NEW YORK (January 4, 2008) – As he begins his 15th season on the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. circuit, legendary bull rider Adriano Moraes (Sao Paulo, Brazil) officially announced today that the 2008 Built Ford Tough Series season will be the last of his bull riding career.

“I feel that the only way I can go back to my old form is if I make this announcement,” said Moraes of his decision. “If I have three more years, I am not going to put the effort out. By announcing this is my last year, I’m not going to waste any time. It’s time for me to make the announcement so I will force myself to get good again.”

“It has nothing to do with my physical ability. I believe my physical ability and passion to ride bulls well is still there. The only thing is, I can no longer put out the effort,” Moraes said.

Moraes is the pre-eminent international ambassador for the PBR. He was the first PBR World Champion (1994) and the first bull rider to claim two PBR world titles (2001). In 2006, he won an unprecedented third PBR World Championship at the age of 36; he is the oldest bull rider on the PBR circuit, turning 38 in April 2008. But for a broken leg and a torn riding arm bicep that kept him from performing at his top form down the final stretch, Moraes could have claimed two additional titles; he finished second in 1997 and 2004. Moraes arrived in the United States speaking Portuguese with only the universal language of bull riding to assist him. He quickly gained notoriety inside and outside the arena with his fiery personality and bull riding style and amassed a fan base to rival any comparable professional athlete.

“Adriano is a true legend and has rewritten the history books on Professional Bull Riding,” said PBR CEO Randy Bernard. “He took a chance and flew over here from Brazil in the late 80’s not speaking any English, very poor, but with a passion for riding bulls. His ability along with his passion helped him become one of the greatest if not the greatest bull riders of all time.”

“This will be a very exciting year for Adriano. And, if you know Adriano, he’s going to definitely leave a mark this year no doubt. We will celebrate this year as his farewell tour and honor him at every city along the way,” Bernard added.

Eager to share the opportunities available to bull riders in the U.S., Moraes led the Brazilian charge to the U.S., acting as sponsor and mentor to many notable Brazilian riders – Ednei Caminhas (P. Alves, Sao Paulo, BZ) the 2002 PBR World Champion); Paulo Crimber (Leme, Sao Paulo, BZ) and his own brothers, Allan and Andre Moraes to name a few.

At one time as many as 10 top Built Ford Tough Series bull riders traveled from Brazil to the United States at Moraes’ urging. Moraes even captained the PBR Brazil Team to victory in 2007 at the inaugural PBR World Cup in Australia.

He’s the No. 2 all-time money earner winning over $3.4 million in his professional career. And, if he has anything to say about it, he’ll add another PBR World Champion million dollar bonus to that total by the end of 2008. He is second in total event titles, taking the No. 1 spot at 28 events over the years.

“He’s the most highly decorated bull rider of all time. I would not doubt he goes for one more World Title to finish his illustrious career,” said Bernard.

PBR Livestock Director and co-founder of the PBR, Cody Lambert remembers Moraes at the beginning of his PBR career. “I’ve known Adriano since the early 90’s when he first came to the United States and didn’t speak the language. It didn’t take long for everyone to see that he could ride with the best of them.”

“He’s won about everything you can win as far as a bull rider goes. When we had the first PBR Finals he was there. In the early years before the PBR is what it is today, he was there and he was the first PBR World Champion,” Lambert said. “In the couple of years that he competed in rodeos professionally he went to the National Finals [Rodeo] twice and rode 19 out of 20 bulls; he was the National Finals Champion both times.”

“He was also the first two-time PBR World Champion and he’s the only three-time World Champion. So when they talk about the all-time greats, he’s right up there at the top of the list,” Lambert added. “It’s fitting that there’s a statue of Adriano and Little Yellow Jacket in front of the PBR office in Pueblo, because they’re both three-time World Champions and they’re the greatest the sport has ever seen.”

The 2008 Built Ford Tough Series presented by Wrangler essentially will be the farewell season of Adriano’s professional career.

Emotionally Adriano states, “There will be 34 chances for me to say good-bye to all the fans that have been there over the years. I am very grateful for their support and I thank God for my ability to entertain them and myself for as long as I have.”

 
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