UVALDE, Texas – 1994 PBR Rookie of the Year and safety rider J.W. Hartpicked up Kaique Pacheco’s bull rope during the second round of the Cactus Jack PBR Bull Riding BlueDEF Velocity Tour event and handed it to the 20-year-old bull rider.
“Great effort,” Hart said. “Good job.”
Pacheco simply nodded his head in appreciation and walked toward the back of the bucking chutes following his 82.5-point ride on Strokin that he earned by hanging onto his bull rope while falling off the side of the bovine athlete in the final second.
It was the first of Pacheco’s two rides on Saturday night at the Uvalde County Fairplex as the No. 3 bull rider in the world standings and No. 1 rookie on the Built Ford Tough Series finished 3-for-3 to win his fourth BlueDEF Velocity Tour event of the season and earn 80 points toward the world standings.
“I try to ride the same here as I do on the Built Ford Tough,” Pacheco said with the help of Robson Aragao translating. “I just need to ride and stay on and make good rides and make good points.
“It is good for me because this is the dream I had coming from Brazil.”
Pacheco is well on his way to etching his name in PBR history next to Hart and the other 22 riders who have won the prestigious Rookie of the Year title.
“In Brazil, I watched videos of J.W. Hart and I have seen him on television,” Pacheco said. “It makes me happy (to have him congratulate me) because J.W. is one of the best riders for a long time.”
However, Pacheco is also looking at a bigger prize. He now trails world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira, who was not competing in Uvalde, by 540 points.
Pacheco capped off his three-ride performance with an 86.5-point ride on Bad Moon after beginning the championship round fourth in the event average.
Bad Moon continuously tried to jerk on Pacheco’s riding arm, but the young Brazilian refused to give in and fought to fight to the front of the bovine athlete.
“I had watched two videos of him before I got on,” Pacheco said. “I saw he was a pretty good bull for me to ride and I knew I had to try and stay in good position.”
Pacheco, who won over $15,000, wouldn’t have been eligible for the championship round if he bucked off Strokin in the second round after his 84-point ride on Surprise Package had him on the outside looking in for the 10-man championship round.
Round 1 winner Neil Holmes entered the championship round leading the event after winning Round 2 with an 88.5-point ride aboard Hells A Poppin.
However, on the final ride of the night Holmes got slammed to the ground almost immediately after he nodded for the gate when Old Skool whipped him to the side.
Still, Holmes earned 50 points toward the world standings with his second-place finish (2-for-3) and he moves from 53rd in the world standings to 45th, which puts him in good position of qualifying for Last Cowboy Standing on May 22-23.
Pacheco was the only rider to cover his bull in the championship round.
Michael Lane, Mike Lee and Robson Aragao rounded out the Top 5.
Lane (2-for-3) earns 30 points toward the standings and jumps to 41st in the world standings after beginning the weekend in 44th. Lane rode Penn Transport for 86 points in the second round.
Lee (2-for-3) was the second-highest finisher among BFTS standouts competing this weekend and the No. 14 bull rider earned 20 world points. The 2004 World Champion rode Willie for 86 points in Round 2.
No. 26 Aragao (1-for-3) earned 15 points toward the standings. He made the 8-second mark on Conner’s Pride for 88 points.
Yet, with the top two riders in the world standings not competing in Uvalde, it was Pacheco making sure to make the most of his opportunity.
The world number one ranking is the only position Pacheco does not own possession of in all PBR categories. Pacheco now leads Cooper Davis by 1,130 points in the Rookie of the Year race and Aragao by 112.5 points in the BlueDEF Velocity Tour standings. Pacheco also sits atop the Touring Pro Division, where he has won four events, with 247.5 points.
While many young bull riders struggle to make the switch from the PBR’s developmental leagues to the Built Ford Tough Series, Pacheco has been able to thrive this season at all levels. He hasn’t appeared fazed by the cameras, the added-pressure and other distractions that other young riders have referenced before when it comes to the BFTS.
Instead, it has been a minor adjustment for Pacheco, especially now that he has been able to have the guidance of veterans such as three-time World Champion Silvano Alves, 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi and 2011 Rookie of the Year Rubens Barbosa.
“It is really a little bit different because of the bulls,” Pacheco said. “On the Built Ford Tough, the bulls are more rank.”
Pacheco plans on going to Brazil at the end of the month to compete at various PBR bull ridings back home. He is expected to return to the United States on July 23.
Therefore, he wants to earn as many points as possible before he returns to Brazil where there will be limited opportunities.
“The more points I can earn now, the better,” he concluded.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko