Kaique Pacheco leads the historic 2023 championship battle, a slim 74 points – or less than one round win – ahead of No. 2 Jose Vitor Leme
Five Texans will begin the marathon event ranked inside the Top 10, attempting to become the first Lone Star State native since 2016 to be crowned PBR World Champion
FORT WORTH, Texas (May 2, 2023) – Ahead of the PBR’s (Professional Bull Riders) 30th Anniversary World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, the organization today announced 35 of the 40 riders who will compete at bull riding’s most prestigious event, as the intense battle to be crowned the 2023 PBR World Champion approaches a climactic end May 12-21 at Dickies Arena, when after eight rounds of action, one rider will earn the coveted gold buckle and $1 million bonus.
In a highly competitive season in which six riders have risen to the No. 1 rank, Kaique Pacheco, who concluded the 23-event regular season ranked first, and No. 2 Jose Vitor Leme will begin the event within 74 points of one another. The world’s Top 10 are within less than 500 points of one another.
Ten riders this year qualified for their first World Finals – two in the Top 10.
At the 2023 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast, one rider, not including ride score points, has the chance to earn a maximum 1,200 Unleash The Beast points. Each round winner will earn 80 points, with the event winner collecting 560 points. Riders will also earn points for their ride scores. Rides from 70-79.75 points will earn 7 points, 80-89.75 will earn 8 points and rides 90-99.75 will earn 9 bonus points. Should a rider register eight 90-point rides, he would earn and additional 72 world points.
The 35 qualifiers via the Unleash The Beast standings who will put it all on the line in Fort Worth are:
Kaique Pacheco (Itatiba, Brazil)
Jose Vitor Leme (Ribas do Rio Pardo, Brazil)
Dalton Kasel (Muleshoe, Texas)
Cooper Davis (Jasper, Texas)
Dener Barbosa (Paulo de Faria, Brazil)
Andrew Alvidrez (Seminole, Texas)
Boudreaux Campbell (Crockett, Texas)
Eduardo Aparecido (Gouvelandia, Brazil)
*Rafael Jose de Brito (Potirendaba, Brazil)
*Daniel Keeping (Montague, Texas)
Jesse Petri (Dublin, Texas)
*Tate Pollmeier (Fort Scott, Kansas)
Joao Ricardo Vieira (Itatinga, Brazil)
*Wingson Henrique da Silva (Navirai, Brazil)
Keyshawn Whitehorse (McCracken Springs, Utah)
Silvano Alves (Pilar do Sul, Brazil)
Ramon de Lima (Rio Branco, Brazil)
Kyler Oliver (Roy, Utah)
Rafael Henrique dos Santos (Quitman, Georgia)
Colten Fritzlan (Rifle, Colorado)
Chase Dougherty (Decatur, Texas)
Eli Vastbinder (Statesville, North Carolina)
*Braidy Randolph (Jonestown, Pennsylvania)
Ezekiel Mitchell (Rockdale, Texas)
Manoelito de Souza Junior (Itamira, Brazil)
*Guilherme Valleiras (Pirassununga, Brazil)
Lucas Divino (Nova Crixas, Brazil)
*Koltin Hevalow (Smithville, Missouri)
Derek Kolbaba (Walla Walla, Washington)
*Wyatt Rogers (Hulbert, Oklahoma)
Austin Richardson (Dallas, Texas)
Marcus Mast (Middlebury, Indiana)
*Brady Turgeon (New River, Arizona)
Chase Outlaw (Hamburg, Arkansas)
*Flavio Zivieri (Balsamo, Brazil)
*Denotes a rider who has qualified for his career-first PBR World Finals.
The final five riders will punch their tickets to the 2023 PBR World Finals via the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour Finals May 5-6 in Corpus Christi, Texas.
While 2018 PBR World Champion Pacheco was unable to compete at the final regular-season Unleash The Beast event due to injury, he qualified to the eighth World Finals of his career as the No. 1-ranked rider in the world. Pacheco led the world for the final six weeks of the season after overtaking the top spot in early April, briefly holding a season-best 182-point lead over No. 2 Leme.
After an early season win in Duluth, Georgia, Pacheco’s rise to the No. 1 rank began in mid-March in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when he earned his second Unleash The Beast event of the season. Just three events later, Pacheco chased down No. 1 Leme and surpassed him by 2.5 points via a third-place result in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
In addition to his two event wins, Pacheco’s season has included three 90-point rides and six round wins. Pacheco also won the 2023 Mason Lowe Award when he delivered the high-marked ride of the season in late January in Indianapolis, Indiana, dominating Ricky Vaughn (D&H Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.) for a mammoth 93 points.
Should Pacheco be crowned the 2023 PBR World Champion, he would become just the eighth multi-time World Champion in PBR history. The title would also come approximately six months after he helped lead the Nashville Stampede to the inaugural PBR Team Series Championship, in what was one of the sport’s greatest Cinderella stories.
Leme is chasing history of his own. The two-time PBR World Champion is attempting to become just the third three-time gold buckle winner in PBR’s history.
The stoic Brazilian delivered one of the most consistent seasons of all competitors, logging a PBR-best three event wins, including winning his first two events of the season in New York City and Chicago, in addition to recording four 90-point rides and seven round wins.
