My name is Priscila Palermo. My husband is Professional Bull Rider, Robson Palermo. This is his story…our story about how believing in a dream and working hard changed our life. Robson always tells our children, Dream, Work Hard and you will Succeed.
Robson was born in Mato Grosso State, in central Brazil and moved to Acre State, Northwest of Brazil when he was 6 years old because of his dad’s work. His dad was a foreman for Mr. Ricardo, a cattle rancher who bought some land in Acre and asked Mr. Roque, Robson’s dad, to help him take care of the new place. Robson always worked with his dad taking care of the cattle on a daily basis and during some breaks he would try to get on some steers just for fun.
When he was about 8 years old his mom, Mrs. Maria, bought him a VCR tape from a rodeo in Brazil. Robson watched it over and over again paying attention to every movement each bull rider would do. He would imitate it at the couch of his house and then on the steers. Robson ended up teaching himself how to ride bulls just by watching the VCR tape.
It wasn’t until he was 15 years old that he actually rode at an open rodeo in Rio Branco, Acre. He won 1st place and got a motorcycle as a prize, what would be equivalent to several months of work with his dad. From that moment on, he decided bull riding would be his way to make a living. He could have fun, do what he loved and make more money than working in the ranch. He concentrated on bull riding and working at the ranch for the next 2 years until the day his mom make a phone call that would change Robson’s life and career forever.
Acre state didn’t have a lot of rodeos going on; most of the rodeos in Brazil are concentrated in the Southeast of Brazil, especially in Sao Paulo State. During a fair in Rio Branco, capital of Acre, there were some people from the biggest rodeo in Latin America, Barretos Rodeo, including Mr. Kaka, a famous rodeo promoter and commentator in Brazil. A few days after the fair was over, Mrs. Maria (Robson’s mom) got Mr. Kaka’s phone number and called him, introducing herself and asking him for an opportunity for her son in Sao Paulo. Even though they didn’t know each other, Mr. Kaka noticed Robson’s potential during the Rio Branco Fair and decided to give him a try. So, at only 17 years old Robson traveled 2,200 miles to Sao Paulo State, a state 55 times bigger than Acre. Sao Paulo has a population of 43 million people and is the most industrialized and developed state in Brazil. Much different than his home, Acre has 760,000 people living in mainly a rural state.
Robson had some challenges to overcome in the beginning not only with the fierce competition in the rodeos but also with the completely different lifestyle from what he was used to. However, he still had the dream to be the best in Brazil. He wanted to ride bulls and be just like those bull riders that he watched on the VCR his mom bought him many years ago. With the help of God, his family and friends in less than 2 years competing in Sao Paulo he won the 2nd most prestigious rodeo in Brazil, Jaguariuna Rodeo Festival (2002). After that he won 16 rodeos and was top 5 in another 25 rodeos until 2005 when he finally achieved his dream of becoming the Brazilian Champion.
Following his Brazilian title, Robson decided to seek a new challenge and in 2006 he moved to the United States to compete on Professional Bull Riders Tour (PBR), the most difficult bull riding league in the World. In spite of the culture difference between countries, distance from his parents, the language and the differences between the rodeos in the U.S. and in Brazil (bulls, spurs, rules), Palermo has been very successful winning 13 PBR events. He is the only rider to win the PBR World Finals, the most difficult event, 3 times (2008, 2011 and 2012). Take a minute to enjoy his remarkable ride to victory in the 2012 World Finals:
However, Robson’s career is not all glory. The most recent obstacle has been fighting through a series of injuries. He has had 4 shoulder surgeries in the last 3 years that have left him outside of the arena for at least half of each season, affecting his chances to achieve his dream of becoming a PBR World Champion. Setting an example for his family, he has not given up. He is giving 100% effort to overcome the injuries. He is facing it with the same attitude he had when he moved from Acre to Sao Paulo and then again going from Brazil to the USA. He knows if he has a dream and he works hard for it, he will achieve it.
Robson and I live in Tyler, Texas with our children Gabby, 5, and Mateus, 3. Our whole life goes around bull riding. Robson and I moved to the US because of bull riding. We have what we have today because of bull riding. We wouldn’t be able to provide a great quality of life to our children if it wasn’t for bull riding. Our agenda, vacation, celebrations and even my career is decided according to the PBR schedule and Robson’s sponsorship obligations. However, our family enjoys it. We are able to make the most of our western lifestyle as a family.
Gabby and I run barrels; Mateus rides sheep and Robson brakes and trains colts during his offseason.
We also take care of our ranch and animals together on a daily basis. Robson believes that this western childhood teaches the kids to respect and take care of animals and people, to be responsible and that no matter what you do in life, you work hard every day and do your best to succeed.
The Palermo Family hopes that their brand “Dream. Work Hard. Succeed.” helps everyone to keep moving forward, to never give up and never ever stop dreaming. Dreaming is what keeps us alive, it is what motivates us every day to go through the many difficulties that we face in life. All dreams can be achieved when you have God in your heart, family or friends behind you and the willingness to work hard for it. We’ve created a clothing line based on our family motto that we’re proud to share with you. You can view it in our shop by following this link: Shop Palermo RanchThank you for sharing our story – Priscila Palermo