Path to Victory: Vieira is Fourth Oldest All Time to Win Premier Series Event

Fabiano Vieira Fabiano Vieira Photo by

Fabiano Vieira received a few phone calls to go get on some practice bulls over the past few weeks when the PBR was on hiatus because of the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide.
The longtime veteran, though, politely turned down the opportunity. Not only did he want to continue to social distance at home with his family, he also does not see the need to get on bulls every day like he used to during his younger years.

At 37 years old, Vieira has earned over $1.8 million in his career since moving to the United States 10 years ago, and he has done so despite riding for half of that time with two unstable shoulders that only continued to deteriorate. (Vieira did finally get reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder last season).
Therefore, the idea of putting himself in harm’s way in the practice pen never seems like a great idea to the eight-time World Finals qualifier at this point in his career.
“Marco (Eguchi) told me last week go get on a bull. Go ride bulls before you come to an event,” Vieira said during his three-hour drive home to Decatur, Texas, following his victory at the PBR Las Vegas Invitational, presented by Union Home Mortgage. “I said, ‘No. I am good. I am not going to get on. I am just going to ride at the event. I am too old to be riding every day.’”
Vieira became the fourth oldest bull rider in PBR history to win a premier series event when he rode Bullseye for 89.5 points during the championship round at the Lazy E Arena, capping his perfect 3-for-3 weekend.  
The Perola, Brazil, native is 37 years and 8 months old.
Gary Richard owns the PBR record with a victory in St. Louis when he was 39 years old. Three-time World Champion Adriano Moraes was 38 when he was victorious in Chicago in 2008.
1998 World Champion Troy Dunn ranks No. 3 with his win in Fresno, California, in 2005. He was 37 years and 9 months old at the time.
“This is nice,” Vieira said of his accomplishment with a big laugh.
Vieira’s victory comes almost two years to the day since he last won on April 29, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio, with a 90.75-point ride on Big Black.
Coincidentally, Vieira’s victory came a day before the 12-year anniversary of Moraes winning the premier series event in Chicago when he was 38 years old.
Moraes finished his final season in 2008 24th in the world standings.
Vieira will turn 38 in July, and he is going to continue to pursue a world title despite what Father Time may say.
Moraes is the oldest World Champion in PBR history with his 2006 title that he won at 36 years old.
Vieira earned 104 points toward the world standings, and moved up to No. 9 in the world standings with his 15th career victory after failing to qualify for the World Finals last year for the first time since 2010.
He trails world leader Jose Vitor Leme by 409.5 points ahead of the next Unleash The Beast event in Guthrie, Oklahoma, on May 9-10. This event will also be closed to the public, but it will stream on RidePass and CBS Sports Network.
“I don’t know,” Vieira said. “I am riding every year for a world title, and I think this year I am just starting to ride good. This is my mentality.”
Vieira missed the majority of 2019 recovering from reconstructive right shoulder surgery after adamantly refusing to undergo surgery for five years on either of his chronically unstable shoulders.
The jovial Vieira, who was caught dancing by himself in the stands this weekend, is 13-for-28 (46.43%) in nine events and has posted a qualified ride in four straight events. Vieira also is a perfect 5-for-5 on the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour with two victories.
Vieira started his weekend off with 87.25 points on Uncle Gangster in Round 1 before taking over the event lead in Round 2 via an 86-point effort on Flight Risk.
Fans almost had the opportunity to see Vieira attempt to ride three-time World Champion SweetPro’s Bruiser in the championship round, but Vieira opted instead to select Bullseye with the first pick of the draft.
“I was going to pick Bruiser or Bullseye,” Vieira explained. “He spin left, and I had seen Dener (Barbosa) ride him good. He is a good bull.”
Barbosa won the previous Unleash The Beast event with his 91-point ride on Bullseye in Duluth, Georgia, last month.
“He still got it,” two-time World Champion Justin McBride said on CBS Sports Network. “And he did it with style. “Really all weekend long. This (bull) is wanting to get pretty strong toward the end and kind of snap him up, but I loved how all weekend long, you watch his head, you watch his focus, it is always dialed in on the bull. Fabiano just put on a clinic on three really good bulls this weekend.”
Vieira, who became the 18th rider in PBR history to surpass 300 rides on the premier series this weekend, did land on his left elbow following his ride, so he was looking forward to the mini break coming up.
“I hurt a little bit my left shoulder,” Vieira said. “I put my elbow down when I hit the ground and I hurt my shoulder a little bit. It is good I have two weeks.”
This weekend’s Unleash The Beast event was held in a private environment under strict health protocols, and it was optional for all riders, staff and workers.
Vieira said he was comfortable riding in the environment and expressed his gratitude for the precautions the PBR took to make the event happen.
“The guys I stayed together with here, we take care of everything,” Vieira said of his social distancing group. “We used (hand sanitizer). We wear gloves. Masks. We were careful.”
Vieira also explained that he will continue to take extra precautions at home to avoid contracting the coronavirus.
“I have just stayed at my house,” he said of how he has approached life during the coronavirus outbreak. “I just try to save my life because I was scared of this coronavirus. I just have been at home roping every day.”

By Justin Felisko/