Pacheco conquers SweetPro’s Bruiser for career-high 92.75 points and top-ride score bonus

Kaique Pacheco rides SweetPro's Bruiser for $26,000. Photo: Andy Watson/


  • Kaique Pacheco rode Bruiser for a career-high 92.75 points and the top-ride score bonus ($26,000) at Last Cowboy Standing.
  • Pacheco has won three consecutive Last Cowboy Standing titles.
  • Budakon was the top bull of the event with a 45.75-point bull score.

In This Article

LAS VEGAS – Here are three things we learned from Last Cowboy Standing, presented by Ariat, at Helldorado Days this weekend inside the Thomas & Mack Center.

Pacheco conquers SweetPro’s Bruiser for top-ride score bonus

Last Cowboy Standing champion Kaique Pacheco had a tall task awaiting him in Round 3 when he was randomly matched up against reigning two-time World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser.

Pacheco, though, did what he does best during some of the most pressure-filled situations.

The Ice Man remained cool and calm and proceeded to knock one out of the park by riding Bruiser for a career-high 92.75 points.

Bruiser left the bucking chutes toward the left before forcefully turning back into Pacheco’s right-hand at 4 seconds.

The ride earned Pacheco a bonus payout of $26,000 for being the high-marked ride of the weekend and it pushed his total earnings at Last Cowboy Standing this weekend to a career-best $160,291.67.

“That is a real great bull and a two-time World Champion,” Pacheco said. “That is the third time I have been on him.”

Pacheco and Bruiser were both young athletes with strong potential when they first met in 2015.

The eventual 2015 Rookie of the Year rode the soon-to-be ABBI Classic Champion for a sensational 94 points at the Guymon, Oklahoma, Velocity Tour event.

The stakes were a little higher this weekend, Pacheco added with a laugh.

“Every time he bucks he is really good,” Pacheco said. “For me, he is the best bull.”

Bruiser was marked 45.5 points for his performance, which ended the bull’s streak of three consecutive outs with 46.25-plus scores.

However, the 7-year-old bovine superstar will head into the summer premier series break as the No. 1 bull in the World Champion Bull standings.

Pacheco pulls off the three-peat at Last Cowboy Standing & takes over world lead

Pacheco wouldn’t go as far as saying it was game over when he saw that he drew Jack Shot for Round 4 on Saturday night, but he sure was confident when he learned it was time for their eight matchup.

Pacheco rode Jack Shot for the fifth time in his career to notch a third consecutive Last Cowboy Standing championship in Las Vegas.

The 23-year-old made easy work of Jack Shot for 88.5 points, a walkoff victory and a return to the top of the world standings.

“I am very, very happy and thank God for all of this,” Pacheco. “This is one of the hardest events to win in the season and for me to win it for a third time is amazing. I am just really happy to be able to ride all of my bulls. When you do that, the prize comes with it. Now I just find out I am the new No. 1 in the world and it is even better.”

Pacheco has won $426,516.67 courtesy of his three consecutive Last Cowboy Standing victories. That equates to 26.97 percent of his career earnings.

Earlier in the round, Cooper Davis was bucked off by Chocolate Shake in 3.28 and Jose Vitor Leme was downed by Budakon in 3.09 seconds.

Pacheco was a perfect 4-for-4 inside the Thomas & Mack Center to walk away with 940 points toward the world standings. He began his weekend with 86.25 points on Northern Moxie on Friday night before advancing to Round 3 on Saturday with 82.25 points on Alligator Arms.

The victory almost never happened if not for a challenge by Pacheco in the second round. Pacheco earned a re-ride on Alligator Arms after it was ruled that a foul by Clover Mountain Beau had caused Pacheco to buck off.

Pacheco was one of 12 riders to advance to Round 3 before he, Leme and Davis advanced to Round 4.

Pacheco flies home to Brazil for the summer break on Monday with a 309.17-point lead on No. 2 Claudio Montanha Jr.

Budakon takes home top bull honors

Leme admitted after Last Cowboy Standing that he had let one pass him by.

