No. 1 Kaique Pacheco clings tightly to razor-thin 2.5-point lead over Jose Vitor Leme after unsuccessful weekend in Idaho
NAMPA, Idaho – After a wild weekend inside the Ford Idaho Center, Ramon de Lima (Rio Branco, Brazil) stood on the dirt Saturday evening in front of a sold-out crowd after capturing his first Unleash The Beast (UTB) event win of the 2023 season at the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Gem State Bucking Battle, presented by Cooper Tires.
Lima was the only rider to ride three bulls in Nampa during another weekend in which the animal athletes of the sport defeated PBR’s top riders.
With just four events remaining until the PBR World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 12-21, the world title race had a lot on the line over the two-day weekend in Nampa.
PBR World Champion and current No. 2 man in the standings Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil) remained sidelined due to injury, giving current world leader and 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil) the opportunity to gain ground – an opportunity that did not pan out as the bulls dominated the weekend.
On Friday in Round 1, Out of the Blue (Vold Rodeo/ Wyatt Bridge) tossed the 2022 PBR Team Series Nashville Stampede athlete to the ground after just 6.79 seconds. Knowing Saturday would make or break his weekend, Pacheco put it all on the line in his matchup with Back Jack (Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger). Despite being thrashed to the ground at 4.76 seconds and not punching his ticket to the championship round, Pacheco clings tightly to his razor-thin 2.5-point lead over Leme.
After coming in seventh in the opening round courtesy of his 86.5-point matchup with Fowl Play (BMC Bucking Bulls/ Jenkins Cattle), 32-year-old Lima knew that in Saturday’s Round 2 he had to get past another rank pen of bulls to continue to climb the leaderboard.
Paired with Drago (Jeb Fredericks/ Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger) as Saturday night began, the veteran Brazilian, who rode for the Austin Gamblers during the inaugural PBR Teams Series in 2022, exploded from the chutes and hung on to make the 8, collecting an 86.75-point score.
Lima then selected Fastfire (Glover Cattle/ D&H Cattle Co) as his final opponent on the weekend. With two of the world’s Top 5 bull riders and half of the Top 30 out due to injury, along with the pen of rank bulls dominating the weekend, he decided to keep the 61.25-point ride, which moved him to the top of the leaderboard.
Combined with his two previous scores, it still put him on the victor’s podium, allowing him to collect 130.5 UTB points and pick up his first event win of the season. His last event win was, in fact, in Nampa in 2022.
Lima’s 3-for-3, first-place finish moved him from No. 33 to No. 20 in the UTB standings and earned him a check for $53,122.
Capturing second place overall for the weekend was Tate Pollmeier (Ft. Scott, Kansas), a rookie from Kansas who made his league debut during the inaugural PBR Team Series season in late 2022 as part of the Oklahoma Freedom. Pollmeier was matched with Hard Not To Get (Vold Bucking Bulls) on night one of the two-day event. As he launched from the chutes, he matched the athletic bovine’s intensity until the buzzer sounded, scoring 88.75 points, the highest score of the night. to win Round 1.
He was then paired with Skeeter Peter (Dakota Rodeo/ Mark Baker/ Clay Struve/ Chad Berger) for Saturday’s Round 2.
As one of only four men to ride in Round 2, Pollmeier recorded the highest score at 87 points, punching his ticket into the final round.
The 19-year-old’s championship round ended abruptly when Ricky Vaughn (D&H Cattle Co./ Buck Cattle Co.) dispatched him after 2.49 seconds.
Pollmeier’s 2-for-3 weekend netted him 106 UTB points to move him from No. 22 to No.14 in the standings.
Texan Ezekiel Mitchell (Rockdale, Texas) rounded out the top three finishers.
Arriving in Nampa early in the week to spend time with local law enforcement and pay tribute Idaho’s first-responders, Mitchell was calm and collected as the weekend began.
On Friday night, the 25-year-old, who rode for the Austin Gamblers in the inaugural 2022 PBR Team Series, was paired with Scrapper (Howell Rodeo Company Inc./ CowPuncher Productions, LLC).
A solid 82.75-point score in Round 1 put him in 14th place on the leaderboard heading into Round 2.
