Deanna and I spent last Saturday and Sunday at the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Finals in Fort Worth, Texas. Deanna’s sisters Donna and Debbie and Debbie’s husband Ron went with us. We always have a great time – no matter where we are.

As I said last week, 22-year-old Cassio Dias from Brazil has had a phenomenal rookie year. He went into the PBR Finals with a 560 point lead over 18-year-old rookie John Crimber. It did not look like Crimber or anyone else would be able to catch Dias.

Cassio Dias rode his first two bulls, while John Crimber bucked off his first two bulls. Unfortunately, Cassio bucked off his third bull and had to be carried out of the arena on a backboard. Prior to the fourth round a week ago Sunday, we were told that Cassio had some lower back fractures, a rib fracture, a partially collapsed lung, a concussion and a bruised elbow.

John Crimber, in the meantime, won the third and fourth rounds in the Eliminator Rounds. Therefore, he was closing the gap and was only 487 points behind Cassio Dias at the end of round four ten days ago. The four Championship Rounds started last Saturday and ended on Sunday. I am so glad we were able to be there in person.

Friday night, I was a little surprised to learn that Cassio Dias had been cleared by a back specialist to ride in the Championship Rounds. While I was happy about him being able to compete, I was concerned that he might not be physically well enough to compete effectively at that level. I was afraid he might receive further injuries.

In round one, 18-year-old rookie John Crimber scored 88 points on a bull called Skippy. Cassio Diaz bucked off of Mike’s Motive at 7.64 seconds. That’s just 1/3 of a second from a qualified ride. His buck off kept Crimber in the hunt for the World Champion Bull Rider title.

Both Dias and Crimber bucked off in round two. Cassio appeared to be hurting when he walked back to the bucking chutes. We would have to wait until Sunday afternoon to see how it would end. Cassio was still in the lead, but Crimber was gaining – and had a very good chance to be crowned World Champion.

The last two riders in round three on Sunday were John Crimber and Cassio Dias. Both had rank bulls. Crimber would get on a bull called Big Bank and Dias would get on a bull called Ricky Vaughn. Because he was in the number two position, Crimber went first – and scored an amazing 95 points. WOW! Watch the video below.

I was worried that Casio Dias might not be healthy enough to complete an 8-second ride on Ricky Vaughn. Not only did Dias complete the ride, he scored an amazing 92.5 points! That was the second highest score at the entire PBR Finals. Watch the video below. Crimber won round three – but Dias was close behind. It was going to come down to the very end.

In the final Championship Round, the riders were able to pick their bulls. Crimber chose first because he was winning the event (not the world). Crimber chose Hang ‘em High, which is a bull I did not know much about. Dias chose a bull called Chiseled, a good bull that has been around for several years.

Crimber had to make the 8-second whistle to stay in the race for World Champion. Sadly, he bucked off his bull in less than three seconds. That clinched both the World Championship and the Rookie of the Year titles for Cassio Dias. Dias did not have to get on his final bull – but he did and he made the whistle.

Although Cassio Dias speaks very little English, he is able to sing Willy Nelson’s “My Heros Have Always Been Cowboys” song. Ever since he was a little boy in Brazil, Cassio dreamed of being a cowboy and a world champion bull rider. I encourage you to watch the video below. Former PBR bull riders, JW Hart and Guilherme Marchi, will introduce you to the 2024 World Champion Bull Rider.

After Cassio Dias had been crowned World Champion Bull Rider and Rookie of the Year, John Crimber was called on stage to accept an award for having the highest scored ride at the PBR Finals (95 points on Big Bank). Crimber, who speaks both English and Portuguese, walked over and whispered something in Cassio’s ear.

The interviewer asked Crimber what he had said to Cassio. Crimber replied by saying, “I told him he IS a cowboy and he deserves everything that is happening to him.” He continued by saying, “For him (Dias) to ride here with a tough injury like that, you gotta be something different! Losing to a guy like him is not really losing. I’m proud of him!”

What 18-year-old John Crimber said to and about his toughest competition, Cassio Dias, brought tears of joy and pride to my eyes. Both of these very young men are thanking God for blessing them with the ability to compete at this level. Both have their heads screwed on straight – and both will go far in life!

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