KANSAS CITY – Kaique Pacheco has become the first rookie bull rider to crack Tier A in Ultimate PBR Fantasy, and with good reason.
Pacheco has ridden 8-of-13 bulls in just three Built Ford Tough Series events, and he proved in St. Louis that he can ride the ranker bulls on the Built Ford Tough Series despite being only 20 years old. He posted a career-high 89.5 points on Little Red Jacket and rode Who Dey for 89.25 in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
Things won’t get any easier for Pacheco in Kansas City, where he meets Brutus (2-0, BFTS) in Round 1 of the Caterpillar Classic. Despite being only 4 years old, Brutus has quickly risen to the top tier of bulls in the PBR.
Pacheco (61.54 percent) and Silvano Alves (BFTS-best 66.67 percent) are the only two riders on tour with riding percentages above 60 percent.
Alves will try to bounce back this weekend after falling short of a qualified ride on three different occasions in St. Louis by less than a second. The reigning World Champion takes on BFTS debut-bull I’m Trouble in Round 1 on Saturday.
Kansas City is Matt Triplett’s first test since getting off to the best start of his career. It will now be up to the No. 1 bull rider in the world to show how he can respond from an 0-for-4 buckoff streak.
He has drawn Big Dip (1-0, BFTS) in the first round. Big Dip bucked off Alves in 2.65 seconds in Oklahoma City.
Reese Cates, who has ridden 1 of his last 8, faces Rebelution – a BFTS debut bull – on Saturday night.
You can’t forget the feat Stetson Lawrence pulled off last week in St. Louis either when selecting your fantasy riders. Lawrence went a career-high 4-for-4 to win the event average and finish second to Pacheco overall. The 26-year-old is up to 10th in the world standings and will try to extend his consecutive ride streak to five when he takes on Whataburger (1-0, BFTS). Whataburger bucked off Jason Malone in 2.34 seconds in Oklahoma City.
Matt Scharping of Jared Allen’s Pro Bull Team had high hopes for Uncle Tink during the bull’s BFTS debut in Oklahoma City and the first reviews were good. Uncle Tink (0-1, BFTS) was ridden by J.B. Mauney for 89 points to tie Triplett for the Round 1 win. Now, Mauney’s brother-in-law Shane Proctor has an opportunity to garner his first round win of the season aboard Allen’s bull.
Valdiron de Oliveira may have bags of ice all over various parts of his body, but the 35-year-old is continuing to put 8-second qualified rides together despite injuries to his back, ankle and abdomen. Oliveira is up to sixth in the world standings and his spot in the Top 10 has been because of his ability to place high in rounds to go with his 56.52 percent riding average on the BFTS. Nine of Oliveira’s 13 qualified rides have all been scored 85 points or higher.
Sean Willingham already has a round win (Anaheim) under his belt in 2015 and he may be poised for another if he can match Bruiser’s (5-2, BFTS) effort in the first round. Bruiser bucked off J.W. Harris in Oklahoma City, but Mauney and Joao Ricardo Vieira rode him for 93.25 points and 88.75 points last year.
This week’s sleeper pick may be Douglas Duncan. The Alvin, Texas, bull rider was originally supposed to miss the cut for Kansas City, but injuries to riders inside the Top 30 have opened the door for Duncan.
Last week, Duncan made no qualms about his situation and took responsibility for needing to ride his bulls. If he comes into Kansas City with a similar attitude, Duncan may be able to qualify for the championship round for the second week in a row and third overall.
Duncan has drawn Gangster Bucks (1-0, BFTS) in the first round. Gangster Bucks took care of Chase Outlaw in 5.68 seconds in Oklahoma City.
H.D. Page is bringing his heavy hitters to the Caterpillar Classic and fantasy players would be smart to think about plugging Brutus, Bruiser and Long John into their respective lineups.
Kansas City is the first time that Brutus (44.75 points per career out) and Bruiser (44.82 points per career out) have bucked on the BFTS since Oklahoma City – the last ABBI Classic round – while Long John (44.47 points per career out) returns to the championship round after a week off.
However, don’t rule out Smooth Operator (43.55 points per career out), a bull that Chad Berger still remains extremely high on, or Beaver Creek Beau (43.56 points per career out), who has bucked off 18 consecutive riders on the BFTS.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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