DENVER – Wallace de Oliveira isn’t wasting any time getting himself in the right frame of mind ahead of the Chicago Invitational this weekend.
Two years after Oliveira won his only career premier series event in the Windy City, Oliveira will head back to Chicago on Saturday night with plenty of momentum under his belt.
Oliveira went 3-for-3 to win the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Denver PBR Chute Out at the National Western Stock Show this week. The 38-year-old earned the victory Wednesday night by riding Juma for 86.5 points in the championship round before the final seven riders all bucked off.
“I had good bulls this week in Colorado,” Oliveira said. “This is good for my mentality. For weeks, my mentality was not good. I had ridden no bulls this year in PBR. I bucked off, bucked off, bucked off. Now I am ready.”
Oliveira had bucked off his first 11 bulls of the 2018 season before riding Striker for 76.5 points on Monday night. Oliveira turned down his re-ride option knowing his qualified ride would advance him to Wednesday finale.
The Goiania, Brazil, bull rider knew he would need another score on Wednesday to advance to the championship round and he did just that by riding Back in Black for 86.5 points in Round 2.
Oliveira earned 125 points toward the world standings, as well as an invite to the WinStar World Casino & Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki, on Feb. 24.
“Good,” Oliveira said. “I needed points. I had none so far this year.”
Chase Robbins won the championship round with 88 points on Bearded Paradise to finish the week 3-for-3 and in second place. Robbins earned 70 world points.
Zane Cook (2-for-3) finished in third after riding Monte Walsh for 87 points in the championship round. Cook leaves Denver with 40 world points.
Winston Lopez was leading the event heading into the championship round after riding Bull Express for 87.5 points in Round 2.
“I always do better on them bigger bulls,” Lopez said following Round 2. “I feel there is more to get ahold of. They are still fast and athletic, but I don’t know. There is something about being Western.”
Lopez then bucked off Something Magical in 2.68 seconds in the championship round to finish Denver in fourth place (20 world points).
Round 1 winner Paulo Lima was no match against his re-ride Chute Boss (4.68 seconds) on the final ride of the night and rounded out the Top 5 for 15 world points.
Aaron Williams won Round 2 with 88 points on Mac’s Barbeque but had to withdraw from the championship round because of a right knee injury.
Oliveira’s focus now shifts to Chicago where he is going to make his season debut on the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast Series this weekend after an injury plagued 2017.
Oliveira, who is competing in Chicago with the first of his four injury exemptions, first had to get surgery on his broken clavicle following the season-opener in New York. Two months later, Oliveira then tore his groin in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, at a Touring Pro Division event.
He would return for three June Velocity Tour events before undergoing surgery in Brazil for a sports hernia.
Oliveira then went 0-for-4 at the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Finals.
“I am 100 percent now and am ready for this year,” Oliveira said. “This weekend I go to Chicago. This is good practice for me to get more consistent and be ready for Chicago.”
Oliveira’s victory in Chicago two years ago spearheaded him toward the best season of his career. He finished 2016 13th in the world standings after going 21-for-80 (26.25 percent) with five Top-5 finishes and seven Top-10s.
He will be the second oldest rider in Chicago alongside fellow 38-year-old Valdiron de Oliveira. Wallace is five days younger than Valdiron, but that doesn’t mean he has any plans on retiring after this year.
Wallace’s only plan is qualifying for the PBR World Finals and finishing inside the Top 35 for a second time.
“I will not retire,” he concluded. “I think I can ride three to four more years.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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