Aparecido ready to seize the moment, step into the limelight at World Finals (2024)

The grizzled veteran of the world title race, No. 4 Eduardo Aparecido is having his best season since 2017.

PUEBLO, Colo. – In a season of big wins and even bigger personalities,Eduardo Aparecidohas flown pretty under the radar.

But the 33-year-old veteran has quietly put together one of the best seasons – potentially the best season – of his career. Ranked No. 4 in the Unleash The Beast World Championship standings, Aparecido is 594.33 points behind No. 1Cassio Diasand just 33.83 points behind No. 2John Crimber.

The 2024 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast will also be his 13thWorld Finals.

“Every Finals is different,” Aparecido said, with Bruno Zecchin translating. “I’m very grateful to be there because it’s an incarnation of a good season. There were some seasons I had highs and lows, but I was able to make it to the Finals. And I’m very happy to be there once more and happy to have achieved this goal in my life because I’m making it to the Finals every year.”

Aparecido made his premier series debut in 2013. Since then, he’s finished in the Top 10 five times, getting as high as No. 4 in 2017. After a No. 10 finish in 2018, he dropped to No. 23 in 2019, No. 12 in 2020, and a disastrous No. 27 in 2021.

That season, he says, was his wakeup call.

At the 2021 PBR World Finals, he failed to ride any of the four bulls he attempted and didn’t qualify for Championship Sunday.

“After 2021, I made some reflections and changed some things in my life,” Aparecido said. “It made me stop everything and start thinking about my life, my career, and I made some decisions, like to get closer to God and stop listening to the voices around me. PBR never saw me as a good rider. They never paid attention to me like I was one of the riders who could win a world title. I made 300 rides, and nobody said anything about it. I’m not bragging about it, I’m not asking for attention, but this is something that – you do your job, and the people around you aren’t seeing what you’re doing, and I felt bad about it. But I decided not to focus on people, not to focus on what people were saying, but to focus on God, my family, and my career, my job.”

These changes began paying off. He was back up to the No. 14 rank in 2022 and No. 11 in 2023, helped that season by his first event win in five years.

“After five years without winning any event, I was able to win in Washington, and it was a reflection of the decision I made in 2021 to stop hearing people, stopping seeing what they’re doing, what they’re saying, and focusing on God, being close to God and to my family, and working harder,” Aparecido said. “And now I’m enjoying my time.”

Eduardo Aparecido: All Grit, No Quit! 89.25 Winning Ride on Flyin Wired in Billings

Eduardo Aparecido rides Flyin Wired for 89.25 points in the Championship Round of the 2024 PBR Unleash the Beast Season Wrangler PBR Billings Presented By Cooper Tires in Billings, MT

That brings us to 2024. The season has been dominated by talk of a historic rookie class, led by Dias and Crimber atop the standings, but Aparecido has more than kept up. Earlier this season, he spent time in the No. 2 spot in the standings and won two events – Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Billings, Montana. He’s 28-for-62 (45%) this season with two 90-point rides and six round wins.

“The word that describes my feelings is gratitude to God, because when I was five years without winning an event, it was God that helped me and gave me courage and strength to keep going,” Aparecido said. “When I won Albuquerque, it was very huge for me, and I’m very grateful for it because I won second for two or three years. So almost there, but never won it. And when I did it, I was like, ‘Okay, thank God, now I know that you’re helping me. I know you’re here.’ I’m very grateful.”

Aparecido’s strong performance this season also has him within reach of a huge career landmark – 400 premier series qualified rides. Currently at 391, he’ll become just the ninth rider in PBR history to join the 400 club.

“It’s an important achievement because it’s not easy to ride bulls here, and being around the guys that were able to ride so many bulls is very good for me,” he said. “When I see this number, I know that I did a good job. I’m going to ride some bulls during the Finals and maybe have the next two or three bulls for next year so I can achieve this goal.”

All of this has meant that he’s back in the hunt for a world title. He’ll square off against Dias, Crimber, No. 3Dalton Kaseland No. 5Alan de Souza– who’s just 43 points behind – when the World Finals kicks off with Eliminations on May 9-12 at Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas.

RELATED:World Finals 101: Everything you need to know about the new format

As the veteran of the pack, Aparecido knows he’s a member of the old guard of the PBR. But with age comes experience, and he’s ready to show the kids how to do it

Aparecido ready to seize the moment, step into the limelight at World Finals (2)

“When the true cowboy dies inside of me, I’ll stop riding. I want to be a true cowboy to the end,” Aparecido said. “I respect the new guys. I saw John Crimber when he was a child. I saw Cassio when he was like 12, 11 years old starting in the rodeos. And I know they’re very good riders, and I know that I need to work harder than them because I’m older, but I feel the same. I feel part of the same team, a very good rider, and I know that I have potential to be among them. When you are a kid, when you’re younger, everything is a party for you. You ride, and you just want to be happy. But for me now, it’s a lot different. This is a very hard job that I need to be focused, and my family depends on it. So it’s different. I don’t want just to enjoy it or just to be happy, but I want to win because I’m focused, and I need it.”

While Cowtown Coliseum hasn’t been the friendliest venue to Aparecido, AT&T Stadium, home of the Championship Rounds on May 18-19, has – it’s where he won Iron Cowboy in 2017 and competed for Team Brazil at two Global Cups.

No matter what his competitors are doing, Aparecido is prepared for battle.

“I’m ready to win,” Aparecido said. “I’m ready for this title. I know that Cassio, John, Dalton, they’re ready, too. They’re riding good, and it’s a pleasure for me riding with them to the same level, but I’m ready for it. I keep working harder. Even after I win an event, I work harder because I know it’s never enough, and I want to be better every time. So even though I won the event last weekend, the next weekend, I’ll be even better than I was the last one, working harder as a winner. I don’t know if I’m going to win or not, but I’m ready to win.”

Photo courtesy of Josh Homer/Bull Stock Media

Aparecido ready to seize the moment, step into the limelight at World Finals (2024)
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