THE time has come. The battles are about to begin.
Man will verse beast. With nerves of steel, they'll risk it all.
The eight seconds will feel like an eternity. Members of the crowd will be sitting on the edges of their seats, every one of them holding their breath. When the gate flies open, and the bull morphs into a bucking brute, all probability will end. This is the world of PBR Australia, the toughest sport on dirt, and you won't want to miss a second of it.
In 2016 Brazilian bull rider, Edmilson Goncalves, walked away as the 2016 Cairns Invitational Champion.
Fellow rider, Robinson Guedes, is a two-times Sydney event winner. Behind the chutes both men enjoy catching up with their Australian mates, but when they climb aboard one-tonne bulls hell bent on bucking them off, they mean business.
What made you choose this profession?
Edmilson: Since I was a child I've been dreaming of being a cowboy. I started just for fun but with time it became my profession.
Robinson: My family used to live on a farm and once I rode on a calf. It worked well so I decided to start riding bulls.
What's your age and how long have you been bull riding?
Edmilson: I'm 25 years old and I've been riding bulls since I was 14. When I turned 18, I started to ride professionally.
Robinson: I'm 28 years old and I've been riding bulls since I was 14. I started professionally when I turned 17.
First time on a bull?
Edmilson: I was 14 years old and it was great, lots of adrenaline and emotions I've never felt before.
Robinson: I was unable to sleep for four days!
What sort of goals did you set yourself this year?
Edmilson: I'd like to be the champion in all the events and be able to compete in the elite of the world championship.
Robinson: I want to ride well.
What has been your highlight event and moment this season?
Edmilson: Last April I won a big event in Sao Paulo.
Robinson: So far this year I've won three events and got second place in another three.
How excited are you to be heading back to Australia?
Edmilson: It's a great opportunity to be able to return to Australia and compete, it motivates me to work hard.
Robinson: I'm very glad to go back as Australia gave me the opportunity to be recognised internationally and that was really important for my career. I'm very thankful to everybody who's had faith in me.
How bad do you want this Australian title and what do you think it will take to be number 1 after the last bull has bucked in Sydney?
Edmilson: Every athlete wants to be the champion... I've been preparing myself every day and I'll do everything I can to leave Australia with the title.
Robinson: I think all the competitors are dreaming of getting this title, but it will take a lot of dedication and confidence to be number one.
What do you do to train for this, mentally and physically?
Edmilson: I need to be strong physically so I train every day in a gym. I always try to stay focused as it helps me to ride well.
Robinson: Here in Brazil we have events almost every weekend, so participating in those competitions is already my training. Positive thinking and focus is what I need to prepare my mind.
What crosses your mind the second before the gate swings open?
Edmilson: I have to stay on the bull for the eight seconds.
Robinson: I have to stay on this bull.
Two or three words that sum you up?
Edmilson: Faith and determination.
Robinson: Persistent, dedicated and happy.
Things you love most about Australia?
Edmilson: The PBR events and the friends I have there.
Robinson: The politeness of the Australians, my friendships and the quality of the PBR events.
Do you have a favourite Australian saying/colloquialism?
Edmilson: I don't speak English and can only understand a few things, but every time someone asked me about the Australians, I say they are great friends
Robinson: I don't because I hardly understand what they say!
Will both bull riders be giving our Aussie boys a run for their money this time around? You'll have to be ringside to witness the fierce competition between this elite group of men who are also comrades behind the scenes. Make sure you get your tickets to watch them strap in and brace for lift-off in the rides of their lives.
Robinson, Edmilson, fellow Brazilian Luis Blanco and Mexico's Jorge Valdivezo will fly into Cairns to compete at the Cairns Invitational at the Convention Centre on July 8. World champion JW Harris will join the international contingent to compete at Last Cowboy Standing at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on July 15 then onto Sydney for the Australian Finals on July 22.
Tickets are now on sale at www.pbraustralia.com.au.
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