By: Justin Felisko
February 15, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – Two heavy hitters will be making their returns this weekend at the Frontier Communication’s Iron Cowboy at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Marchi and Byrne returning at Iron Cowboy (2-15-17)
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi is returning to competition after a vicious wreck in Anaheim, California, that resulted in the 34-year-old sustaining a concussion.
Marchi will first have to pass the PBR’s concussion protocol on Saturday afternoon, but the No. 30 rider in the world standings says he is doing much better after missing last weekend’s Kansas City Invitational, presented by Express Employment Professionals.
“I am feeling great,” Marchi said. “I am ready for this week. I feel like a champion.”
Iron Cowboy is a single-elimination “ride or go home” format with riders advancing to the next round by making a qualified ride.
Marchi advanced to Round 3 of the Iron Cowboy last year and appeared to have qualified for Round 4 after riding Sheep Creek, but a re-ride flag was thrown and Marchi had to attempt to ride Walk Off (6.87 seconds).
According to the PBR’s Iron Cowboy ground rules, riders must take their re-rides at Iron Cowboy.
Not only is there a $100,000 payday awaiting this year’s Iron Cowboy, but one rider can earn a maximum of 1,250 points toward the world standings. The 2017 Iron Cowboy will receive 625 of those points.
Marchi takes on Cheap Trick 2 (8-2, BFTS) on Saturday night. He previously rode Cheap Trick 2 for 84.25 points in 2013 in Nampa, Idaho.
Meanwhile, Canadian superstar Tanner Byrne is making his season debut following a six-week absence because of a practice pen wreck four days before the season opener that broke his shoulder blade and the bone that connects his collarbone and shoulder.
Byrne advanced to the final round of the 2015 Iron Cowboy before being bucked off by Boot Jack in 1.82 seconds.
The 24-year-old recently caught up with Ted Stovin of Everything Cowboy in a great article.
Byrne, who is also riding in memory of his late good friend Ty Pozzobon, explained he has participated in a month of physio rehab and also trained with Tom Ockerman in Hawaii for 10 days in preparation for Iron Cowboy.
“He’s worked with players from the NBA, NFL and fighters from the UFC,” Byrne told Stovin. “He, along with a massage therapist here in Maui have rehabbed greatly. They have me feeling no pain, physically I feel 100% again. I’m ready to come back and do some winning.”
Byrne has drawn Wired Child (18-3, BFTS) for Round 1.
Iron Cowboy is a minimum of two rounds and a maximum of five. At least 10 riders will advance to Round 2, with any draw spots being filled by the current world standings heading into Iron Cowboy if there are less than 10 rides in Round 1.
If all riders buck off in Rounds 2, 3 or 4 then all riders that attempted a bull advance to the next round.
If there is more than one ride in the final round (Round 5), then the Iron Cowboy will be the rider with the highest-ride score in Round 5. If there are no rides in Round 5, then the Iron Cowboy will be the rider with the most round points that had competed in Round 5.
Wallace de Oliveira is also returning for the first time since undergoing surgery for a broken clavicle following the season-opener in New York. He has drawn Recovery Time.
There are three riders competing in Arlington as Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour invites – 2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel (Roanoke, Virginia, winner), Kyle Jones (Portland, Oregon) and Cody Rodeo Tyler (Oakland, California).
Teel and Jones are making their BFTS debuts, as is 19-year-old Jake Gowdy.
Teel, 24, has posted six seasons with a 50 percent or higher in his PRCA rodeo career, according to ProBullStats. He takes on Killing Time (3-1, BFTS) in Round 1.
Jones is from Troy, Missouri, and is friends with fellow Missouri cowboy Mason Lowe. Jones, 23, is 7-for-22 (31.82 percent) at non-BFTS events this season. Jones faces Rooster (6-2, BFTS) in Round 1.
Gowdy won last weekend’s Grand Rapids, Michigan, Velocity Tour event to jump to 32nd in the world standings and qualify for Iron Cowboy. He is 7-for-20 (35 percent) this year at non-BFTS events. Gowdy will look to advance out of Round 1 against Biker Bob (3-1, BFTS).
There are four riders currently out of competition because of injury. Nevada Newman (shoulder surgery) Paulo Lima (broken ribs), Lachlan Richardson (torn bicep) & Aaron Roy (broken leg).
They have been replaced in the draw by No. 33 Sonny Schafferious, who went 0-for-2 in his debut last weekend, No. 34 Robson Aragao, No. 73 Fraser Babbington (visa exemption), and unranked Jorge Valdivizeo (injury exemption).
World leader Jess Lockwood (deep thigh bruise) is competing and will take on Cooper Tires Brown Sugar (36-14, BFTS) in Round 1. He leads No. 2 Rubens Barbosa by 395 points in the world standings.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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