No. 2 Pacheco Leads Round 1 After First Night of PBR First PREMIER Bank/ PREMIER Bankcard Invitational
Brazilian athletes dominate three of the top five spots on night one of the individual series competition at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – As night one of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Unleash the Beast (UTB) First PREMIER Bank/ PREMIER Bankcard Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires came to a close at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, 33 of the top bull riders in the world were no match for 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil).
Arriving in Sioux Falls a mere 61.5 points behind world leader Jose Vitor Leme(Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) the “Ice Man” has a lot on the line over the three-day weekend in South Dakota. With Leme out for another weekend due to injury, it provides Pacheco the opportunity to gain ground and potentially surpass him as the world title race heats up ahead of the PBR World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, May 12-21.
As the muscular animal athletes of the PBR showcased their agility and strength, dominating all but five men on Friday night, the 28-year-old, who rode for the Nashville Stampede during the inaugural PBR Team Series in 2022, was paired withSoul King (Blake Sharp/ Cody Gill/ Marcus Cannon) as the last ride of the night.
No stranger to success in South Dakota, having won the Sioux Falls annual event twice before, the former champion launched from the chutes aboard the powerful bull. Pacheco recorded a standout 88.25 points to take the lead in Round 1.
The three-day event in Sioux Falls showcases a unique format for UTB fans. The draw features 60 riders competing in Round 1, which will involve riders split into two groups across the first two nights of competition.
Friday’s Round 1 featured the riders that will compete in Saturday’s 15/15 Bucking Battle plus 20 additional riders, while Saturday night the 25 riders who did not compete on the opening night will finish out Round 1.
On Sunday, all seeded riders and riders with exemptions are guaranteed to ride, plus any of the additional riders that recorded a qualified ride in Round 1. This will be followed by the championship round, featuring the Top 12 in the event aggregate.
Not far behind Pacheco in the chase to dominate Round 1 was fellow Brazilian cowboy Eduardo Aparecido (Gouvelandia, Brazil), now sitting in the second-place spot as the round advances.
The 32-year-old 2022 Arizona Ridge Rider in the separate PBR Team Series was paired with Hard Candy (Braun Bucking Bulls). The seasoned veteran matched his twisting bovine partner jump-for-jump to record an 87.5-point score and sail up the leaderboard.
Rounding out the trio of Brazilian riders atop the leaderboard as the first half of Round 1 concluded was Rafael Henrique dos Santos (Quitman, Georgia). The 27-year-old cowboy clinched third place with his 87-point ride aboard Show-Off (Ty Rinaldo TZ Bucking Bulls).
Oregon cowboy Dawson Branton (Jefferson, Oregon) then went on to conquer Battered & Bruised (Ty Rinaldo TZ Bucking Bulls). His ride score of 85.75 points landed him in fourth place.
Rounding out the Top 5 on the cold and snowy first night in Sioux Falls was Zane Cook (Fort Gibson, Oklahoma). Paired with Rooster Cogburn (M Rafter E Bucking Bulls), Cook readied for his ride early in the night. The Oklahoma cowboy recorded an 81-point score as Round 1 continues into Saturday.
Round 1 of the PBR First PREMIER Bank/ PREMIER Bankcard Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires continues on Saturday, April 1, at 6:45 p.m. CT, immediately followed by the special 15/15 Bucking Battle.
PBR RidePass on Pluto TV will offer re-airs and on-demand replays of every PBR UTB event. PBR RidePass is available on desktops, laptops and mobile devices via www.pluto.tv. Tune to channel 720 for the latest programming schedule.