By: Keith Ryan Cartwright May 11, 2014@ 10:00:00 AM
LAS VEGAS ― One of the most predictable geysers in Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful was the first one to receive a name in 1870 and it’s erupted nearly every 91 minutes since.
The bull riding equal to Old Faithful is certainly Guilherme Marchi.
He’s been unequalled and unmatched since making his Built Ford Tough Series debut in 2004.
In an event like The Last Cowboy Standing, if the competition gives the most consistent bull rider of the past decade a second chance to make another great impression, a guy like Marchi, who has a career riding average of 60.57 percent, is likely to ride away with the victory.
That’s exactly what the 2008 World Champion did Saturday night in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
“Las Vegas is the best place to ride bulls,” said Marchi. “You know, all the money is here. … I’m glad for everything.”
He earned $100,000 for the event win and left Las Vegas with a total of $115,900.
“I never had this buckle before and I’ve been coming here every year,” Marchi added. “It’s so hard and (these) bulls are so strong.”
After bucking off Kujo in the first round on Friday, the 31-year-old rode two of three bulls on Saturday night to win his first BFTS event of 2014 and reclaim the No. 1 spot in the world standings. He’s been the No. 1 rider in the world 11 of the past 12 weeks.
“Guilherme said he didn’t feel sad when he lost the spot, but I know he felt it,” said his wife, Patricia. “Everybody does when they do. I knew in this event he could go to first again because he likes to be first.
“It’s a good position and a lot of pressure, but he likes the pressure. With more pressure he can ride better.”
Marchi credited his 20th regular-season career event win to drawing good bulls on the second day of the event, including his first career matchup with Bushwacker, who was given a last-minute $25,000 bonus.
Marchi had closed out a frugal opening round by bucking off Kujo, but with only 11 of 50 riders making the whistle, he was the first of 14 drawn back into the 25-man second round. He made the most of his second chance and rode Past Time for 87.75 points.
He was second in the round and moved back to within 12.69 points of Fabiano Vieira for the overall lead in the world standings.
Vieira, who was out after dislocating his right shoulder last week, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, had held a slim 190.44-point lead over Marchi going into the weekend.
Marchi then drew Bushwacker in Round 3.
He was unsuccessful in making the 8-second whistle just like 54 of the previous 55 riders to face the two-time World Champion Bull at BFTS events.
However, he accomplished what owner Julio Moreno had hoped for, which was for a rider to approach the four-second mark. Marchi bucked off at 3.88 seconds and judges saw enough of the retiring bovine to mark him 46 points.
“He’s the best bull,” said Marchi. “He bucked me off so fast and he’s so strong.”
Luckily for Marchi, all five riders competing in Round 3 – Silvano Alves, Sean Willingham, Markus Mariluch, Renato Nunes and Marchi – came down early in setting up the decisive fourth round, where Marchi’s son Joao Gabriele – “I think he give me luck” – drew a chip corresponding with Rango.
Marchi rode him for 89.5 points after watching Nunes, Willingham and Mariluch come down well short of the 8-second whistle.
Once Alves bucked off Honey Hush, the round win and, more importantly, event-win moved Marchi back atop the world standings by 576.81 points.
“I never give up,” said Marchi, who added that competing week after week against the best riders in the world on the rankest bulls is relentlessly difficult. “I hope I’m still leading after the (World) Finals.”
“Guilherme won and it was a very good ride,” said Alves, the previous Last Cowboy Standing the past two years.”
According to Alves, he doesn’t see it as a competition between riders. Instead, he added, “He’s my best friend and I’m very happy for Guilherme to win.
It is safe to say Marchi has earned a 13-week break from the BFTS.
He plans to stay in Ferris, Texas, long enough to a host the Guilherme Marchi Invitational, which is a mini-bull riding event in nearby Terrell for kids ages 8 to 14. Marchi then will travel home to Brazil in early June to compete at PBR Brazil events in Americana and Pilar do Sul.
In the meantime, Marchi, who’s been bothered by a sore knee, said he’s ready for the break.
“I want to have fun and come back strong again after the break.”
Patricia added, “I’m so proud of him.”
The couple met when Marchi was merely 15 years old, exchanged wedding vows five years later and have been married for the past 12 years. They have two kids: Manuela and J.R.
“Every ride is emotional,” she said.
Marchi said, “I was focused on my confidence for this event. It’s a lot of work.
“God supports me all the time.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC
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