BILLINGS — If you've watched any of the PBR's Unleash the Beast tour, you'll notice a ton of Brazilians among the top bull riders in the world, including No. 1 Kaique Pacheco and No. 2 Jose Vitor Leme.
We know Brazil has super soccer teams, but why did bull riding take off?
"I think because our regular wages weren't very good to work at the regular jobs," said Paolo Crimber, a Brazilian native and current coach of the Arizona Ridge Riders for the PBR's Team Series. "We don't have a lot of opportunities to make a good living doing something else.
"Bull riding or soccer is something we always grew up doing — playing soccer in the streets. If you go to Brazil today, you can probably get 100 pretty decent riders. Probably 20 bad-asses and the rest pretty decent riders."
Crimber serves as a Portuguese translator for the Brazilian riders, but his impact is even greater away from the arena, as he helps them adjust to life in the United States upon their arrival in Decatur, Texas. Decatur has become home to several of the best Brazilian bull riders in recent years.
"I think the fact I show them how everything works, and tell them about their bulls or just make them feel comfortable and they know they have someone to rely on if anything happens. That gives them a better mindset. But I don't take any credit for those guys. They're really good at it. We don't have a second plan. That's it."
When Crimber came over to ride bulls in 1998, life was a bit different on tour. Now, Crimber says, guys can get acclimated pretty quickly.
"It's not really difficult at all right now. With the teams coming up last year, Sandro (Batista) is one of the guys I picked last year for our team, the Arizona Ridge Riders. It was the first Brazilian ever to step foot in America with a sports Visa in hand and he had a thousand dollars cash waiting for him to go bull riding, and somebody to take him," Crimber said.
Brazil certainly has and will continue to leave its mark on the PBR.