ST. LOUIS – Kaique Pacheco was walking toward the locker room inside Scottrade Center with his eyes firmly planted on his sparkling Bass Pro Chute Out belt buckle.
It wasn’t until he almost walked into three-time World Champion Silvano Alves that the 20-year-old from Itatiba, Brazil finally lifted his eyes up and let a smile break through his stunned gaze.
Alves then put his arm around Pacheco and congratulated the rookie bull rider on his first Built Ford Tough Series event win.
“Yes, I am very happy for Kaique,” Alves said moments later. “It was a good bull ride (on Who Dey), and he rode all good bulls and made a good pick (Who Dey) in the short go to win the short go. All year, Kaique has been tough.”
Pacheco’s 89.25-point ride on Who Dey turned into a major difference-maker on Sunday afternoon as he not only covered his bull, but earned 100 points for winning the championship round over Stormy Wing, Stetson Lawrence and Valdiron de Oliviera.
Therefore, his 490 total event points, which all carry over to the world standings, was enough to defeat Lawrence, who had only earned a total of 450 points despite covering all four of his bulls.
Earlier in the day, Alves offered his two cents on who Pacheco (3-for-4) should potentially pick in the championship-round bull draft.
“I was thinking about picking three bulls,” Pacheco said with the help of Valdiron de Oliviera translating. “Who Dey, Fire Rock or King Buck. Silvano told me Who Dey is better.
“Now, I am going to pick that bull all day long.”
Beyond the score and the end result, the impressive part of Pacheco’s championship-round ride was that it came a week after he failed to convert in the championship round to potentially earn the victory in Anaheim, California.
It was a lesson Alves explained to Pacheco in Anaheim before he had even changed out of his riding gear.
“I told him to try again and keep exercising and focusing about bull riding,” Alves recalled. “Sometimes (you can get stuck focusing) on this bull riding when there is another bull riding next week.”
Pacheco responded from his 4.9-second buckoff against Percolator in Anaheim to ride four of the five bulls he attempted in St. Louis. He rode Pound The Alarm for 88.5 points to finish second in the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night.
Pacheco is ranked third in the world standings – the highest of his young career – and he has spent his first three weeks on tour absorbing as much information as he can from not only Alves, but also Renato Nunes, Guilherme Marchi, Valdiron de Olivieira and other riders in the locker room.
Marchi looked across the locker room on Sunday morning when asked about Pacheco.
At the time, the rookie was sitting next to 2013 Rookie of the Year Joao Ricardo Vieira and appeared deep in thought.
“Kaique is very focused,” Marchi said. “He has a dream to be here and he is here today. He has dedicated himself to a new country and to ride good. I think he has a lot of potential to be a champion. I am happy for another young guy from Brazil to come and have a chance at the American Dream and do really good.”
Pacheco is 8-for-13 in three BFTS events this season and is a combined 23-for-35 (65.71 percent) at all PBR levels.
When asked about how bright Pacheco’s future may be, Nunes clarified it wasn’t a matter of what could happen.
“No, he already is good,” said an impressed Nunes following Pacheco’s Round 2-winning ride on Little Red Jacket for 89.5 points.
Still, Pacheco understands he is not perfect and that is why he keeps prodding for helpful tips from his fellow bull riders.
“I talk to all of the guys about the bulls and the sport.” Pacheco said. “I know I am not a perfect bull rider. I want to keep learning everything.”
Many of his friends have already noted how strong Pacheco is physically, but the 5-foot-8-inch bull rider admitted he does hope to bulk up some in the gym as well in due time.
Oliveira said part of the reason people misconstrue Pacheco’s strength is because of his size and riding style.
“He is strong, but he is very relaxed on the bulls when he rides,” Oliveira explained. “He is a young kid.”
Before he left the dirt at the Scottrade Center, Pacheco was told that he would be introduced as one of the Top 5 bull riders in the world for this weekend’s Caterpillar Classic in Kansas City.
Instead of looking up at his mentor Alves from below the bucking chutes, he will be standing next to the No. 2 bull rider in the world.
“I am going to have a lot of emotion being up there with all of the best guys,” Pacheco concluded. “I am part of the Top 5 now. I don’t even know how to talk about it right now without getting a little emotional.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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