Pacheco and Leme set for Velocity Finals showdown

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – World leader Kaique Pacheco sat on the back of the bucking chutes while Jose Vitor Leme prepared to take his wrap during the championship round of the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Colorado Springs Classic.

Leme was about to take on War Cloud – the same bull that shattered Chase Outlaw’s face at the Touring Pro Division event in Cheyenne, Wyoming this past July – with a qualification spot for the 2018 Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Finals on the line.

The No. 2 bull rider in the world needed to ride War Cloud to make sure he could challenge Pacheco at the Velocity Finals, where one rider can earn 440 points toward the world standings.

Leme did not disappoint.

The 21-year-old handled War Cloud into his hand, spurring his way to 90.5 points and an eventual victory.

“I am happy he rode him,” Pacheco said before shrugging. “He is a great bull rider.”

Leme earned 120 world points and heads into the Velocity Finals 1,590 points behind Pacheco.

The matchup is all but set.

It is looking more and more like the 2018 World Championship is going to come down to Pacheco and Leme.

Pacheco – looking as stone-cold as ever – watched on intently on Saturday night after his 83-point ride on Magic Mike was not enough to get him into the championship round.

Pacheco and Leme will be the only Top 5 bull riders in the world competing at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa on Nov. 2-3. No. 3 Claudio Montanha Jr., No. 4 Luciano de Castro and No. 5 CodyTeel all failed to earn points in Colorado Springs to qualify for the Velocity Finals.

Outlaw was next to Pacheco on the back of chutes yelling, “Spur his ass!” repeatedly as Leme took down War Cloud.

The Hamburg, Arkansas, cowboy looked at Pacheco and explained that War Cloud had a similar trip with him in Cheyenne, which ended horribly.

“I am a Kaique fan,” Leme said. “I am a Chase Outlaw fan. That is very nice (they watch me ride). I watch them ride bulls on TV before I came here. This is a big accomplishment.”

Leme added he was not scared when he saw he drew War Cloud.

“I was not scared because I felt like I wanted to ride this bull one time,” Leme said with the help of Rubens Barbosa translating. “I wanted to ride this bull for a long time.”

Leme won two of three rounds in Colorado Springs. He opened the weekend with 88.5 points on Sharky for the Round 1 win.

He then rode Dream Catcher for 86.5 points to head into the championship round in second place.

Leme won the championship round aboard War Cloud. 

The 2017 Rookie of the Year said last week that Colorado Springs was essentially a must-win event because he had to keep pace with Pacheco and ride at the Velocity Finals.

He can now cut Pacheco’s deficit to 1,150 points before the World Finals begin on Nov. 7 at T-Mobile Arena.

One rider can then earn a maximum of 3,300 points at the World Finals.

“This was a business trip to come here and ride all my bulls,” Leme said. “I am now qualified for the Velocity Finals.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

User Input