PUEBLO, Colo. – The 2017 Built Ford Tough Series season kicks off Friday night at Madison Square Garden in New York and PBR.com will be counting down the final days of the offseason by taking a look back at the Top-5 bull riders at the conclusion of the 2016 season.
Today, we look at Kaique Pacheco, who finished the 2016 season second in the world standings.
No. 2 Kaique Pacheco
World Championships: 0
Best World Standings Finish: 2 (2015, 2016)
2016 BFTS Stats:
Riding Percentage: 53.06 percent
Top Ride: 90.25 points on Crazy Horse in Tucson, Arizona
Wins: 3 (Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Last Cowboy Standing; Charlotte)
15/15 Bucking Battle Victories: 1 (Eugene, Oregon)
Round Wins: 11
Top 10: 13
Top 5: 10
90-point Rides: 1
2016 Recap: Kaique Pacheco had entered the last day of the Built Ford Tough World Finals No. 1 in the world standings with a slim 226.58-point lead on eventual World Champion Cooper Davis.
Davis won Round 5 of the World Finals with a 91-point ride on Catfish John to overtake the world lead, while Pacheco tried to keep pace with an 81-point ride on his re-ride bull, Crossed Fingers.
In the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, it appeared as if Pacheco had a World Championship-ride locked down before being slid off the back of Slinger Jr. at the 6.46-second mark to the shock of many inside T-Mobile Arena.
The buckoff clinched the world title for Davis, and Pacheco missed out on the PBR’s prestigious gold buckle despite being ranked atop the world standings for nine of the final 11 weeks of the season.
It was the second year in a row in which Pacheco wound up the bridesmaid in the World Championship race.
Pacheco led the PBR with 52 qualified rides and 98 attempts. He became just the fourth rider to surpass the 50-ride mark in the last six years and his 53.06 riding percentage was the second-best in the organization and a career-high.
He wound up 488.42 points behind Davis in the final PBR world standings after winning three events, including Last Cowboy Standing, a 15/15 Bucking Battle in Eugene, Oregon, and placing in the Top 5 in 13 events.
2017 Outlook: Pacheco has quickly shown he has no plans of letting his two bridesmaid finishes hold him back in 2017.
If anything, coming so close to tasting $1 million success has only motivated him that much more this season.
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride believes Pacheco won’t miss a beat in 2017.
“Pacheco is probably the front runner,” McBride said. “I would put the target on his back. He is going to come out of the gate just like he left – riding awesome. He is going to be the guy to beat.”
Pacheco already competed at three Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour, going 5-for-5 in the process and tying for the victory in Hidalgo, Texas.
Pacheco demonstrated in his first full season on tour last year that he has the ability to not only ride consistently – he is 89-for-177 (50.28 percent) in his career – but that he has the skillset to win rounds as well.
The Itatiba, Brazil, native won eight of his 11 rounds in the final three months of the season. If he can win rounds at that rate beginning at the start of the 2017 season, he could be a deadly world title contender.
He also has already won a 15/15 Bucking Battle, a PBR Major and multiple PBR events.
So what does he have to do better in 2017?
Pacheco can improve his riding ability in 15/15 Bucking Battles and the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
In two years, Pacheco is only 4-for-18 (22.22 percent) in 15/15 Bucking Battles.
However, last season, Pacheco tied with Joao Ricardo Vieira for the most rides (10) in 15/15 Bucking Battles and championship rounds, according to ProBullStats. The problem was he was still only sixth in riding percentage (34.48 percent) in those rounds.
A few more rides in the championship round would result in a few more victories, and possibly a world title.
It may be nitpicking, but that is what it comes down to when you have a 22-year-old with back-to-back second-place finishes in his first two seasons.
Pacheco increased his riding percentage by over five points in 2016, if he increases by another five points in 2017 he could potentially ride 57-60 bulls on the BFTS.
Even if he doesn’t make another five-point jump, Pacheco has shown in two consecutive seasons that he is a real threat for the world title and will be again in 2017.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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