LVCVA Road to Vegas: Pacheco Shifts the Pendulum in World Title Race | News

By: Justin Felisko

PUEBLO, Colo. – 2018 World Champion Kaique Pacheco is notorious for focusing only on one bull at a time, one ride at a time.

That mentality is helpful as Pacheco never seems to let the highs and lows of a world title race affect his psyche.

Regardless, Pacheco needed to make a move this past weekend at the Bad Boy Mowers Mowdown in Little Rock, Arkansas, as world No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme had increased his lead in the world standings following the first three events of the second half.

“You can’t think about a lot of that,” Pacheco said in Tulsa. “If you think a lot, you put a lot of pressure on yourself, and that is no good.”

Pacheco finally swung the pendulum back into his favor by going 2-for-3 for a third-place finish and 76.5 world points.

The performance helped Pacheco, the No. 2-ranked bull rider in the world standings, cut Leme’s lead to 424 points ahead of this coming weekend’s PBR Ariat Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Pacheco could have done even further damage in the title race if he had ridden Rocky (3.69 seconds) in the championship round. He entered the final round of competition in the event lead after winning his seventh round of the season when he rode Crossover for 89.75 points in Round 2.

“This was such a good ride,” two-time World Champion Justin McBride said on CBS Sports Network. “This bull is really cool, drifting across the pen and jumping in the air. Pacheco makes a great ride.”

Leme still left Little Rock with 30 world points after going 1-for-3 inside Simmons Bank Arena to prevent any other Top 5 World Champion contender from cutting into his lead atop the world standings.

Pacheco and Leme are both attempting to become the seventh rider in PBR history to win multiple world titles, and Pacheco has refused to throw in the towel after Leme began the second half with a victory at the PBR Major Last Cowboy Standing.

Pacheco is 33-for-61 (54.10%) in 19 premier series events with four event wins, a 15/15 Bucking Battle victory and seven round wins.

The 2016 Rookie of the Year is tied with Leme for the most event wins in the PBR (4). He is second in the PBR in qualified rides (33) and round wins (7), and third in riding percentage (54.10%).

Pacheco will have not only a two-day UTB event in Nashville to try to continue to cut into Leme’s lead, but also a 15/15 Bucking Battle. He is 4-for-10 in the premier series bonus round this season with three 90-point rides. His last qualified ride in a 15/15 was on May 15 in Billings, Montana, when he placed second with a 91-point ride on Smooth Wreck.

Pacheco, Leme and world No. 5 Joao Ricardo Vieira are tied for the most career 15/15 Bucking Battle wins at six apiece.

Fans can watch the 15/15 Bucking Battle from Nashville Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET.

The intensity in the title race will certainly pick up with nine UTB events, including a PBR Major in Fort Worth, Texas, in two weeks, remaining before the 2021 PBR World Finals on Nov. 3-7 in Las Vegas. PBR Air Force Reserve Cowboys for a Cause on Sept. 4 will also provide riders the opportunity to earn additional world points.

Pacheco said his mentality never wavers, whether it’s January or the second half, and he just has to remain focused on the task at hand.

“For me, it is always exciting because I am doing what I love. I am riding bulls and trying to be a World Champion,” Pacheco concluded.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media

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