When told that Budakon was marked 45.75 points for bucking him off in 3.09 seconds, Leme quickly responded that he could have been 91-92 points had he reached 8 seconds.

“He was really strong going left,” Leme said. “That is a stronger bull. I like this bull. Next time I will ride him.”

Budakon was named the YETI “Built For the Wild” Bull of the Event. It is only the sixth time this season that a bull other than Bruiser or Pearl Harbor has taken home top bull honors.

Coincidentally, Bruiser’s father, Showtime, is Budakon’s grandfather.

Injury Updates

According to PBR Sports Medicine Director Rich Blyn, No. 5 Luciano de Castro was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation on Saturday evening after being eliminated in Round 3 by Wild Goose in 4.16 seconds. Castro sustained a concussion and a right rib injury during his buckoff.


LAS VEGAS – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of Last Cowboy Standing, presented by Ariat, at Helldorado Days Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Pacheco still in the running for three-peat at Last Cowboy Standing

Kaique Pacheco is the reigning two-time champion at Last Cowboy Standing, and he picked up right where he left off in Las Vegas from a year ago.

Pacheco rode Northern Moxie for 86.25 points to finish third in Round 1 and advance to Round 2 on Saturday evening.

The 23-year-old is now 9-for-12 in five trips to Las Vegas for Last Cowboy Standing.

“I am very happy because all the time I work hard to do my job and ride my bulls,” Pacheco said. “That is the consequence.”

If he were to win a third consecutive Last Cowboy Standing on Saturday night inside the Thomas & Mack Center, Pacheco would become the first rider to win the prestigious event three times.

“I just keep my focus on my bull,” Pacheco said. “That is it. One bull.”

The 2015 Rookie of the Year has drawn Clover Mountain Beau (4-2, PBR UTB) for Round 2.

Pacheco has won over $290,000 in his career at Last Cowboy Standing, and the No. 4 rider in the world standings could take over the world lead with a victory Saturday night.

Regardless, Pacheco says his focus isn’t heightened at Last Cowboy Standing.

“No. It is the same thing,” Pacheco said. “It is one Major event with a lot of money and points, but I keep my focus the same on my bulls.”

Leme doesn’t let torn ACL slow him down

Jose Vitor Leme was laying on a table inside the PBR Sports Medicine room after the conclusion of Round 1 on Friday night. Leme had a big bag of ice wrapped around his left leg, but the 21-year-old had a look of relief on his face.

The 2017 PBR Rookie of the Year advanced to Round 2 by riding Break Dance for 85.25 points.

Leme had missed the last two events because of a torn ACL and was riding for the first time with a knee brace. Prior to the event, Leme was uneasily fiddling with his brace inside the locker room and appeared to be unsure with how it would feel riding a bull with a brace for the first time.

“I am feeling really happy because I never had to stay out of competition for this long,” Leme said with the help of Paulo Crimber translating. “This is the first time I had to stay out for this long. I was really thinking about the braces. I didn’t try it out or anything. I just came and put it on tonight. I didn’t feel anything during the ride.”

Leme, who finished fifth in Round 1 for 40 world points, did appear hobbled following the ride as he continuously hopped up and down trying to take weight off the left knee.

“I landed on my feet and kind of felt it a little bit,” Leme added. “The pain goes away after a while. I was really happy to ride that bull away from my hand and am ready for tomorrow.”

Saturday could be a tall task for the admittedly under 100 percent bull rider.

Leme is slated to first compete in the WCRA Rodeo Showdown at 1:45 PT. He will then head back to his hotel room to shower and ice his knee before returning to the Thomas & Mack Center for the conclusion of Last Cowboy Standing.

He has drawn Kimes Ranch Jeans Grave Digger (6-11, PBR UTB) for Round 2.

There is the possibility Leme may need to attempt four more bulls on Saturday evening if the event goes a full five rounds.

Leme said he isn’t concerned about how his knee will hold with the potential of so many bulls waiting him.

