22-Year-Old ‘Rising Star' Bull Rider Killed in Accident During California Event

Brazilian bull rider Amadeu Campos Silva was thrown during the ride, but his spur got caught up in rope and the bull stepped on him

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A 22-year-old bull rider was killed after a bull stepped on his chest during an event in California on Sunday.

Brazilian bull rider Amadeu Campos Silva was thrown from the bull, named "Classic Man," 5.3 seconds into a ride at a Professional Bull Riders Velocity Tour event in Fresno, according to a PBR statement.

Silva's spur was caught up in his rope as he was thrown, putting him in a position for Classic Man to step on his chest.

Silva was taken to a nearby hospital, but later died.

The PBR's spokesman said the bull wasn't doing anything out of normal behavior.

“This was not an act of aggression,” Andrew Giangola told USA Today. “The bull was bucking in his normal pattern. Amadeu’s spur got hung up in the flank rope and he was pulled under the bull in a freak accident.”

"Our heart breaks for Amadeu’s family and friends," PBR's chief executive Sean Gleason said in a statement. "At 22, he was a bull rider with a lot of promise, coming to the U.S. after competing in PBR Brazil in 2017 and 2018 to pursue his dream of a World Championship.

"Amadeu was a rising star in our sport; a cowboy with so much potential on and off the dirt. The entire PBR and western sports family extend our thoughts, prayers, and heartfelt condolences to Amadeu’s family and friends."

Silva was born in Altair, Brazil, a small rural town with a population of about 4,100 in northern Sao Paulo. He began bull riding at 16 and quickly rose the ranks competing in the PBR Brazil. He made his U.S. debut in 2019 after winning the 2018 Liga Nacional de Rodeio in Brazil earned him the chance to compete in the American Rodeo semi-finals in Fort Worth, Texas.

He moved to the U.S. last year to join the PBR’s U.S. tour, according to Globo Rural.

João Ricardo Vieira, a fellow Brazilian bull rider who is ranked 5th in the world, told Brazil’s Globo Rural in a phone interview Monday that Silva’s parents are devastated by the loss of their son.

“They are in shock,” Vieira said. “Amadeu was the youngest and always helped his family. His parents came to the U.S. to live with him and support him in his pursuit of a better life. The kid had a dream of one day buying a ranch in Brazil for his family.”

Vieira told the outlet the PBR has extended their support to Silva’s parents and offered to pay funeral costs and the expenses to transport his body back to Brazil.

Silva’s father, former bull rider Flavio Campos Silva, declined to comment and asked for privacy during this difficult time for the family.

“We are all shaken,” Vieira said. “We know the risks [of bull riding], but you’re never prepared for a tragedy like this one.”

Silva lived in Texas where he trained at the ranch of three time PBR World Champion and fellow Brazilian Silvano Alves in Decatur.

PBR detailed his journey and the outpouring of concern for his family in a lengthy post on its website Monday.

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