PUEBLO, Colo. – With two days remaining until the Built Ford Tough Series resumes in Tulsa, Oklahoma, PBR.com will take a look at the Top 5 riders in the world standings before the stretch run to the 2017 Built Ford Tough World Finals officially begins.
Today, we look at Kaique Pacheco, who is currently second in the world standings.
FIRST HALF RECAP: Pacheco has picked up right where he left off in his first two seasons.
The 2015 Rookie of the Year and Brazilian young gun has finished the last two years runner-up in the World Championship race, and he concluded the first half of the 2017 season ranked No. 2 in the world standings.
Pacheco’s second consecutive Last Cowboy Standing title has him right on the cusp of usurping Eduardo Aparecido atop the world standings, and he is in a prime position to finally get over the hill and win that illusive gold buckle.
A year after leading the PBR with 52 qualified rides on the BFTS, Pacheco is once again the best at churning out 8 seconds rides with 27 qualified rides. He also leads all PBR riders with 51 qualified rides at all levels of competition.
Pacheco went 27-for-53 (50.94 percent) in the first half, won two events, a 15/15 Bucking Battle and placed in the Top-5 at five events.
The 22-year-old and Aparecido are the only two riders with a 50 percent or higher riding percentage this season.
Pacheco, who did have a streak of seven consecutive buckoffs in March, ended the first half on a tear by going 7-for-10, including his 90-point ride on Spotted Demon to win Last Cowboy Standing.
BEST FIRST HALF PERFORMANCE: Pacheco joined three-time World Champion Silvano Alves as the only back-to-back champions at Last Cowboy Standing since the event debuted in 2011.
Pacheco was originally eliminated from the competition after bucking off Hard Times (2.34 seconds) in Round 1, but he was drawn back into the event after there were only 13 qualified rides in the first round.
He didn’t let his second chance go to waste, either. Pacheco rode Machinery Auctioneer’s Little Joe for 88 points to advance out of Round 2 and then conquered Spotted Demon to win the event in Round 3.
Pacheco earned a crucial 825 points toward the world standings with the victory.
FIRST HALF TOP RIDE: 90 points on Spotted Demon (Last Cowboy Standing)
ONE BULL AT A TIME: Pacheco once again was the pillar of 8 seconds away from the BFTS.
Pacheco returned home to Brazil for a summer slate of PBR Brazil events and went 12-for-20 (60 percent) to cut into Aparecido’s hold on the No. 1 ranking.
Pacheco, who placed fifth at the Allen, Texas, Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event last weekend, earned only 75 points toward the world standings this summer, 60 of which came from winning the PBR Brazil Touring Pro Division event in Americana with a 90-point ride on Cassununga.
RELATED: Pacheco wins in Americana.
Pacheco heads to Tulsa 105 points behind Aparecido in the world standings.
READY TO FINISH: Pacheco could be considered the front runner by many in the 2017 world title race, especially with two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney out for the season now.
Out of the Top 10 riders in the world standings, Pacheco has the most experience of competing in title races.
In fact, Pacheco, No. 9 Joao Ricardo Vieira and No. 10 Cooper Davis are the only riders in the Top 10 to have ever held the world lead during the World Finals.
Now, Pacheco will look to finish the job in 2017 a year after losing the world title to Davis on the last day of the 2016 Finals.
Pacheco said after Last Cowboy Standing that the second half “will define the champion” and he will be motivated to ride even better than he did during the final three months (25-for-44) of 2016.
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride believes Pacheco sometimes has a bad habit of sitting down on the back of a bull a little too much, but admitted that is such a minor and easily fixable mistake.
Simply put, the expectation level for Pacheco is greater than others.
“There was a streak there earlier this year where he had four or five get away from him when they shouldn’t have,” McBride said. “That is OK for most people, but not for him. He is one of the best, but he can be the best for a long time coming.
“Anybody will have a tough time hanging with him.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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