“Not really,” Leme said. “I am just excited because I want to get on all of them. I was out for so long that I am ready to ride.”

Davis appreciates being back at the Thomas & Mack

Cooper Davis turned a corner down the long, winding hallway in the bowels of the Thomas & Mack Center and a big smile covered his valiant attempt at growing a mustache.

Davis won the last PBR World Finals held at the Thomas & Mack Center in 2015, and being back at the Mack brought back a wave of positive emotions on Friday afternoon.

“I was pretty pumped to walk in here today,” Davis said before the start of Round 1. “It is pretty cool knowing I am back in here. When I walked in, I was like this is where it all happened. From my first NFR to my first PBR World Finals.

“I am thrilled to be here.”

Davis didn’t waste any time in regaining his mojo inside the home of UNLV basketball by riding Comet’s Patrol for 88.75 points to win Round 1.

The 2017 World Champion picked up 125 points for the round win and he moved up to 10th in the world standings.

“It’s the Thomas & Mack,” Davis said. “Last time I was in these chutes, I won the Finals. I was confident today. I don’t know. I love this place.”

Davis has had plenty of success in Las Vegas, and the next chapter of his career may involve a Last Cowboy Standing championship on Saturday night.

To do it inside the Thomas & Mack Center would only make it that much sweeter, Davis said.

“To be in this building, every piece of rodeo history, especially watching guys come up before me. It is pretty cool to be back in the building where Justin McBride, Chris Shivers and Adriano Moraes were all successful at.

“There is a lot of history here. It makes it’s presence known when you walk in.”

Davis takes on Cool Customer (1-0, PBR UTB) in Round 2.

Another rider that has had success in the Thomas & Mack Center – 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi – finished second in Round 1 with 87.25 points on Chute Boss for 75 world points.

Rounding out the Top 5 was Pacheco, Matt Triplett (86 points on Buckle Up) and Leme.


Cooper Davis (88.75 points on Comets Patrol)
Guilherme Marchi (87.25 points on Chute Boss)
Kaique Pacheco (86.25 points on Northern Moxie)
Matt Triplett (86 points on Buckle Up)
Jose Vitor Leme (85.25 points on Break Dance)
Luciano de Castro (84.75 points on Passenger 57)
Koal Livingston (84.75 points on Pop A Top)
Ryan Dirteater (84 points on Whiskey Bent)
Silvano Alves (83 points on Hot Habanero)
Colten Jesse (82.75 points on Knotted Diamond)
Lucas Divino (82.5 points on The Wizard)
Claudio Montanha Jr (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Ramon de Lima (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Cody Nance (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Eduardo Aparecido (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Jess Lockwood (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Fabiano Vieira (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Dakota Buttar (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Keyshawn Whitehorse (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Brennon Eldred (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Stetson Lawrence (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Derek Kolbaba (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Valdiron de Oliveira (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Alex Marcilio (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)
Tanner Byrne (Advanced based upon world ranking; bucked off in Round 1)

Injury Updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Cody Rodeo Tyler broke his left collarbone (free arm) when he was struck by Zamperini’s horn after being bucked off in 4.39 seconds.


PUEBLO, Colo. – The last time Jose Vitor Leme stepped foot in Las Vegas, the then unknown Brazilian bull rider was on his way to stunning the PBR with his 6-for-6 performance at the 2017 PBR World Finals.

The World Finals event winner, and 2017 PBR Rookie of the Year, now returns to Las Vegas with a different set of question marks.

Leme is returning to competition this weekend at Last Cowboy Standing, presented by Ariat, at Helldorado Days after missing the last two events with a torn left ACL.

“I'm feeling good,” Leme said in a message to “I've had two weeks of treatment to strengthen my knee. I'm still not 100 percent well, but I really want to ride in Vegas because apart from being the last event before the break, it is a very important event.”

Last Cowboy Standing is the final event of the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast first half, and one rider can earn 1,250 points toward the world standings.

The event winner of the third PBR Major of the season will earn a minimum of $100,000 and 625 points toward the world standings.

