By: Justin Felisko
May 17, 2016
LAS VEGAS – Two-time World Champion Justin McBride isn’t ready to call Kaique Pacheco the next Jim Sharp by any means, but the CBS Sports Network commentator is beginning to see some similarities between the new No. 1 bull rider in the world standings and the legendary 2010 Ring of Honor inductee.
During an appearance on the PBR LIVE post-show, McBride said Pacheco’s 4-for-4 event-winning performance at Last Cowboy Standing was a perfect demonstration of the 2015 Rookie of the Year’s great vision on the back of his opponents.
“You have to adjust to the speed of the game when you get to this level,” McBride said. “Kaique has done that and he has done that really fast, but the key that makes Kaique so good, so tough, is you watch those rides we were getting to see from him this weekend. He never loses sight of the bulls. He tucks his chin and he reminds me a lot of the great Jim Sharp because he always gives himself a chance because he is always seeing the bull.”
McBride then added after re-watching Pacheco’s 89.75-point ride on Wicked during the third round, “I don’t want to say he is the next Jim Sharp because Jim Sharp is one of the greatest bull riders of all time, if not the best, but he does do a lot of things very similar. It didn’t matter if that bull would have jumped out of it and went back into the other direction.
“When you can see them. You can ride them.”
Sharp, or “Razor” as he was commonly referred to, made history in 1988 when he became the first bull rider at the National Finals Rodeo to ride all 10 of his bulls. Sharp won the first of two PRCA bull riding titles that season and also posted consecutive ride streaks of 57 and 51 at pro rodeos.
Pacheco nearly also made history when he tried to challenge J.B. Mauney for the 2015 World Championship and become the first rookie to ever win the PBR title. Pacheco wound up finishing second in the world standings after setting PBR rookie records for qualified rides (37) and BFTS round wins (seven).
In ways, there was no surprise on Saturday night seeing the 21-year-old steal the show and easily ride Little Red Jacket for 88 points in Round 4 for the walk off victory. Pacheco has proven very quickly that no moment is too big for the Itatiba, Brazil, bull rider.
His calm and collected composure helped him become the first rookie to win a PBR Major when he claimed the Music City Knockout title in Nashville last year, and he now joins Joao Ricardo Vieira as the only two riders with multiple PBR Major victories.
On Saturday night, Pacheco sat on the back of the bucking chutes with his head hanging low, focused on the opportunity that was now in his hands. He had just watched good friend Eduardo Aparecido get bucked off by 2012 World Champion Asteroid in 3.93 seconds and knew all he had to do was ride Little Red Jacket – a bull he previously rode twice successfully – for the event victory and over $100,000.
“I love it too because he turns out backwards, and kind of a weird start, there was no foul there,” McBride said. “Kaique didn’t let it bother him. He didn’t let it break his mental train of thought. He just waited until the bull fell out of there and started spinning and he finished him.”
“This is a big, big moment,” McBride continued. “This is one of the Majors on tour. A lot of money, a lot of points on the line. It is easy to freeze up right there and say all I have to do is ride. That is a good bull. He will drill you if that is the approach you take to it. He finished the job. Great job.”
Pacheco earned a total of 920 points toward the world standings to move from 13th to the No. 1 ranking. He began Last Cowboy Standing with 79.5 points on Dollar Hunt in Round 1 and followed that up with 85.5 points on Grave Digger in Round 2 Saturday.
It was the second time in his career that he has posted four qualified rides. Pacheco last hit the four-mark in Billings, Montana, last season. Pacheco also had four rides in St. Louis in 2015, but one of those rides came during the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“With Kaique finishing it off and winning this event, it goes back to the theme we had all weekend on the broadcast and that’s this young surge of great riders,” McBride said. “They have a lot of potential.”
Pacheco is the sixth rider 23 years or younger to win in the past seven events.
Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves and 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi stormed the dirt and lifted Pacheco into the air following Pacheco’s winning ride.
“It is wonderful,” Alves said. “He rode all of his bulls. I am very excited for him because I like him a lot. He is the best bull rider in the world.”
He concluded the first half 27-for-54 (50 percent) and his 34 qualified rides at all PBR levels of competition is the most in the world. Pacheco has won two BFTS events and posted four Top-10 finishes. He also posted two Top-3 finishes in 15/15 Bucking Battles.
Pacheco has never been ranked No. 1 in the world until now.
“I think that is a big deal to us,” McBride said. “I don’t think for Kaique, sure his buddies are going to pat him on the back and say, ‘Hey you are the number one guy,’ but he is not going to go hang his hat on that all summer. It is not going to be like, ‘Cool I am number one in the world.’”
He understands this PBR Major victory won’t mean much at all if he doesn’t finish out the season strong and conclude the year No. 1 in the world.
The victory, as well his mere 72.83-point lead on No. 2 Mauney, is a reminder that the hard work is far from over. He has much to do if he hopes to win a World Championship gold buckle.
“I am going to fight pretty hard, but this is not going to go to my head,” Pacheco said with the help of Marchi translating. “I believe in myself so much and I know I have the potential to be a World Champion. I just need to prepare myself to keep getting strong. Keep training, keep focus and keep belief in myself and see what happens at the end of the year.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2016 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.