PUEBLO, Colo. – When it comes to transitioning to the United States, bull riding is the easy part says Kaique Pacheco.
The 20-year-old from Itatiba, Brazil, has spent the past year adjusting to life in the United States without being able to speak much English. The one constant for Pacheco has been his ability to compete in professional bull riding, where your native tongue is irrelevant to one’s ability to make 8-seconds.
Pacheco has stormed out of the gate in 2015 with three wins on the BlueDEF Velocity Tour, as well as one at the Touring Pro Division event in Columbus, Georgia, to position himself as the No. 8 bull rider in the world following a year of seasoning in 2014.
“I know how to ride bulls, I just can’t speak,” Pacheco said with the help of Valdiron de Oliveira earlier this season before letting out a laugh.
Pacheco clinched a spot in this year’s Iron Cowboy, which takes place on Feb. 28 in Arlington, Texas, with a 2-for-2 performance in Salt Lake City, Utah, this past weekend, and he is heading to Anaheim, California, for the upcoming BFTS event due to the first cut of the BFTS.
Three-time World Champion Adriano Moraes has known Pacheco since he was at least 10 years old. Last year, Pacheco attended Moraes’ bull riding school to fine-tune his bull riding skills, and Moraes has kept an eye on Pacheco’s development over the years.
“I believe that kid is going to accomplish a lot,” Moraes said. “He has potential. He was riding good and riding almost everything in Brazil. He was born to ride.”
Pacheco first got on a bull at 12 years old, and he began riding professional in Brazil at 17.
His father and uncle were both bull riders, and, along with them, he also looked up to riders such as Moraes, Guilherme Marchi and Silvano Alves.
Moraes believes that Pacheco’s determination and his willingness to learn from riders like Alves will be tremendous toward his growth this year on tour.
“He is humble enough to watch and learn from watching Silvano,” Moraes added. “He is going to learn a lot.”
Pacheco made his BFTS debut in New York and won the third round with an 87.75-point ride on Rough ‘em Up Tuck.
He is a smaller-sized bull rider similar to Marco Eguchi. Pacheco relies more on technique and finesse instead of his strength to battle his way to the 8-second whistle.
That ride left Valdiron de Oliveira impressed, as did the time he saw Pacheco ride last summer at the Americana event in Brazil.
“I said this kid has a lot of talent because he rides so well,” Oliveira said. “He is very good. He is strong and has a lot of power.”
Moraes agreed that the small-framed Pacheco is actually quite strong.
“He is stout as an ox,” he said. “That kid is strong as hell. Try and wrestle him.”
Pacheco will be one of three rookies – Cooper Davis and Bryan Titman – competing in Anaheim starting on Friday night.
All three have the goal of claiming the Rookie of the Year title. If Pacheco were to win it in 2015, he would be the fourth Brazilian bull rider in the past five years to win the honor.
“It is very important for me to keep riding better and better and have a chance to win Rookie of the Year,” Pacheco said.
Louis also earns bid for Iron Cowboy
Pacheco was already on pace to qualify for the Iron Cowboy based upon his positioning in the world standings, but the ultimate beneficiary from Salt Lake City was Dakota Louis.
The 22-year-old is currently 51st in the world standings and tied Pacheco for the BlueDEF Velocity Tour win by going 2-for-2.
He joins Pacheco and Neil Holmes (Detroit) as the riders who have clinched a berth for Iron Cowboy via the BlueDEF Velocity Tour.
“Oh man, it is awesome,” Louis said. “I watched it last year on TV and couldn’t wait until I got my chance to be there.”
Louis, a three-time Indian Finals Rodeo champion, has competed in three BFTS events. He rode last year at the BFTS event in Billings, Montana.
The remaining BlueDEF Velocity Tour winners from Worcester, Massachusetts; Yakima, Washington, and Little Rock, Arkansas, will receive the final three spots in the draw for Iron Cowboy. They will be joined by the Top 30 riders in the world standings.
Iron Cowboy will be the first of what Louis aspires to be many BFTS events for him in 2015.
“My main focus this year is the PBR and making the World Finals. Every point I get helps me get closer to reaching that goal.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.