Knowing he had to hit the gas on Saturday, Mitchell readied for his Round 2 matchup with Brusta (Joe & Nina Webb/ Julian/D&H Cattle Co), which captured third place in the round with a 85.25-point score.
Selecting Flapjack (Parker/ OK Corralis/ Gordon/ D&H Cattle) in the championship round, Mitchell was unable to make the 8 after the gate flew open.
Mitchell collected 61 UTB points for his third-place finish, allowing him to cruise up the leaderboard from No. 37 in the standings to No. 25.
Rafael Jose de Brito (Potirendaba, Brazil) and Austin Richardson (Dallas, Texas) shared a fourth-place finish in Nampa.
Nampa’s opening night – the 12th time the world’s premier bull riding organization has visited the city – saw a tie for second place in Round 1 between Brito and Richardson for their matching 88-point scores.
Up first in the dynamic duo was 2022 Texas Rattler Brito, paired with Sneaky Situation (Lacey Scott/ Dakota Rodeo/ Chad Berger). The muscular animal athlete was no match for the Brazilian cowboy.
Richardson was up next, rocketing from the chutes aboard Fiji (Less Than 8 Cattle Co.). As the crowd inside the Ford Idaho Center roared, the determined 2022 Austin Gambler conquered his opponent.
Despite setbacks in Round 2 when Otis (Howell Rodeo Company Inc.) dispatched Brito after 6.57 seconds and Midnight Rock (Cord McCoy/ Pioneer Bulls) launched Richardson after a mere 4.88 seconds, both cowboys punched their tickets into the championship round.
As the bulls continued to dominate the night, Brito’s matchup with Pookie Holler (Dakota Rodeo/ Brian & Ashley Pintar/ Clay Stuve/ Chad Berger) and Richardson’s matchup with Erik The Red (Tommy Julian/Craig Moore/ D&H Cattle) both ended abruptly.
Although their 1-for-3 weekends were less than hoped for, both cowboys collected 36.5 UTB points.
Starting the weekend at No. 5 in the standings, Brito’s fourth-place finish helped him keep a tight hold. He now sits 277.5 points behind Pacheco.
As the third Austin Gambler man to fall in the Top 5 in Nampa, Richardson moved from No. 39 to No. 34.
In the bullpen, the impressive 47.75-point buckoff by Domino (D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.) in his championship round matchup with Brady Turgeon (New River, Arizona) earned the esteemed animal athlete the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event title.
PBR RidePass on Pluto TV will offer re-airs and on-demand replays of every PBR UTB event and is available on desktops, laptops and mobile devices via www.pluto.tv.
The PBR Unleash The Beast next travels to Billings, Montana, for the PBR Wrangler Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, on Friday, April 14, at 7:45 p.m. MT; Saturday, April 15, at 6:45 p.m. MT; and Sunday, April 16, at 1:45 p.m. MT at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark.
PBR Unleash The Beast – PBR Gem State Bucking Battle, presented by Cooper Tires
Ford Idaho Center –Nampa, Idaho
Event Leaders (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Aggregate-Event Points)
(tie). Austin Richardson, 88-0-0-88.00-36.5 Points.
Kaique Pacheco, 0-0-0-0.00
Andrew Alvidrez, 0-0-0-0.00
Jesse Petri, 0-0-0-0.00
Dener Barbosa, 0-0-0-0.00
João Ricardo Vieira, 0-0-0-0.00
Colten Fritzlan, 0-0-0-0.00
Eli Vastbinder, 0-0-0-0.00
Marcus Mast, 0-0-0-0.00
Chase Outlaw, 0-0-0-0.00
Wyatt Rogers, 0-0-0-0.00
Guilherme Valleiras, 0-0-0-0.00
Tyler Manor, 0-0-0-0.00
Alex Cerqueira, 0-0-0-0.00
Chase Dougherty, 0-0-0-0.00
Adriano Salgado, 0-0-0-0.00
Conner Halverson, 0-0-0-0.00
Griffin Smeltzer, 0-0-0-0.00
Josh Frost, 0-0-0-0.00
Zane Cook, 0-0-0-0.00
Elizmar Jeremias, 0-0-0-0.00
Alisson De Souza, 0-0-0-0.00
Jaxton Mortensen, 0-0-0-0.00
Lane Lasley, 0-0-0-0.00