THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Kaique Pacheco comes into the WinStar World Casino & Resort Invitational with two memorable wins under his belt.
He went 2-for-5 to win the last the PBR Major of the season – the Jack Daniel’s Music City Knockout in Nashville – and last week the 20-year-old went 5-for-5 in Barretos, Brazil.
Pacheco has drawn Midnight Bender (0-1, BFTS) on Friday night.
However, Pacheco has never been one of the trendier picks in Tier A this season for fantasy, and for good reason because of his 44.83 percent riding average.
In comparison, J.B. Mauney (54.35 percent), Joao Ricardo Vieira (50 percent) and Fabiano Vieira (51.56 percent) are covering at least 50 percent of their bulls.
Fabiano Vieira may be the safer bet in Tier A as he is coming off a 4-for-5 showing in Nashville and has been covering bulls at a better rate than Pacheco.
The 33-year-old took the past week off to rest his injured shoulder (free arm) and will take on Born in the USA (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1.
Vieira went 9-for-10 in August.
Mauney has a tough matchup in Round 1 against Red Moon (1-0, BFTS) and is riding with an injured left ankle. Not much slowed down the 2013 World Champion in August and Mauney says he is prepared to battle through the injury in pursuit of a second gold buckle.
Joao Ricardo Vieira went 3-for-5 in Brazil and is trying to gain some momentum on the BFTS as his grasp on the No. 1 spot in the world standings continues to loosen.
He will face Wicked Stick (1-0, BFTS).
Matt Triplett, the No. 4 bull rider in the world standings, has drawn Sinful Nature (1-1, BFTS) in Round 1.
TIER B: Can Nance create fireworks on Brutus
Cody Nance has one of the toughest, but must-see, matchups on Friday night when he tries to conquer Brutus.
Brutus (1-3, BFTS) has only been ridden twice in 19 outs at all levels, but if Nance can muscle his way to 8 seconds he has the potential to win the round.
Pacheco rode Brutus for 89.75 points in Kansas City, Missouri, this season and Gage Gay rode him for 91 points at the Estes Park, Colorado, Touring Pro Division event.
Guilherme Marchi went 3-for-5 in Brazil and will try and continue that momentum against Cut The Cord (1-0, BFTS).
On the flipside, Silvano Alves continued to struggle in his return from hip surgery and went 0-for-2. Alves has a great matchup against Price is Righton Saturday, but he will first have to get through Currey Creek Mudslinger (2-0, BFTS).
Keep an eye on J.W. Harris. The four-time PRCA champion is coming off a motivating week at Cody Lambert’s ranch in Bowie, Texas, and has the ability to cover Lester Gillis (0-0, BFTS) for a big score.
TIER C: Byrne has rematch waiting for him
Tanner Byrne is the only rider with a rematch this weekend in which he was previously successful. Byrne takes on Earl Sports (1-2, BFTS) in the second round on Saturday after riding the bull for 82.75 points in Kansas City this season.
Before then though, Byrne will look to become the second rider in four outs to ride Legacy (2-1, BFTS). Emilio Resende (6.76 seconds) nearly rode him in Tulsa, Oklahoma, three weeks ago, and Brady Sims rode him for 85.75 points in Kansas City.
This week’s sleeper pick is Luis Blanco. The 26-year-old is by no means a favorite against Bruiser, but if he can somehow cover H.D. Page’s bull then he will likely place high in the round and earn valuable points toward the world standings.
He begins the weekend 40th in the world, but only 95 points behind No. 35 Dave Mason.
BULL POWER: D&H Cattle Company leading the way
D&H Cattle Company is bringing its heavy hitters to Thackerville with SweetPro’s Long John (45.42 points per out in 2015) and Stone Sober (45.05 points per out in 2015) leading the way.
Both bulls have the potential for high scores, but each has dealt with minor injuries this summer.
Long John was an early season favorite for the World Champion Bull title and he has posted three consecutive outs of 45.5 points or better.
Meanwhile, Stone Sober is making only his sixth appearance on the BFTS this season. Fans last saw Stone Sober in Colorado Springs, Colorado, when he fell during a ride attempt by Cates.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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