Bull rider dies after ‘freak accident’ at Fresno competition

A helmeted cowboy rides a lurching bull at a rodeo
Amadeu Campos Silva rides the bull Yippee High Cowboy in Grand Rapids, Mich., last month. The Brazilian was killed Sunday in Fresno while riding a different bull when his spur got caught in a rope, pulling him under, and the animal stepped on his chest.
(Andre Silva/PBR/Bull Stock Media)

A professional bull rider died Sunday after his spur got caught in a rope and pulled him under the animal in what was described by a tour official as a “freak accident.”

Amadeu Campos Silva, 22, of Brazil, was competing at a Velocity Tour event at the Save Mart Center in Fresno.

According to Andrew Giangola, a spokesperson for the Professional Bull Riders tour, Campos Silva lost his balance and his spur got stuck in the flank strap, which is wrapped around the bull’s lower torso.

A man in a cowboy hat and checked shirt
Amadeu Campos Silva speaks in a locker room in Bangor, Maine, in March 2020.
(Associated Press)

In a “freak accident,” Campos Silva was pulled underneath the bull, which stomped on his chest, Giangola said. The rider was rushed to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.

The Fresno County coroner’s office is determining the cause of death. Officials said the bull, named Classic Man, was not at fault and had been bucking normally.

“Amadeu Campos Silva was a son, a brother, a soccer teammate, and a smiling presence in the locker room, here in the U.S. pursuing his bull-riding dream,” Sean Gleason, the tour’s chief executive officer, wrote on Twitter.

Gleason described Campos Silva as “a rising star in our sport; a cowboy with so much potential on and off the dirt.”

Campos Silva began competing in the U.S. after two years on the bull riding circuit in his native country, where he was runner-up in the 2019 Brazilian Finals.


Campos Silva competed in the 2020 Professional Bull Riders World Finals, realizing a life dream, and was hoping to rise to the elite level again this season, Gleason said.