By: Justin Felisko
September 04, 2016
THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Cooper Davis knows there is still a lot of time left in the 2016 season before a World Champion is crowned in Las Vegas, but the 22-year-old couldn’t hide his excitement, pride, and even a little shock, about being the newly minted world No. 1 bull rider on Saturday night.
Davis used his 86.5-point ride on Cool Hand Luke to earn 22.5 points toward the world standings and surpass Kaique Pacheco for the world No. 1 ranking.
Pacheco bucked off Kongo (5.14 seconds) in Round 1 and Hammer It Again (3.16 seconds) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“That is good to look at right now, but all of that doesn’t matter until Nov. 6,” Davis said.
Davis leads Pacheco by 2.17 points heading into Sunday’s finale of the WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational. Fans can watch the event on CBS Sports Network live at 8 p.m. ET.
For at least one night, and maybe more, the bullseye will be on Davis’ back. Every other rider in the world wants that No. 1 ranking, especially come the conclusion of the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
“I am just happy to be in the race,” Davis said. “I am going to have the same outlook going into it whether I am one or fifth. I think whoever rides the most bulls has the best shot. My attitude is not going to change regardless.”
Right now, Pacheco and world No. 5 Joao Ricardo Vieira, who rode Flight Plan for 86 points in Round 1, lead the PBR with 32 qualified rides.
Davis has watched Pacheco rise to stardom over the last two seasons alongside him.
Davis was impressed last year as Pacheco went on to win the 2015 Rookie of the Year title by setting a rookie record with 37 qualified rides and seven round wins. Pacheco also won three events during his rookie year.
“Kaique is a guy you know is probably going to ride the bull when he runs in there,” Davis said. “Kaique is probably one of the best rookies and sophomore guy season guys I have ever seen.”
Pacheco is on pace to surpass that mark of 37 qualified rides this year. He is currently 32-for-65 (49.23 percent) with two event victories and four round wins.
The 21-year-old has a career riding percentage of 48.93 percent.
“You can’t expect him to fall off,” Davis said. “You just have to do the same and hopefully do like I did (in Tulsa) and be a few more points than him. That is all it is going to take.”
In comparison, Davis is right on Pacheco’s heels with a 49.12 percent riding percentage, two victories and seven round wins. Davis is 28-for-57 and has been the hottest rider out of the gate since the BFTS resumed in Nashville two weeks ago.
The Jasper, Texas, bull rider has gone 8-for-11 and has won back-to-back events. Since losing 29 pounds in the past year, Davis has increased his riding percentage by almost 11 percentage points and won the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Davis’ performance in August has garnered him national media attention on CBS and CBS Sports Network, and he is quickly becoming a household name for PBR fans.
Pacheco has also been well aware of Davis’ evolution.
“He is a really good rider,” Pacheco said with the help of Silvano Alves translating in Nashville. “He is riding all very good bulls. He is a fantastic cowboy. He is a great contender for the world title.”
Davis will attempt to build his lead when he faces El Diablo (0-0, BFTS) in Round 2. He is currently tied for fifth in the event standings.
Meanwhile, Pacheco has a rematch against Recovery Time (11-2, BFTS). Pacheco was bucked off by Recovery Time in 4.45 seconds in Duluth, Georgia.
One rider that isn’t competing in Thackerville is two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney (left hip pointer/abdominal contusion).
Mauney is third in the world standings and 355 points behind Davis.
Davis knows he will not only have to hold off just a rising superstar in Pacheco, but a future PBR Ring of Honor inductee in Mauney as well.
“It is pretty cool going up against him and J.B.,” Davis said. “Two of the guys that could possibly be the best ever. (Kaique) is a potential guy that can be right up there beside him in 10 years.
Davis then added, “Heck, J.B. will probably be back next week and be ready to win again.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2016 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.