LINCOLN, Neb. – 2021 world title contenders Kaique Pacheco and Cooper Davis took another small step up world No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme’s mountain this weekend at the PBR Cooper Tires Invitational in Lincoln, Nebraska, but both riders could have done a lot more damage.
Pacheco, the No. 2 ranked bull rider in the world, and Davis, the No. 3, each went into the Championship Round Sunday a perfect 2-for-2 and had selected bulls they had never bucked off of in their careers as they hoped to snag one more event win before the 2021 PBR World Finals in Las Vegas (Nov. 3-7).
However, both riders were surprisingly dusted in the championship round in buckoffs that may prove costly when looking back at the 2021 World Championship race.
Pacheco entered the championship round in sixth place and drafted Speed Demon.
The 2018 World Champion was previously 2-for-2 aboard Speed Demon last season before the Chad Berger Bucking bull quickly downed him in 3.06 seconds on Sunday.
This weekend was the second straight event in which Pacheco left crucial points in the world title race on the table. Last week, Pacheco entered the championship round in Manchester, New Hampshire, leading the event only to be bucked off by Mike’s Motive in 3.29 seconds.
Regardless, Pacheco has certainly put himself right in the mix for the 2021 World Championship.
Pacheco heads into next weekend’s 2021 Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals on Oct. 30-31 at the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center, where he can earn an additional 105 world points, 607 points behind Leme.
One rider can earn a maximum of 1,094 world points at the World Finals – 560 for winning the event average.
Pacheco earned 28 world points this weekend in Lincoln, and he has picked up 259 points on Leme since the reigning World Champion was injured last month in Newark, New Jersey.
Prior to his buckoff in the champ round, Pacheco was locked in, riding Last Chance for 87.25 points in Round 2 and keeping his chin tucked and body in near perfect position.
“That is really important, that is 99% of the ride,” Pacheco said of keeping his head down. “If you lose your vision, you are going to lose your movements. You need to stay focused on the bull’s shoulder because his head moves all the time. If you focus on the shoulders, you see everything that happens outside, but you need to keep your focus there. The center position is important.”
Davis, meanwhile, was sitting third in the event when he selected WSM’s Trail of Tears in the championship round draft, but he ultimately only lasted only 4.05 seconds on him inside Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Davis previously won the UTB event earlier this season roughly 60 miles away in Omaha, Nebraska, with a 92.25-point ride. Davis also previously had ridden Trail of Tears for 90.75 points at the 2019 PBR World Finals.
Instead of notching his third event win of the season, Davis will find himself still 749 points behind Leme after earning 40 world points with a sixth-place finish in Lincoln.
Davis does not intend on competing at the Velocity Tour Finals next weekend, but he did leave Lincoln with the confidence in his injured right groin after going 2-for-3, including an 88-point ride on his Round 2 re-ride bull Space Force.
“I felt like I was everywhere on that bull,” Davis said prior to the championship round. “I knew he wasn’t going to feel good, but I just knew I had to keep fighting to get back into the middle and he was going to get me out of position a bunch of times and that is what he did. Groin feels good, elbow is a little sore, but that happens when you get strung out a little bit. That was a really good bull to have and a test on that groin heading into the Finals. A bull pushing back like that puts a lot of pressure on that groin so things like that make you know you are healthy and you are ready to go.”
4 RIDERS MATHEMATICALLY STILL ALIVE FOR 2021 PBR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
There are officially only four riders remaining in the 2021 World Championship race with a maximum of 1,199 world points left for one rider to possibly earn at the Velocity Tour and World Finals – No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme (2,100.5 points), No. 2 Kaique Pacheco (-607 points), No. 3 Cooper Davis (-749) and No. 4 Joao Ricardo Vieira (-1,044).
Article Courtesy of PBR
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media