NAMPA - Fabiano Vieira had to sweat it out a few extra seconds, but he was crowned the champion Saturday night at the Professional Bull Riders' DEWALT Guaranteed Tough Invitational.
Vieira tied for the best score Friday with an 87.5, then notched an 86.5 in Saturday's second round to go into the 10-man championship round on top with a 174. Vieira then awaited a replay to see if he slapped the bull on his final ride with his free hand - but it turned out he didn't.
Vieira had an impressive ride of 88.5 for a three-round score of 262.5 and his second win of 2013.
"I knew I had a real good bull (Nitro Carillo Cartel). I had rode that bull before and was 100 percent confident to cover that bull,'' Vieira said through fellow Brazilian Guilherme Marchi, who translated for the 30-year-old.
Vieira was one of only three riders to complete an 8-second ride on all three bulls he faced Friday and Saturday - Cody Nance (261.5) took second, while two-time defending world champion Silvano Alves, who won in Nampa in 2010, was third.
Nance held the lead with an 88.5 of his own before Vieira's ride, but was hardly let down after coming close to the win.
"I'm not worried about it. As far as I'm concerned we both came out on top because we gave it our all,'' Nance said. " For us to sit here and be mad or upset because we lost by one point, that's selfish''
After the completion of the Nampa event, three of the top four riders on the PBR tour are Vieira's fellow countrymen - Alves (first), Marco Eguchi (third) and Joao Ricardo Vieira (fourth).
"The dedication, the talent - we practice together during the week and it makes us stronger,'' Vieira said. "When you come to an event like this you need to come with 100 percent (effort).''
Four of the past five world champions on the PBR tour have come from Brazil - Alves, Renato Nunes (2010) and Marchi (2008).
"It has become very popular recently to be a bull rider in Brazil, and there are some very talented young riders who are able to watch us - and they'll probably be better,'' Marchi said.
MORE USING HELMETS
On the first ride Saturday, Brendon Clark suffered a bit of bad luck - Bellagio bucked him off and landed sideways on Clark's head.
There was a bit of good luck, too - Clark was wearing a helmet.
About 75 percent of the PBR pros wear helmets, a change from a decade ago when only a few chose to do so. Helmets are not mandatory in the PBR.
"When I started riding, no one had them, and there are times like that when I wish I wore one,'' said Marchi, who does not wear a helmet and rode immediately after Clark. "When my son starts bull riding, he'll wear one.''
Said Nathan Schaper, a 22-year-old in his second year: "I've had one ever since I started riding junior bulls when I was 14 - your head is nothing to mess around with.''
Dave Southorn: 377-6420