By: Justin Felisko
March 04, 2017
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the Jacksonville Invitational Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Arena.
Marchi 10 rides away from 600 (3-4-17)
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi is getting closer to history following his 87-point ride on Red Fury.
The 34-year-old now has 590 career rides on the Built Ford Tough Series and is 10 rides away from becoming the first rider to record 600 qualified rides at the PBR’s highest level of competition.
“We are getting closer,” an animated Marchi said. “It feels good. I feel strong. I see the bull. I feel so light. That bull come to the right and away from my hand. I see everything. I am so happy for everything and to have a very good ride today.”
Marchi finished Round 1 tied with Luciano de Castro (87 points on Ante Up) for second-place. Marchi earned 55 points toward the world standings and moves up three spots to No. 23.
The 14-year veteran is one of only two riders in PBR history to ride 500 or more bulls on the BFTS.
2004 World Champion Mike Lee picked up career ride No. 516 during Round 1 when he began the event with 83.75 points on Scream Tested.
Marchi will look to earn his 20th career victory Sunday afternoon.
He has drawn St. Patty (1-0, BFTS) for Round 2.
Make sure to stay tuned to the PBR’s social media channels and PBR.com as the PBR counts down Marchi’s Road to 600 throughout the month of March.
Livingston wins Round 1 during impressive rookie night
18-year-old rookie Koal Livingston won Round 1 with a career-high 87.5 point ride on Ram It after accepting his re-ride option.
“Man, he was right there to the right and a good one to get on,” Livingston said.
The decision paid off big time as Livingston was able to hold off 19 other riders with a qualified ride for the victory.
Saturday night was an impressive one for Livingston and the three talented Rookie of the Year candidates from Brazil.
Fresh on Livingston’s heels was 2015 PBR Brazil champion Luciano De Castro.
Castro’s 87-point ride was a career-high, while Claudio Montanha Jr. (85.25 points on Lights Out) tied with two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney (85.25 points on Mr. Big Stuff) and Chase Outlaw (85.25 points on Johnny B) for fifth-place in the round.
“Shoot, they are all riding really good,” Livingston said. “I try not to really pay attention to it and just ride everything I get on. I give it everything I got every time and just do what I do.”
Castro, with the help of Robson Palermo translating, said, “I am so happy all the rookies are doing good. In Brazil, all three of us competed there and now here we are doing it too. I am so proud to see us all doing good.”
Livingston has been riding with an unstable free arm all season long and said it has been a struggle trying to get by the ranker bulls of the PBR without being close to healthy.
He had bucked off eight in a row prior to his round win.
“My shoulder is not healthy at all,” Livingston said. “I can go reach out to crawl away and it will come out. Certain movements just do it. Last week, I went to crawl away from Power Plant and it came out. Nothing even happened. I was just crawling.”
Livingston hasn’t been riding with a shoulder brace and instead has elected to focus on rehabbing during the week.
“The brace wasn’t doing jack so I just threw it off,” he admitted. “I’m using bands working out to try and save it.”
Livingston earned 100 points toward the world standings to not only jump up to the No. 24 ranking, but to fourth in the Rookie of the Year standings.
The Burleson, Texas, bull rider has a phenomenal draw for Round 2 Sunday afternoon against King Buck (10-26, BFTS) and may be in position to win another round, and perhaps even the event.
Livingston has won three rounds at the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour level this season, but Saturday was his first BFTS round win.
“It feels so good,” Livingston said. “It is a dream come true.”
2016 Rookie of the Year Jess Lockwood, as an 18-year-old, won a record-setting seven rounds last year.
If he rides like he did Saturday, Livingston may join Lockwood as a Rookie of the Year.
“That is the goal,” Livingston concluded. “It would be very special.”
Buttar makes his return with fourth-place finish
Dakota Buttar is not Rookie of the Year eligible because of his 30th place finish in the 2016 world standings, but Buttar began 2017 with only one regular-season BFTS event on his resume.
You could argue that, experience-wise, Buttar is basically a rookie and going through the same learning process as Livingston, Castro, Montanha and Barbosa.
“This is only my sixth one, but I am starting to feel a lot better,” Buttar said. “I have a lot of confidence coming in regardless of what bulls are drawn.”
Buttar finished fourth in Round 1 with 86.5 points on GAH’s Lil Man for 40 world points.
The two-time Canadian Professional Rodeo Association champion had missed the past two weeks because of a concussion. He was cleared to return to competition on Saturday after passing the PBR’s concussion protocol.
“This helps my confidence a lot,” Buttar said. “After Kansas City, my head was a little unsure coming into today with everything that has gone on the last few months with Ty (Pozzobon.). It was really tough. That hits close to a guy when that happen.”
Buttar is up to 30th in the world standings following his Round 1 performance.
The 24-year-old takes on Classic Whoppin’ (6-4, BFTS) in Round 2.
“My body needed some time off,” Buttar said. “It is tough going week after week. For the last couple of months, I had only been home for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Traveling really gets to you.”
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Mason Lowe sprained his right shoulder when he landed on his right elbow after being bucked off by Whiskey in 2.6 seconds. Lowe is questionable for Round 2.
Wallace de Oliveira is questionable for Round 2 after sustaining a concussion in Round 1. Oliveira was bucked off by Purina Athlete in 4.63 seconds.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2017 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.