Each round winner earns 125 points toward the world standings, as well.

A rider needs to reach 8 seconds to advance to the next round.

Last Cowboy Standing is a minimum of two rounds and a maximum of five. At least 25 riders will advance to Round 2, with any draw spots being filled by the current world standings heading into Last Cowboy Standing if there are less than 25 rides in Round 1.

If all riders buck off in Rounds 2, 3 or 4, then all riders that attempted a bull advance to the next round.

If there is more than one ride in the final round (Round 5), then the Last Cowboy Standing will be the rider with the highest-ride score in Round 5. If there are no rides in Round 5, then the Last Cowboy Standing will be the rider with the most round points that had competed in Round 5.

Leme is No. 6 in the world standings, 880.83 points behind world leader Claudio Montanha Jr.

The 21-year-old tore his ACL attempting to ride Shelley’s Gangster during the Tacoma 15/15 Bucking Battle.

Leme has never torn a ligament before, but Leme says he isn’t concerned.

“No. I'm calm,” Leme responded. “I cannot wait to ride again.”

Leme did not have to undergo surgery for the tear, and he has been rehabbing at Fit-N-Wise Rehabilitation and Performance Center.

As of Tuesday, Leme wasn’t planning on attempting practice bulls this week.

Leme has drawn Break Dance (1-1, PBR UTB) for Round 1.

Montanha takes on War Party (2-2, PBR UTB) on Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center. He leads No. 2 Ramon de Lima by 83. Points in the world standings.

Brazilian-born bull riders have dominated the Last Cowboy Standing format. Brazilian riders have won the last six Last Cowboy Standing events in Las Vega and eight of the past 10 Last Cowboy Standing formatted events when you include Iron Cowboy, which switched to the LCS format in 2015.

Kaique Pacheco has won back-to-back Last Cowboy Standing titles.

Pacheco has drawn Northern Moxie (1-2, PBR UTB) for Round 1.

There are out eight riders inside the Top 35 not competing in Las Vegas – No. 9 Dener Barbosa (broken right foot), No. 10 Cody Teel (broken left ankle), No. 22 Gage Gay (reconstructive right knee surgery), No. 25 Emilio Resende (left shoulder surgery), No. 26 Nathan Burtenshaw (broken right clavicle), No. 30 J.B. Mauney (broken back T1/T2), No. 31 Fraser Babbington (ineligibile) and No. 34 Chase Robbins (right shoulder surgery).

Matt Triplett and Koal Livingston continue their returns from offseason shoulder surgeries and are in the draw courtesy of injury exemptions. Triplett will have six exemptions for the stretch run to the Finals beginning in August, while Livingston will have three.

Triplett has drawn Buckle Up (0-0, PBR UTB), and Livingston will take on Pop A Top (3-3, PBR UTB).

There are six alternates and five Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour invites set to compete in Las Vegas.

The alternates competing are No. 37 Cody Heffernan (-37.5 points back of No. 35 Lucas Divino), No. 40 Juan Carlos Contreras (-52.5 points) No. 41 Brock Radford (-65 points), No. 42 Michael Lane (-82.5), No. 44 Justin Granger (-87.5 points) and No. 47 Lindomar Lino (-107.5 points).

The RVT invites are No. 42 Colten Jesse (Bangor, Maine), No. 45 Alisson Souza (Casper, Wyoming), No. 52 Junio Quaresima (Roanoke, Virginia), No. 59 Cody Rodeo Tyler (Des Moines, Iowa) and No. 63 Ouncie Mitchell (Wichita, Kansas).

Mitchell is making his premier series debut this weekend after going 1-for-2 (86 points on White Liar) in Wichita last weekend.

The 22-year-old from Fresno, Texas, is competing in his third 2018 PBR event. In his career, Mitchell is 17-for-72 (23.61 percent) in 39 events.

He is the cousin of Ezekiel Mitchell, who made his debut in Billings, Montana, two weeks ago.

Ouncie has drawn High Razor (3-2, PBR UTB) for Round 1.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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