PUEBLO, Colo. – Robson Palermo, Guilherme Marchi and Silvano Alves have all said repeatedly this year that rookie Kaique Pacheco does nothing but live and breathe bull riding.
What has impressed them the most is the fact that Pacheco appears to never be rattled by anything inside and outside of the bull riding arena.
Adjectives that were once used to describe Alves – cold, calm and poised – are now being commonly used to paint the picture of the 21-year-old from Itatiba, Brazil.
Pacheco continued his push to become the first PBR rookie to win the World Championship by going 3-for-3 to win the Express Employment Professionals Invitational this past weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The No. 3 bull rider in the world standings only trails world leader J.B. Mauney by 560 points.
“No, I don’t pay attention to the points,” Pacheco said with Robson Palermo translating. “I really look up to those guys (J.B. Mauney and Joao Ricardo Vieira) and I want to see them do good. I just want to go there and ride my bulls. If God wants me to win, I will win. I am just happy riding.”
Clearly, the world title race and the Built Ford Tough Series have yet to cause Pacheco to panic or get nervous this season.
There has to be something that makes Pacheco panic or get nervous, right?
“Falling off my bulls,” Pacheco said.
Once Palermo stopped laughing, Pacheco repeated himself.
“Falling of my bulls, I don’t want to fall off my bulls,” he said. “Since I was a kid I have been calm. I don’t panic.”
Pacheco let a small smile appear on his otherwise stern face on the dirt inside Time Warner Cable Arena. The young bull rider was in the middle of signing autographs with a seemingly growing fan base.
In those interactions, Pacheco, whose English is still at the bare minimum, bashfully smiles and poses for photos.
Seriously, Pacheco must think about something outside of bull riding?
“No, just bull riding,” Pacheco replied.
Palermo said from what he has learned about Pacheco this year that is actually the case.
“He is really confident and really focused on (riding),” Palermo said. “He watches video every single day, every single week about bulls. When he comes here and he rides great, he puts his chin down and he makes it great.”
If Pacheco is not studying bulls, he is normally can be found on a Mighty Bucky or a practice bull.
Pacheco clinched the victory on Saturday with an 88.75-point ride on Sasquatch, which was his highest-scored ride since winning Round 1 of the Ty Murray Invitational in March with an 89.75-point effort on Joe The Grinder.
He won only six Built Ford Tough Series rounds and has placed in 15 rounds this year, but his 31 qualified rides are tied for the fourth-most on the BFTS.
However, Pacheco has earned 622.5 (17.98 percent) of his world points at the BlueDEF Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division level.
In fact, his 71 qualified rides at various PBR levels leads all riders.
He has nodded his head 124 times this year, which is probably part of the reason he has no time to focus on anything else.
Palermo called Pacheco a near carbon copy of Alves.
“It reminds me of when Silvano came over,” Palermo said. “He didn’t worry about nothing. He just came to ride bulls. He just focused on riding. He did the same thing that Kaique does now, watching video and all this stuff. I think Kaique has learned watching what Silvano has been doing. He has been doing (things) the same way and it seems like it is working.”
It is working so well that Pacheco is one strong event performance away from the world lead.
Palermo thinks that Pacheco has the potential to sweep the Finals.
“He’s got potential to win the Finals and World Championship,” Palermo said.
Can Pacheco handle the pressure of Las Vegas?
Palermo was 25 years old when he won the first of his PBR record three-World Finals event titles.
“Kaique is still young,” Palermo said. “I think the pressure to Kaique, he is not going to feel it.”
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride said the same thing a few weeks ago in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
“You can tell Kaique has a Silvano-type of approach,” McBride said. “He seen that is a strategy that has worked three times for Silvano and so that is the one he is going with. The guy can really ride. I don’t think he is going to lock up because it is the World Finals.”
Palermo thinks Pacheco can do it, but he also knows that it is a tough task with veterans like Mauney and Vieira experienced at the Finals.
“J.B. and Joao Ricardo are kind of struggling, but you never count those guys out because when they get to the Finals, they know what it takes there at the Finals,” Palermo said.
Would Pacheco rather be No. 1 heading into the Finals?
“I dream about the World Championship,” he said. “I don’t care. I just want to ride my bulls. That way I will make it in there. To me, if I be in first place in the Finals I will be the same. I don’t want to be nervous or anything. I just want to be calm.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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