only recorded a ride score of 83.5 points.
The score was .75 points shy of defeating Joao Ricardo Vieira for the victory.
“It is hard,” Divino said. “You cannot control that. They are animals, but I am happy for Joao because we are buddies. I believe my win is close to coming.”
Divino began his weekend with 86.5 points on Cowboy’s Red River on Saturday night before beginning Sunday’s matinee with 84.5 points on Red Man.
“I am very happy because I had a big dream for this moment,” Divino said with the help of Emilio Resende translating on Saturday. “This is a big opportunity to ride the best bulls in the PBR. I have dreamed of one day riding these bulls.”
Jose Vitor Leme (2-for-3, 380 world points) finished second in the event. Rounding out the Top 5 behind Vieira, Leme and Divino was Claudio Montanha Jr. (2-for-2, 155 world points) and Rubens Barbosa (2-for-3, 155 world points)
Divino was bucked off by Sidewinder in 4.39 seconds during the 15/15 Bucking Battle in his national television debut during the special bonus round of competition.
The Nova Crixas, Brazil, bull rider competed in 11 premier series events in 2018 and went 9-for-26.
The runner-up to Leme in the 2017 PBR Brazil championship race arrived in the United States last year with plenty of potential.
Like Leme, Divino got a late start to bull riding having not gotten on a bull until he was 16 years old. In 2014, he was named the Circuito Rancho Primavera Rookie of the Year at 20 years old.
Regardless, Divino failed to qualify for the 2018 PBR World Finals and concluded 2018 ranked 48th in the world standings.
Divino now heads into the Sacramento Invitational next weekend tied with Vieira for sixth in the world standings. He and Vieira trail world No. 1 Jess Lockwood by 1,307.5 points.
“I appreciate every opportunity I have,” Divino said. “This moment feels normal. All time I prepare for this.”
Divino has already committed to remaining in the United States until the end of the 2019 PBR World Finals.
He is going to make sure he does all he can to earn his first World Finals qualification come November.
“2019 will be real better than 2018 was,” he concluded. “I will not go back to Brazil for the break because last year I went back and when I come back I did not ride as well. I missed my family. It was a different deal. Right now, I focus on only here.
“Every second and every moment matters. I will be ready for the rankest ones.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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