By: Justin Felisko
September 01, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Guilherme Marchi gets one step closer to the fork in the road that is his bull riding career with every week that passes.
At 34 years old, and with 561 qualified rides on his resume, Marchi is farther down the road than most bull riders ever reach and he will one day have to decide whether to turn towards retirement or saddle up for another BFTS season.
That juxtaposition is on full display in the recent Netflix docuseries, “Fearless.”
Throughout the six episodes, Marchi’s joy and, at times, sadness can be seen as the Brazilian fan favorite talks about his past, present and future.
In one episode, Marchi tears up while recognizing the end of the road is near.
“I have always told my father and my mother, I want to die inside the arena,” Marchi says, “Doing what I love most in my life, which is bull riding. They shouldn’t be sad, no. They can rest assured that I will die happy. That I will die doing something that I always dreamed of doing. That is a death I’d like to have. To die in the arena. Die happy. Riding bulls and doing what I loved to do the most.”
Marchi can one day die happy knowing he has accomplished his childhood dreams.
He was once a 16-year-old teenager in Jacarei, Brazil, with cowboy dreams and hopes to one day own his own ranch, have a family, be a proud father and sip on Terere while his bulls grazed on the prairie and his friends drank beer.
Since then, he has won a PBR World Championship (2008), the 2005 PBR World Finals and over $4.8 million.
He has a ranch in Ferris, Texas, and is the proud father of two beautiful children.
Marchi made his dreams, and much more, come true.
“Thank God, I’ve made all of my dreams come true,” Marchi said.
Even though he is already a celebrity – his father, Ademar Luiz, calls his son the “star of the rodeo” – Guilherme understands how important the Netflix series is.
“It shows how the sport has grown,” Marchi said in a follow-up interview with PBR.com. “How the people treat us here in the United States. How they cheer and some boo. This is going to help with the rodeos, bull ridings and the PBR grow in Brazil. Everybody looks at us with different eyes now. The people in Brazil are going to support us and respect us more.
“This is a very big deal. A big deal.”
Marchi explained in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that he knows he can’t die in the arena, nor does he actually want to.
“Bull riding is what I love to do, but I hope that never does come true,” Marchi said. “That is what I told them. I wish I never die. I wish I stay here and alive. But that is not true. One day everyone is gone. I wish to die one day with no pain. Nothing. Just die.”
Professional bull riding can evolve from a sport of highs and lows into a matter of life and death in milliseconds, and Marchi’s body has felt the effects of such a dangerous sport. He currently needs reconstructive surgery on both his knees to fix a multitude of torn ligaments. Marchi also needs surgery to repair his torn right biceps.
Still, he has adamantly said he wants to continue riding for at least two more years.
“When your heart is pumping still for something you do, you know because you still are living your dream,” Marchi said. “When I am home, I miss bull riding and my buddies. For my knees, I am supposed to have surgery. In my head, if I do surgery I am going to retire. I want to ride two more years and then I am done. Then I am going to run my brand (Marchicaps) and make my (new) dream come true. Make money on that. Make my living. But I still fight. I still enjoy. I still do what I love to do. I work so hard to be in America with the top guys.
“When you dream and when you have a passion and you dedicate yourself, everything comes true.”
There has never been a question about Marchi’s passion.
During “Fearless,” Marchi lights up when he takes off his World Champion gold buckle and holds it in front of the camera. In that moment, Marchi doesn’t have the grizzled look of a bull rider that became the first in PBR history to record 500 qualified rides. Instead, he has that youthful glow that enamored fans since he first debuted on the BFTS in 2004.
It is a small, subtle reminder of just how much all of his success has meant to him.
“That’s what we we’re talking about, the gold buckle,” Marchi beams. “The dream of any cowboy, of any competitor. I’m very proud.”
Marchi has continued to battle his way on the Built Ford Tough Series. He heads into this Saturday’s WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational ranked 20th in the world standings and is coming off a sixth-place finish in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Marchi is only 13-for-37 (35.14 percent), but Tulsa was his sixth Top-10 finish in 14 events.
He has drawn Losing My Religion (5-0, BFTS) for Round 1 and Jungle (2-2, BFTS) for Round 2 in Thackerville.
“I wish I keep doing good here in the United States,” Marchi said. “I can keep it going. I feel great to go to events. I missed the PBR for the two-and-a-half months I stay in Brazil (this summer). I am here to make some money and win some events and have a good Finals.”
Marchi is very well aware that Adriano Moraes won his third World Championship in 2006 at 36 years old.
He knows he isn’t the same bull rider physically that he once was, but his heart and determination is as strong – if not stronger – as it was in 2008.
“That is true. It is never impossible,” Marchi said. “When you unlock your head, you can do whatever you want to do. It takes a lot of dedication because we are getting older. We lose strength. We lose a little bit of everything. Actually, those bulls are getting so strong too. But, like I say, you need to work hard every day more and more.
“I am living the dream.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Fearless is available to stream now for Netflix subscribers.
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