Eduardo Aparecido captures opening round win in Cowtown Coliseum, assumes No. 2 rank

The 33-year-old veteran began his 13th World Finals appearance started in EPIC fashion!

James Youness | PBR

FORT WORTH, Texas – When No. 2 Eduardo Aparecido told’s Darci Miller he was ready earlier this week during a conference call, he wasn’t lying.

Casually qualifying for yet another trip to the PBR World Finals, the veteran has been here and done that.

RELATED: Aparecido ready to seize the moment, step into the limelight at World Finals

Ok, technically he hasn’t ridden inside of Cowtown Coliseum during a season-ending event before, but you get the point.

He’s decorated, he’s talented and he showed up in a BIG way Thursday night during the opening round of the 2024 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast – Eliminations.

Originally tasked with a head-to-head showdown against Last Resort, the 33-year-old was awarded a re-ride, which ended up working out in his favor quite well.

Like a Pro! Eduardo Aparecido Sets the Pace: Round 1 Victory on Down Payment

Eduardo Aparecido rides Down Payment for 87.75 points in Round 1 of the 2024 PBR World Finals: UTB Eliminations Rounds at Cowtown Coliseum in Ft. Worth, TX

Dancing with Down Payment to the 8 in epic fashion, the Brazilian showed just how dedicated he is in chasing down No. 1 Cassio Dias, now just 552.33 UTB points behind the rookie runaway after netting a welcome 88 points for his opening round win.

RELATED: Dias fulfilling a childhood dream as he competes at World Finals

“That was a good bull. I’m very happy to have a good start here. I’m ready for any bull that I get,” Aparecido shared following his win via translator Bruno Zecchin.

“The bull I got today was a good bull for me and I’m very happy to start well. It’s going to give me more confidence for the rest of the Finals.”

Met with an immense applause as he celebrated before the rowdy, Round 1 crowd, there was no hiding the smile on his face. He came to Fort Worth with one goal: Winning a world title.

And despite Dias knocking down his opening round matchup with an 86.75-point score aboard Sava during the final out of the night, he still managed to jump three spots in the Unleash The Beast World Championship standings.

Dreams Do Come True: Cassio Dias Rides to Glory Over Sava at 2024 PBR World Finals

Cassio Dias rides Sava for 86.75 points in Round 1 of the 2024 PBR World Finals: UTB Eliminations Rounds at Cowtown Coliseum in Ft. Worth, TX

The one man who came up to him during his post-event interview?

Dias, himself, who shook Aparecido’s hand and congratulated him despite being in the thick of one of the fiercest World Championship races yet.

RELATED: Cassio Dias ties for second in Round 1 of 2024 PBR World Finals – Eliminations to retain No. 1 rank

A peek behind the curtain of just how close these riders truly are.

Despite this weekend’s showcase representing his 13th trip to the World Finals stage, he admitted he still gets butterflies for the biggest event of the season.

“Yeah. I get nervous every time because it’s too alive inside of me,” he said as he tapped on his heart. “If I don’t feel anything, that’s because it’s dead inside of me, so (the spark) is very much alive in me and it makes me want to ride even more.”

Now 29-for-63 on the season, he’s racked up the third-most qualified rides of any cowboy on tour, trailing only Dias and No. 5 Alan de Souza, who also found himself in the ride column Thursday.

Grit and Guts: Alan de Souza Hangs Tough till the Buzzer

Alan de Souza rides Rip for 82.75 points in Round 1 of the 2024 PBR World Finals: UTB Eliminations Rounds at Cowtown Coliseum in Ft. Worth, TX

Able to block out the noise and get the job done, he left it up to the man upstairs once again in getting his weekend off to a hot start. Tapping his savior one more time by making the first overall selection in the bull draft (where riders decided their respective animal athletes for Friday night’s second round), he opted into a dance with Dark Thoughts.

“In my life, I trust in God and I believe in him. I believe in his purpose and I give it all to him and know that he has his best for me,” he shared.

“It was my first pick and I’m very confident that tomorrow will be a good day for me. I want to ride this bull to further my confidence and keep going.”

Wisely protected by his Arizona Ridge Riders‘ team during the PBR Teams Expansion Draft, he made Colby Yates and company look pretty wise in continuing to set em’ up and knock em’ down!

With the 15 top-ranked riders in the 2024 Unleash The Beast Championship standings following Sunday afternoon’s final Eliminations Round, alongside the Top 5 riders in the event aggregate (who aren’t already qualified) will successfully secure their spot at the final postseason stage (the 2024 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast – Championship), Aparecido has essentially already clinched his spot in the endgame shootout.

But if he hopes to surpass his fellow countryman en route to capturing what would be a career-first gold buckle, he’ll need to keep his hot streak going in the Fort Worth Stockyards as the pack prepares to run it back on night two, Friday, May 10.

Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media

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