Despite being sidelined for the first five events of the 2023 individual season due to injury, Leme quickly asserted his dominance, surging to the No. 1 rank and maintaining the top position for eight weeks. He was one of six different riders to hold the No. 1 rank during the season, maintaining the position the longest.
Leme was inevitably surpassed in the rankings due to an injury which sidelined him following the Unleash The Beast’s return to New Orleans in mid-March, keeping him out of competition for six events. Making his triumphant return to competition in the Unleash The Beast’s regular season finale in Louisville, Kentucky, Leme rode in prime form, delivering two 90-point, round-winning rides to finish second and decimate Pacheco’s lead to fewer than 100 points.
Pacheco and Leme are followed closely by eight riders within fewer than 550 points of one another. The remainder of the Top 10 includes: No. 3 Dalton Kasel (-231.34), No. 4 Cooper Davis (-334.5), No. 5 Dener Barbosa (-354.17), No. 6 Andrew Alvidrez (-365), No. 7 Boudreaux Campbell (-379.34), No. 8 Eduardo Aparecido (-384.5), No. 9 Rafael Jose de Brito (-425) and No. 10 Daniel Keeping (-545.67).
The Top 10 features a strong Texas presence with five riders ranked inside the threshold hailing from the Lone Star State: Kasel (Muleshoe), Davis (Jasper), Alvidrez (Seminole), Campbell (Crockett) and Keeping (Montague). Should any of these contenders be crowned the 2023 PBR World Champion they would become the first Texan since Davis in 2016 to earn the coveted gold buckle.
Looking down the standings, the second PBR World Finals in Fort Worth will feature a local competitor in No. 38 Austin Richardson who has qualified for his fourth career appearance at bull riding’s crown jewel.
PBR also revealed the World Finals bullfighters who will take to the dirt to protect the best bull riders in the world. Cody Webster, Lucas Teodoro, Nathan Harp and Bryce Redo will be vigilant throughout each 8-second ride or wreck throughout the week.
The 2023 PBR World Finals Week will feature an action-packed lineup of programming from May 12-21 across Fort Worth, Texas. Accompanying the high-adrenaline competition on the dirt inside Dickies Arena as riders battle for the title of PBR World Champion, the organization will host its Dirty 30 celebration at Billy Bob’s on May 17, headlined by renowned comedian Larry the Cable Guy and country music stars Ryan Bingham and Chris Janson, in addition to a myriad of events in the iconic Stockyards and Cowtown Coliseum including Women’s Rodeo World Championship Week, Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, and more.
Featuring seven long rounds and a championship round of competition, the 2023 PBR World Finals opening weekend will take place at Dickies Arena Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13 at 7:45 p.m. CT, and Sunday, May 14 at 1:45 p.m. CT.
During the opening weekend, Cole Hauser, the new brand Ambassador and creative partner of PBR, will begin shooting a highly anticipated new campaign for the red-hot sport. Fans in attendance on Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13 will witness and be a part of elements of the new brand campaign that will be seen across traditional and social media as well as PBR programming on CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network.
The action continues Thursday, May 18, Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20 at 7:45 p.m. CT, concluding on Sunday, May 21 at 1:45 p.m. CT.
Rounds 1, 3, 4 and 6 will be populated by a random draw, while Rounds 2, 5 and 7 will feature a draft format. The championship round will be pre-set. The YETI PBR World Champion Bull and Bull of the Final contenders will buck in Rounds 2, 4, 7 and the championship round.
Single-day tickets for the 2023 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast event are on sale now, and start at $27.50, plus fees. Tickets can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com and PBR.com, at the Dickies Arena Box Office or by calling PBR customer service at 1-800-732-1727. The Dickies Arena Box Office is open Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. CT and on event days.
CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) will broadcast every round of the PBR World Finals LIVE, while CBS Television Network will bring viewers two highlight specials. The coverage schedule is:
PBR RidePass on Pluto TV will offer re-airs and on-demand replays of every PBR Unleash The Beast and Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event. PBR RidePass is available on desktops, laptops and mobile devices via www.pluto.tv. Click here for on-demand PBR programming.
For more information about the 2023 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast and to see the complete event schedule, visit https://pbr.com/event-schedule/event/4849/2023-pbr-world-finals.
Stay tuned to PBR.com for the latest news and results and be sure to follow the sport on all social media platforms at @PBR.
About PBR (Professional Bull Riders):
PBR is the world’s premier bull riding organization. More than 800 bull riders compete in more than 200 events annually across the televised PBR Unleash The Beast tour (UTB), which features the top bull riders in the world; the PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour (PWVT); the PBR Touring Pro Division (TPD); and the PBR’s international circuits in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. In 2022, PBR launched the PBR Team Series—eight teams of the world’s best bull riders competing for a new championship—as well as the PBR Challenger Series with more than 60 annual events nationwide. The organization’s digital assets include PBR RidePass on Pluto TV, which is home to Western sports. PBR is a subsidiary of Endeavor, a global sports and entertainment company. For more information, visit PBR.com, or follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/PBR, Twitter at Twitter.com/PBR, and YouTube at YouTube.com/PBR.