Eight seconds might not seem much. A child can hold their breath for more that that; a singer can hold a note for more than that; warming up a cup of milk in the microwave is certainly going to take more than that. This is not the case when one is riding a bull, though. Professional bull riders have to hold on to the beasts for eight seconds to overpower them. Considering that the bulls are seeing red, that the rider can only grab with one hand, and that they have to look presentable when riding, eight seconds stretch out into a small infinity.
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Riding bulls is a sport that takes heroism to practice. Among such heroes, Adriano Moraes stands out like a shooting star.
Adriano Moraes was born in 1970; he comes from Cachoeira Paulista, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. His father Aparecido Moraes worked as a ranch manager. Adriano was maturing with a view of following into his father’s footsteps (Flott par. 4-5). He confessed he had never planned to be a bull rider – and would probably never become one, if it were not for his father.
Although Adriano’s father has always been tough and barely got to know his own son, he played a significant part in his career. Aparecido Moraes took the boy to see his first rodeos, which is probably when the passion sprang up (Peter 250-265). As a result, the young man started to ride.
As soon as Adriano started riding at the age of 15, he loved it. He began to work on his skills, which led to his first professional rodeo two years later. The first and the subsequent ones, albeit small, brought him more than he could ever earn tractor-riding on the ranch. Consequently, shortly after his first success, he dropped out of the school to devote himself to bull riding.
1988-1989 were a turning point in Moraes’ career. In 1988, he got acquainted with a former PRCA champion Charlie Sampson. In 1989, he met his future wife Flavia. Encouraged by Sampson and supported by Flavia, Adriano won a few Brazilian championships and gained a reputation in his homeland. After that, he set it as a goal to win the U.S. bull riding arena. As a result, the couple moved to the U.S. in the late 1992 and settled in Texas (Peter 250-265).
The rider’s move to the U.S. was a landmark for his career to emerge. In 1994, he won the average at Calgary Stampede and NFR; he received the PBR in the same year as well. Notably enough, Moraes was the third in the whole of the bull riding history to buck up all ten bulls there were at the NFR (“Adriano Moraes” n.pag.). In 1996, Moraes won the average at the NFR the second time. The following year, he was aiming at winning his second world PBR when an accident shattered his career: in summer, he broke a leg.
As a consequence, his potential prizes were overtaken by other riders (Peter 145-150). Moraes dropped out of riding for the rest of 1997. The accident was followed by two years of bad luck, during which he seemed to take a deeper look into his inner world. He developed growing concerns about his spiritual life and got closer with his wife in Catholic faith. Whether it was Adriano’s spiritual life improved his riding experience is unknown. Yet, after the series of misfortunes, he managed to win his PBR in 2001 – the second one – and beat his own record in 2006 with a third golden buckle (Santos 58). Adriano’s 2001 success was a turning point for the PBR, which began expanding to encompass bull riding events in Brazil.
As a result of his emergence from the ashes, more and more Brazilians have gotten the opportunity to pull over to the American bull riding arena. After his third PBR world title, Adriano and Flavia got involved with Canção Nova Community in Brazil and went into social activism to promote Brazilian riders to the American arena. In 2008, amid the never-ending traumas and health issues, Moraes announced the end of his career. He rode his last bull named Gray Dog at PBR and got bucked off. He left the arena in tears but he was not done with.
The moment was emotional enough but, for Adriano, it only meant the end of his riding career. The people whom he and his wife helped and supported got the chance to emerge and shine: Ednei Caminhas, Guilherme Marchi, and Renato Nunes and many other Brazilian riders who would get no chance in the PBR if it were not for Adriano Moraes (“Adriano Moraes” n.pag.).
Consequently, and sadly enough, his career as a rider ended. On the other hand, Adriano Moraes still does good to his compatriots. Brazilian riders have firmly established themselves in the American PBR circuits, which can be regarded as Moraes’ main contribution to Brazilian and American bull riding as a whole.
“Adriano Moraes.” PBR: Professional Bull Riders. The Professional Bull Riders, n.d. Web.
Flott, Anthony. “World Champion Bull Rider Is ‘Cowboy of God’.” National Catholic Register. EWTN News, Inc. 2006. Web.
Santos, Kendra. “Sweeter the Second Time.” American Cowboy 8.5 (2002): 58-60. Print.
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Peter, Josh. Fried Twinkies, Buckle Bunnies, & Bull Riders: A Year Inside the Professional Bull Riders Tour. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Inc., 2006. Print.