Tuesday, May 21, 2024 May 21, 2024
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How Nearly 50 Brazilian Bull Riders Landed in Decatur

Decatur’s rodeo heritage spans the Western Hemisphere.
| |Photography by Elizabeth Lavin
Brazillian Bull riders
Some of the dozens of Brazilian bull riders in Decatur include (from left) Eduardo Aparecido (PBR: Unleash the Beast ranking No. 4 as of April 1), Ramon de Lima (No. 58), José Vitor Leme (No. 26), Luciano de Castro (No. 33), and Alex Marcilio. Elizabeth Lavin

Sandy loam soil. There’s no better dirt on which to raise and train horses. That’s what lured Amarillo-born Trevor Brazile, who’s won more world championship belt buckles than any other cowboy in history, to buy a ranch and settle down in Decatur. The town of nearly 7,000 about an hour northwest of Dallas has long been home to rodeo legends. That’s thanks to not just the soil but also a century-old rodeo founded by world champion Gus Pickett, as well as the expansion a decade ago of National Roper’s Supply into a 400-acre rodeo mecca, with a professional rodeo arena, a 90,000-square-foot ranch gear and Westernwear retail store, and the Trevor Brazile and Roy Cooper Family Museum.

The only mystery is what drew nearly 50 Brazilian bull riders to Decatur to make it their home, too. Paulo Crimber came first; he says he just stepped foot in the town and knew it was where he wanted to spend the rest of his life. With his prize money from winning (with a broken hand) the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in 2004, he bought a home there. He reached No. 1 in the world in 2008, but, after breaking his back twice, he retired at 28. Over the years since, he has hosted dozens of Brazilians, many of whom have settled down for the long haul. José Vitor Leme, the Professional Bull Riding World Champion in 2020 and 2021, bought a 12-acre ranch nearby. The former semi-pro soccer player installed a small soccer pitch on his land, which, in addition to Crimber’s hospitality, might have helped tempt some of the others. The current top rider to watch is Eduardo Aparecido, a fearless 33-year-old from Gouvelândia who advanced to No. 4 in March when he won the PBR Ty Murray Invitational in New Mexico. 

On May 18 and 19, chances are high that a number of Decatur’s Brazilians will be at AT&T Stadium to compete in bull riding’s most prestigious event, the 2024 PBR World Finals: Unleash the Beast. It will be the final stage of a new three-part, eight-day, playoff-format event that will feature the world’s 25  best riders and award a historic purse of more than $3 million. On May 17, Kid Rock’s Rock N Rodeo will kick things off with a head-to-head bracket-style competition for a $1 million purse. Of the celebrity team coaches, the one that stands out is currently ranked No. 2 in the world: John Crimber, Paulo’s son.

Go to attstadium.com for tickets.  

This story originally appeared in the May issue of D Magazine with the headline “Brazile to Brazil.” Write to [email protected].


Kathy Wise

Kathy Wise

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Kathy Wise is the editorial director of D Magazine. A licensed attorney, she won a CRMA Award for reporting for “The…