SYDNEY, Australia – Team Brazil coach Renato Nunes stood outside his team’s locker room in the moments after Team Brazil hung on for a dramatic victory at the Sydney Global Cup.
Nunes expected Team Brazil to ride their bulls and have a shot at victory, but he wasn’t expecting Team USA to buck off their final three bulls on Sunday night.
The 2010 World Champion hid nothing while discussing Team Brazil’s first international bull riding victory in eight years.
With all due respect to Team Australia and Team Canada, Team Brazil expected Team USA – the defending Global Cup champions – to be their stiffest competition because of the Americans ability to earn high, individual ride scores.
Nunes kept glancing up at the jumbotron on Sunday evening inside Qudos Bank Arena waiting for the American haymaker’s home run ride to come.
It is why when 2016 PBR World Champion Cooper Davis was bucked off by SweetPro’s Palooka in 5.04 seconds during Team USA’s final Bonus Ride attempt of the weekend that Team Brazil briefly celebrated on the back of the bucking chutes.
Team USA failed to get a necessary 12th ride, which allowed Brazil to stay in the No. 1 position.
“America had four riders to go and they needed just two to score,” Nunes said. “And I was pretty sure they’re not going to fall off three bulls. And they did. We won just because they got bucked off. That’s why we won. I’m surprised because the champion in ’16, Cooper (Davis) should have never gotten bucked off that bull. And I don’t know what happened. That’s why we won.”
Brennon Eldred had ridden Super Natural for 84.25 points to get Team USA within one qualified ride of Team Brazil, but Cody Nance and Davis couldn’t come through in the Bonus Round.
“We rode good, but the rules, only 12 can score,” Nunes said. “We stay on more bulls, but the way the rules are doesn’t work for us anymore. It worked only if they got bucked off.”
The event winner at the Sydney Global Cup was based off a team’s best 12 rides, not the total number of qualified rides accumulated.
Brazil wound up barely defeating Team Australia by 0.75 points with their 12-best rides totaling 1,006.5 points.
Nathan Burtenshaw and Team Australia thought they had the victory when Burtenshaw ended the night with a qualified ride aboard SweetPro’s Enemies Everywhere.
However, Burtenshaw only earned 84.75 points and needed 85.75 points for the event victory.
Team Australia’s top 12 rides equated to 1,005.75 points. Team Canada placed third with 986.75 points.
Brazil went a sensational 15-for-18 overall during the two-night event.
Leading the way for Team Brazil was Kaique Pacheco (4-for-4), Luciano de Castro (3-for-3), Jose Vitor Leme (2-for-3), Claudio Montanha Jr. (2-for-2), Eduardo Aparecido (2-for-2), Ramon de Lima (1-for-2) and Dener Barbosa (1-for-2).
Alternate Guilherme Marchi also contributed as an assistant coach.
“I did nothing, they did everything,” Nunes. “But I’m so happy for them because it’s so hard to win. All the riders were pretty good – America, Canada, Australia. Mexico was down a little bit, but they worked hard.
“Brazil worked very hard and we just needed to stay on. When we don’t, America beats our guys.”
Marchi added, “I feel proud too. I know I didn’t ride this week, but I told these guys I am part of the team and I will do everything I can to help the team. We never seen the bulls before. We had to watch videos and stuff like that. It is hard, but those young kids have a lot of potential. They don’t care what bull they draw.”
Nunes went on to say the Sydney Global Cup was the hardest international event for Brazil to win because of the 12-ride format.
The team couldn’t simply bank on racking up qualified rides.
Therefore, Nunes made sure to accept both of the team’s re-ride options over the weekend.
The two re-rides were the difference makers for Team Brazil too.
Jose Vitor Leme improved a 78.75 score to 84 points on Saturday, while Claudio Montanha Jr. changed 76 points to 85.5 points.
“We were going to take any re-rides we were given because we needed the highest scores,” Nunes said.
Montanha was close to a loss of words following the victory.
“This is very hard to describe,” Montanha said with the help of Marchi translating. “I am very proud to be here and ride for Team Brazil. We draw good bulls today and the scores were very close between all the teams. We tried hard all the time. We had teamwork and I am very happy.”
It was sweet redemption for Brazil after coming up a ride shy in Edmonton and underperforming.
“We were looking forward (to this) because they lost in Canada and stuff,” Nune said. “I’m so happy for them.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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