Behind the Chutes: Air Time Makes a Statement

By: Justin Felisko
February 28, 2016

Air Time is scored 45.5 points as he bucks off Guilherme Marchi. Photo By: Andy Watson/

Air Time is scored 45.5 points as he bucks off Guilherme Marchi. Photo By: Andy Watson/

ARLINGTON, Texas – Here are three things we learned from the Choctaw Casino Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki, on Saturday night.

Jared Allen’s Air Time flings World Champion Marchi in 1.93 seconds

Guilherme Marchi sat inside the bucking chute, sweat pouring down his face, and all he wanted to do was get his legs and feet comfortable.

The 2008 World Champion knew to have any chance aboard Jared Allen’s Air Time he would have to be able to get a good hold with his knees to try and gather every ounce of strength he had and counter the bucking beast.

Well, he didn’t get his wish.

Instead, Marchi was sent flailing toward the AT&T Stadium ground in only 1.93 seconds after he nodded his head for the gate.

“That son of a gun is so strong,” Marchi said. “He is so hard in the chutes too. His shoulders. He can put your legs down.”

Marchi then shook his head and let out a big sigh when asked about how high and easy Air Time flung him.

It was a buckoff for Marchi in Round 2, but an even greater statement by Air Time.

Air Time was marked an Iron Cowboy-high 45.5 points, giving him his first 45-point marking of the season, and his first since coming up short of winning the 2015 World Champion Bull title last year.

“There has been a lot of press about some other bulls, and we are not going to push the issue, but it was good that our spotted bull showed up tonight and let everybody know he is not dead,” stock contractor Matt Scharping said.

Saturday was the second consecutive out where Air Time needed less than 2 seconds to dislodge his opponent. Air Time bucked off Ryan Dirteater in only 1.61 seconds in Oklahoma City last month. Iron Cowboy was Air Time’s second out of the season.

Six of Air Time’s 19 BFTS career buckoffs have come in less than 2 seconds.

“Nobody ever gets to really see him,” Scharping said. “As bad as that sounds, a lot of people don’t get to see what that bull can do. A lot of these other bulls are rider-friendly. They are easier in the chute. They are getting shown at least 4 or 5 seconds. He is not that type of bull.”

Marchi is the third World Champion Air Time has bucked off in his last five outs and Scharping made sure to find Marchi, who had won Round 1 with an 87.5-point ride on Rebel Yell, to thank him for his cowboy effort in the chutes.

“He is going to test you in the chute and try and beat you mentally from there on,” Scharping said. “Guilherme was awesome. I was thrilled with how he handled everything and I went and thanked him for that.”

The plan now is for Air Time to buck at next weekend’s AK-Chin Invitational Built Ford Tough Series event in Phoenix.

“All of this stuff is awesome, but it don’t mean anything until we get to Vegas,” Scharping said.

Proctor moves into No. 1 world ranking with Iron Cowboy victory

Shane Proctor put an end to reigning Iron Cowboy Joao Ricardo Vieira’s dominance at AT&T Stadium by going 3-for-4 to win the 2016 Iron Cowboy championship.

Proctor earned the victory with an 81.5-point ride on DaNutso in Round 4 after advancing to the fourth round alongside Vieira, Fabiano Vieira and Rubens Barbosa.

Fabiano Vieira was bucked off by The Don in 3.38 seconds and Barbosa lasted only 3.56 seconds aboard American Hustle.

Proctor then looked on as Joao Ricardo Vieira was jostled off his bull rope by Midnight Train in 3.92 seconds.

It is the first PBR Major victory of Proctor’s 11-year career, and the 30-year-old earned a total of 885 points toward the world standings to move ahead of brother-in-law J.B. Mauney for the No. 1 ranking.

Proctor leads Mauney, who was bucked off by War Party in 1.85 seconds in Round 1, by 161.66 points heading into Phoenix.

“This feels real good,” Proctor said. “It is everything you work hard for. A couple of years ago, people were writing me off because I had two shoulder surgeries in one year and nobody knew how I would come back from it.”

Proctor began Iron Cowboy with an 87.25-point ride in Round 1 on McIntyre Transports Back for a second-place finish and 75 world standings points.

He then was bucked off by $25,000 bounty bull Asteroid in Round 2, but was given a second chance to remain in the hunt for the Iron Cowboy title seeing as all 12 riders that advanced through Round 1 bucked off in the second round.

Proctor lasted 3.68 seconds on Asteroid, who was only marked 40.25 points and skipped alongside the bucking chutes.

“I would have liked to have finished it in Round 2 with Asteroid and win another $25,000,” Proctor said. “He definitely had a trip to ride him and that is a bull with so much kick I was setting my hips and when I sat my hips on his first jump and he never kept coming and he just rocked me to the outside. I just thought I wasted an opportunity, but luckily for second chances.”

Proctor said he wouldn’t rule out a rematch with Asteroid in the future.

“I am excited to see him again for the rest of the season,” Proctor added. “I am excited to hopefully draw him one more time. It won’t be for as much money, but I am excited for the challenge. I have always said if I wanted to win it, I wanted to go against the best.”

The Grand Coulee, Washington, bull rider then rebounded by riding Hou’s Back for 85.75 points in the third round.

Joao Ricardo Vieira advanced to Round 4 with an 89.25-point ride on Who Dey, while Barbosa (88 points on JJ’s Pride) and Fabiano Vieira (85.5 points on Cooper Tires Semper Fi) also moved on.

Marchi did not advance to the fourth round despite riding Sheep Creek for 81 points in Round 3 because re-ride flags were thrown during his ride after Sheep Creek slammed himself against the bucking chutes.

According to Iron Cowboy ground rules, if any rider is given a re-ride option then he must take the re-ride option.

Marchi then was bucked off by Walk Off in 6.87 seconds.

Sheep Creek had also been scored 18.5 points by an individual judge, which, according to the PBR rulebook, also merits an automatic re-ride. If any one judge marks a bull 19 points or lower, a rider is awarded an automatic re-ride.

Joao’s push for three-peat comes up short in impressive performance

Joao Ricardo Vieira is no longer the reigning PBR Iron Cowboy after being dumped in the fourth round by Midnight Train, but the No. 3 bull rider in the world standings made two statement rides away from his riding hand.

Vieira won Round 3 with his 89.25-point ride on Who Dey for 125 world points and also rode Jack Daniel’s After Party for 86.75 points away from his hand to tie for third place in Round 1.

“Yes, they were good bulls,” Vieira said. “I feel good to ride to the right again. I came here relaxed and concentrated to ride bulls to the left or to the right. (Who Dey) was fast, fast, fast to the right. I was in perfect position.”

The round victory was Vieira’s second of 2016 and his first since winning the Built Ford Tough Championship Round in New York. Vieira leads the BFTS with 19 qualified rides this season.

The Iron Cowboy runner-up finished with 180 points toward the world standings and trails Proctor by 236.66 points.

Injury updates

According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, seven riders were competing with injuries at Iron Cowboy:  Paulo Lima (rib sprain), J.B. Mauney (torn ligament in right thumb; free hand), Cody Nance (sprained left riding hand and wrist), Justin Paton (sprained right riding hand and sprained left sternoclavicular joint), Kasey Hayes (right shoulder separation; free arm), Joao Ricardo Vieira (bruised right hamstring) and Robson Palermo (sore low back).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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