What to Watch For: 2018 World Champion Kaique Pacheco Back Atop the Chutes in Indy

By: James Youness

PUEBLO, Colo. – There are only 20 men in PBR history who have been crowned a PBR World Champion.

And hell, the count would probably still be at 19 if 2018 World Champion Kaique Pacheco hadn’t broken his leg in late April last season, just a few weeks before the 2023 World Finals: Unleash The Beast would invade Dickies Arena and Fort Worth, Texas.

Shown on the arena’s big screen being escorted out of the arena due to his lower-body complications, the veteran couldn’t help but celebrate his 83-point score for besting Razzmatazz; the very same bull who forced him to miss several months enjoying the sport he loves.

Of course, Pacheco didn’t know he’d be sitting the rest of the season out at the time.

Between a bit of adrenaline and that patented cowboy toughness, a part of him had imagined he’d maybe even be back in action the following weekend. But following a closer look, that would be far from the reality of the situation.

Putting said toughness on display the entire way, Pacheco endured three outs during the tour’s midweek stop in Everett, Washington, a few days prior before eventually opting into an event-high five outs in Tacoma, Washington, courtesy of a pair of re-rides granted during the event’s third round.

While Pacheco would’ve likely signed up to ride eight bulls a week for the next month straight if it meant securing a second world title, his season was suddenly cut short when the athlete announced he’d be missing the season-culminating showdown.

Which was a huge bummer at the time because Pacheco wasn’t just riding. He was thriving.

Having put on quite the show for four-fifths of the premier series circuit, Pacheco was sitting atop the standings with a decent lead, but with nearly 800 UTB points up for grabs, he, and riders throughout the tour, knew what was up for grabs.

While both Jose Vitor Leme (who finished the season ranked No. 2) and eventual 2023 World Champion Rafael Jose de Brito decided to kick things up a notch during the season’s final competition, Pacheco still managed a No. 3 overall finish despite missing the regular season finale in Louisville, Kentucky, and all eight rounds of World Finals.

His fellow countryman in Brito may have dedicated his big win to Pacheco, but that doesn’t change the pride and competitive drive aspect of the whole equation, and certainly doesn’t make the trophy appear in his living room.

A mixture of heartbreak while accepting the situation was out of his hands, Pacheco is channeling some of that frustration in 2024. And thankfully, one of said 20 world champions is set to return to action in Indianapolis after getting a bit roughed up in Sacramento, California, last month.

Ranked No. 24 overall, Pacheco shared that he’s feeling good and getting ready to go after missing the tour’s last three events. Set to be featured early on within the Saturday slate, as he prepares to go head-to-head with Shivers during the fourth out of the night, fans can expect the veteran to triumph in his return to action.

He does enjoy a good Midwestern audience after all, regularly producing favorable showcases in Chicago, Milwaukee, and most recently in Indianapolis itself, last season!

Claiming the win during last season’s PBR ZipRecruiter Invitational, presented by Ariat 15/15 Bucking Battle, courtesy of a rank 93-point effort dancing with Ricky Vaughn, Pacheco truly looked to be in elite form and ready to make a run for some hardware.

So much so that the ride ended up earning the 2023 Mason Lowe Award, as the out ended up being the highest-scored ride of the premier series season.

With a pair of potential contenders in Cody Jesus, Kaiden Loud recently joining shelved veterans like Sage Steele Kimzey, Austin Richardson, Jose Vitor Leme and company within the banged-up pool of talent, the tour will welcome back an established professional like Pacheco with open arms as the Brazilian looks to get back on track Saturday night.

Now 8-for-18 (44.44%) throughout his seven 2024 Unleash The Beast appearances, he’s managed to record at least one qualified ride in five of the seven events, eventually turning in three Top 10 finishes, which include a runner-up finish in Manchester, New Hampshire, sixth-place showing in Chicago and most recently a ninth-place effort in Houston, Texas.

Will Pacheco have what it takes to storm back into action with another big weekend in Indy?

Be sure to tune into RidePass on Pluto TV Saturday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. to find out!

With Unleash The Beast storming into Gainbridge Fieldhouse Saturday night during the 14th event of the 2024 regular season March 2-3, let’s take a look at who’s drawing into the lineup during the Ariat PBR Indianapolis:

Felipe Furlan vs. Ridgeway
Callum Miller vs. Rustic Pearl
Mauricio Gulla Moreira vs. Flint Stone
Kaique Pacheco vs. Shivers
Alex Cerqueira vs. Come Apart
Ramon de Lima vs. House Fire
Daylon Swearingen vs. Unhinged
Marco Eguchi vs. Send It
Bob Mitchell vs. Slip Knot
Ednelio Almeida vs. Big Worm
*Cort McFadden vs. Crazy Times
Eli Vastbinder vs. Fat Randy
*Silvano Alves vs. Falcon Eddie
Conner Halverson vs. Black Tie
Michael Lane vs. Coca Cola Cowboy
Boudreaux Campbell vs. Shark Bait
Paulo Eduardo Rossetto vs. Pneu Dart’s Chief Wahoo
Lucas Divino vs. Old Testament
Vitor Losnake vs. Blue Day
Jesse Petri vs. Roc Solid
Clay Guiton vs. Air Shift
*Wingson Henrique da Silva vs. Tchoupitoulas
Brady Fielder vs. American Gangster
Keyshawn Whitehorse vs. Creek
Caden Bunch vs. My Bad
Eduardo Aparecido vs. High Class
Alan de Souza vs. Woody
*Joao Ricardo Vieira vs. La Grande
Koltin Hevalow vs. Bomb Diggity
Dalton Kasel vs. Dream Walkin
John Crimber vs. Strong Arm
Luciano De Castro vs. Rowdy
Cassio Dias vs. Cracker Jack

* denotes a rematch

Austin Richardson (Injury)
Cody Jesus (Injury)
Kaiden Loud (Injury)
Sage Kimzey (Injury)
Leonardo Castro (Injury)
Jose Vitor Leme (Injury)
Jess Lockwood (Injury)
Joao Lucas Campos (Injury)
Dawson Branton (Injury)
Dakota Buttar (Injury)
Chase Outlaw (Injury)
Marcus Mast (Injury)
Derek Kolbaba (Injury)
Colten Fritzlan (Injury)
Jake Gardner (Excused absence)

Cort McFadden vs. Crazy Times (87.5 points in Denver, Colorado)
Joao Ricardo Vieira vs. La Grande (88.5 points in Newark, New Jersey)
Silvano Alves vs. Falcon Eddie (85.25 points in Kansas City, Missouri; 88.25 points in Las Vegas, Nevada)
Wingson Henrique da Silva vs. Tchoupitoulas (86 points in Greensboro, North Carolina)

2024 has, rightfully so, belonged to No. 1 Cassio Dias and the stellar 2024 rookie class. Seemingly running away with what would be his first world title by exiting event after event in favorable standing, the standout’s epic run finally came to a bit of a halt last weekend in Jacksonville, as he turned in just a 1-for-2 effort en route to missing out on the short round and getting a bit banged up in the process. Noting earlier in the week that his knee had been aggravating him, it wasn’t a good sign to see the prized talent limp off the dirt last weekend. Thankfully, the skilled Brazilian is claiming he’s good enough to give it a go this weekend in Indy and is set to dance with Cracker Jack during the final out of the opening round.

While Dias was potentially on pace to shatter several PBR records, and still potentially is, it was No. 2 John Crimber who most took advantage of the rare off weekend from Dias, as the budding superstar went on to post a flashy 3-for-3, event-winning effort. Marking the first of his premier series career, the son of Florida Freedom coach Paulo Crimber has very much lived up to his reputation, now Top 2 in four of his last six UTB appearances (which included three runner-up efforts before earning the buckle last weekend down south). Reducing the Kansas City Outlaws’ rider’s lead atop the Unleash The Beast World Championship standings to a mere 295 points (achievable in just two regular season events), Crimber will look to continue his pursuit of the top spot this weekend during an opening round showdown with Strong Arm.

With each of Cody Jesus, Kaiden Loud, Dawson Branton and Joao Lucas Campos unavailable this weekend after picking up some bumps and bruises in Jacksonville, alternate riders like No. 33 Eli Vastbinder and No. 37 Luciano De Castro will look to ride their way back into the Top 32 ahead of the next wave of cuts, due to impact the pack after Indy. After showing up at a Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event last weekend in Hampton, Virginia, where he went 0-for-2, Vastbinder will look to break out of his slump, now successful in just two of his last 10 combined outs, Saturday night dancing with Fat Randy. For the Brazilian in Castro, just 5-for-22 on the season, he’ll look to ride two bulls in the same event for just the second time in 2024, starting off with a Round 1 showdown against Rowdy.

Several of the tour’s recently promoted riders in Ezekiel Mitchell, Marco Eguchi, Jesse Petri, Michael Lane, and Lucas Divino also need to get some bulls ridden this weekend if they want to stay on the top tour, as the next eager wave of promotes await their chance to compete under the brightest lights in the business. Having been on tour for a majority of the season, able to skate by the first few cuts, Conner Halverson, Callum Miller and Bob Mitchell are right on the bubble themselves, while Keyshawn Whitehorse, who’s already spent some time on PWVT just last month will look to avoid another trip down by getting back in the ride column Saturday night, initially tested by Creek.

Representing the 14th event of the 2024 Unleash The Beast season, the two-day, three-round showcase in Indianapolis, Indiana, is set to begin Saturday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. EST, with Round 1 airing live via RidePass on Pluto TV.

Round 2’s action will begin Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m. EST, followed by the short go, with all of championship Sunday’s action slated to air live on CBS Sports Network.

Fans can stay tuned to and PBR social media channels throughout the weekend for the latest scores, wrecks, injury updates and beyond as Unleash The Beast prepares to invade Gainbridge Fieldhouse!

Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media

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