Kaique Pacheco Leading the Way for Rookie of the Year Title

PUEBLO, Colo. – Various rookie riders have made a splash this season through the first 18 Built Ford Tough Series events, but it has been 20-year-old Kaique Pacheco that has stood out among the rookie class of 2015.

The Brazilian bull rider currently ranked fourth in the world standings leads the rookie race with a 1,012.5-point lead on Cooper Davis, who is ranked 15th in the world.

Today, takes a look back at Pacheco’s Top-5 rides of the first half.

Pacheco sets career-high with 89.75 points on Brutus (Kansas City, Missouri)

Kaique Pacheco became the first rider – and the only thus far – to record a ride aboard Brutus when he covered the bovine athlete for 89.75 points to win Round 1 in Kansas City.

The ride was a new career-high for Pacheco, who had previously set a personal best with an 89.75-point ride a week earlier in St. Louis.

“I saw the bull buck in Las Vegas at the ABBI event last year,” Pacheco said with the help of Guilherme Marchi translating. “He is very strong on the outside and has a lot of up and down.”

Pacheco has demonstrated a tendency earlier this season to try and position himself toward the front of his bulls, and he explained that he used that same tactic on Brutus, while using his hips to push back some to stay in a positive position.

Pacheco is the only rider to make 8 seconds on Brutus in 15 combined outs at all levels.

Pacheco ties career-high with 89.75 points on Joe The Grinder (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Coincidentally, Pacheco slid into a 1-for-8 slump following his career-high ride on Brutus in Kansas City.

He busted out of that slump at the Ty Murray Invitational by tying his career-high with 89.75 points on Joe The Grinder to win Round 1.

“It was a little bit hard tonight,” Pacheco said with the help of Valdiron de Oliveira translating. “He rode good, but the bull pushed forward on my hand and went around a little bit.”

It was his fifth BFTS round win of the season, but his last before the summer break.

Pacheco rides Little Red Jacket for 89.5 points (St. Louis)

When it comes to Pacheco evolving from a top rookie to a genuine world title contender, many experts believe that the young bull rider will have to get better at riding the ranker bulls on the BFTS.

Pacheco gave a glimpse of that potential when he rode Little Red Jacket for 89.5 points to win Round 2 of the Bass Pro Chute Out in St. Louis.

Little Red Jacket was only marked 43.5 points, but it was still an important ride to build Pacheco’s confidence as he was able to bounce back after bucking off Percolator (4.9 seconds) a week earlier in Anaheim, California, during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.

Immediately following his buckoff, three-time World Champion Silvano Alves approached him with some advice.

“Silvano came and said what I did wrong and was trying to push me up because I was so sad to buck off in the short round and it was a good bull,” Pacheco said. “He tried to help me (understand) what I did wrong and tried to correct it so I can ride the next one.”

Pacheco’s confidence carries over to championship round; rides Who Dey for 89.25 points (Kansas City, Missouri)

Pacheco built off his Round 2 ride on Little Red Jacket to ride Loco Lizard for 86.5 points and Who Dey for 89.25 points.

The rookie’s ride on Who Dey would give him his first Built Ford Tough Championship Round win and his first event victory.

It was one of the more unusual events of 2015 with Pacheco going 3-for-4 to win the event title, even though Stetson Lawrence had gone 4-for-4 to win the event average.

However, it was Pacheco’s round-winning rides on Little Red Jacket and Who Dey that gave him enough round points to surpass Lawrence.

“I was a little bit confused,” Pacheco admitted. “I know a little bit about the points. I know that if you win two go-rounds you may win if a guy rides all four bulls, but does not win a go-round.”

The event was also a breakthrough for Pacheco – a dominant BlueDEF Velocity Tour rider – who showed he was here to stay on the BFTS.

Best 15/15 Performance – 88.5 points on Pound The Alarm (Kansas City, Missouri)

Not to be lost in the shuffle of Pacheco’s wild first event victory at the Sprint Center was the fact that he also rode Pound The Alarm for 88.5 points.

He wound up finishing second to Chase Outlaw, but it was his first qualified ride on a CBS national television broadcast.

The ride came after his second-round performance on Little Red Jacket.

“I am so excited and so happy because I used to be home watching guys getting on these bulls,” Pacheco said with the help of Renato Nunes translating. “I am living my dream because everyone’s dream is to be here.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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