If there was a mercy rule in bull riding, it surely would have been employed on Sunday.
By the time Silvano Alves climbed aboard Yellow Jacket Jr. for his final ride of the PBR World Finals, it was obvious to everyone in the Thomas & Mack Center that the Brazilian cowboy was just minutes from being crowned the 2011 series world champion.
Despite holding a huge lead, Alves did not disappoint the large crowd in attendance or the national television audience. He managed to hang on for the required 8 seconds, scoring 92.25 points to put an exclamation point on the highlight of his two-year career.
"That was a really hard-bucking bull," said the 23-year-old Alves, the 2010 rookie of the year. "He broke away from my hand, which makes it more difficult to ride him. It took all my knowledge to stay on his back, but I knew I had to ride him today, so I did."
The champion finished his season with 15,792 points, followed by countrymen Robson Palermo (13,085.75) and Valdiron Oliveira (12,450).
Alves had two strong rides Sunday, as he also rode Big Iron in Round 5 to finish the qualifying rounds with an 88.25-point performance.
The rides capped an impressive season in which he compiled three wins and 15 top-five finishes while completing 68 rides in 99 attempts
"I'm really pleased with the outcome," said Alves, a resident of Decatur, Texas. "I'm really emotional. I'm just so happy to be here."
The mild-mannered cowboy expressed a desire to win at least four world championships.
"All I can say is I'm going to try to do it again," said Alves, who attributed much of his success to the fact that he never was injured this season. "I plan to just keep doing what I've been doing."
Though Alves made his post-event comments through an interpreter, he did manage to flaunt limited English when presented with the championship check.
"I love $1 million," he said.
Alves was not the only winner of the afternoon, as Palermo rallied to win the World Finals event title with 446.25 points.
"I'm so proud to be here," said Palermo, who rode five of the six bulls he faced this week. "I had a wonderful week. I was bucked off one bull, but I rode the rest."
The week was particularly rough on Palermo, who is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery on Thursday.
"My shoulder bothered me, but I tried my hardest and gave it everything I had," said the two-time World Finals event winner. "But right now, I don't feel nothing."
Palermo entered the day in third place, but his 93.25-point ride on King of Hearts in the championship round put him over the top and helped him claim the $250,000 event purse.
Brazilian Rubens Barbosa was the series' rookie of the year.
The bulls also were recognized after the event, with Bushwacker claiming bull of the year honors.
Bushwacker bucked off J.B. Mauney in just over 3 seconds Saturday to finish a perfect season in which he did not allow a ride in 14 attempts.