Last Thursday (18): 30 walkers started the final of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) circuit at Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro de Barretos, which has been suspended for two years due to the pandemic. Only eight managed to stay eight seconds pinned to the bull, which is the time needed for the pin to be valid and allow the pawn to score.
What could be an isolated fact is something that has happened frequently in professional rodeos in the country. As a result of genetic improvement, the difficulty of climbing bulls increases.
If in the past the bulls were big and heavy, today they are shorter, exchange fat for muscle and are more slender. As well as more aggressive.
This is reflected in the performance in yards, which makes the escalation difficult to predict by making pedestrian work difficult, as well as in the financial value of the animals.
“Years ago the bulls were heavy, but they didn’t have a lot of genes. Today they are big because the food is better, they exercise and there is the genetics. They are big, but they have small legs, they are faster, they are agile, they are more powerful,” said Trobero Goto Baglione, who has worked with rodeo animals for 30 years in the company that bears his name which has 20 bulls selected at Festa do Peão de Barretos.
In 2019, the sale of the bull Reza a Linda for 520 thousand Brazilian reals was a record in the sector, but today there are animals with a market value that already exceeds 1 million Brazilian reals.
“They had already offered 1.3 million R$ and the owner did not want to sell. When it cost R$520,000, it was really ridiculous, but because of scarcity. If there were ten, it wouldn’t cost it”, says Adriano Moraes, Director of PBR Brazil , a three-time world champion in bull riding and this year’s Barreto Festival ambassador.
The development of genetics to achieve the perfect jumping bull began in Brazil about two decades ago, more than 30 years after the United States began investing in rodeo research, and results have begun to emerge with greater intensity in recent years.
Each animal resulting from in vitro fertilization weighs between 800 kg to 900 kg and the monthly maintenance cost – excluding veterinarians, animal breeders and handlers – is up to R$1,000.
Crossbreeding aimed at track performance is already the norm in American rodeos. Here, the base is an animal of the breed Nelore (zebu) crossed with a Dutchman or a simmental, for example.
“All the animals that show up in American PBR are genetic. Nobody tries it anymore. [touros comuns]It’s like it’s a different kind. “I think it will be like that very soon,” Moraes said.
Mr. Trobero, former US competitor and current rodeo commentator Andre Metzker, said the appreciation of the animals was great, with the daughter of a well-jumping bull sold at an auction he held for 33,000 Brazilian reals, nearly ten times more for his past.
“There has been great appreciation for the proven origin of genetics.”
Rodeo commentator Emilio Carlos de Santos, aka Kaka, the former president of Os Independentes, summed up a bull that took part in the ride at the Festa do Peão. He said about a bull demolished a pawn: “The weight of the elephant, the agility of the monkey.”
The seed that fights
With this revolutionary development, the role of the bulls, say those involved, is to invest in technical and physical training. “It has to be lighter and lighter, with sharper reflexes and, of course, with more precise technique,” Moraes said.
For Paglione, solving the bull tactic is critical to the competitors. “An animal is like a football player. It has a knack for doing a certain thing, like jumping to a certain side. It’s predisposed to act like that and it’s up to the pawn to get the information.”
Walkers are becoming more technical, Metzker said, and are also seeking support from professionals such as personal trainers and nutritionists.
But the bulls still have the upper hand in accelerating their performance in the ring.
In competition with good performances by the pawns, they managed on average to stop in just over 50% of mounts, an indicator that has been challenged in recent tests thanks to the animals’ progress.
Criticism of protection associations
In response to a question by animal protection societies, which refers to abuse in rodeo riding tests, Festa do Peão de Barretos in recent years has begun to disseminate information it considers “facts and lies” about rodeo.
Entities claim that the nebula (animal-related belt) and spur hurt animals and that there are many injuries to bulls.
Barretos claims that sedum is made of cotton and not tight enough to cause injury or pain, acting as a catalyst for the animal to jump. Also, according to the party, the infection rate is very low and the bumps are not severe.
The Festa do Peão de Barretos will be held until the 28th with over a hundred performances spread over five stages.
The Rodeo Arena will host, in addition to the final stage of the PBR, which ended on Sunday (21), the LNR (National Rodeo League) Finals 22-24 and 27, and the 28th Barretos International Rodeo, 25-28.
Tickets cost from 30 BRL to 370 BRL. And in open bar booths, it costs up front to R$3,490.
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