By: Justin Felisko
February 28, 2016
ARLINGTON, Texas – It was déjà vu all over again on Sunday afternoon for Guilherme Marchi.
With a potential shot at $1 million on the line at RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN, the 2008 World Champion once again had to conquer one of the top bucking bulls in the PBR less than 24 hours after being flung by Jared Allen’s Air Time.
On Sunday afternoon, Marchi was matched against rising bovine star Pearl Harbor in the long round of THE AMERICAN and was left licking his wounds similar to Saturday night during the Choctaw Casino Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki.
After a few minutes Sunday in the bucking chute, Pearl Harbor leaped out into the arena at AT&T Stadium and was able to yank Marchi down in 4.03 seconds for his first buckoff of a PBR World Champion in his career.
“That bull is so long and so big, too,” Marchi said. “When he put his front feet on the ground, he makes his shoulder (so big). He has a lot of power, and I waited for him to come away from my hand and he didn’t. He moved me into the well and to the outside. I didn’t cover him, he beat me today. I tried and gave it everything I got.”
Other Built Ford Tough Series Semi-Finals qualifiers Mason Lowe and Wallace de Oliveira also bucked off during the long round of THE AMERICAN.
Saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell won the $1 million bonus by winning THE AMERICAN Triple Crown with a 90.75-point ride Sunday afternoon. Sundell has won three straight saddle bronc titles at THE AMERICAN.
Instead of being frustrated about coming up short of his pursuit at a potential $1 million as a Semi-Final qualifier for THE AMERICAN or about failing to win the Iron Cowboy, Marchi was excited about the future.
Marchi felt that for the first time this season things clicked for him physically and mentally. After deciding to not undergo offseason surgery to repair torn ligaments in both his knees, as well as surgery on his torn bicep in his riding arm, Marchi had been waffling back-and-forth between showcasing the kind of confidence that he has been known for in his 13-year career.
It was hard not to find Marchi whooping and hollering in the locker room or out on the bucking chutes, even after being eliminated from both marque events.
Marchi used a Round 1 winning ride on Rebel Yell (87.25) during the Iron Cowboy to move from 35th in the world standings to 23rd.
The 33-year-old then was able to pick himself back up despite the two hard buckoffs.
“This weekend builds my confidence,” Marchi said. “I know next week, and going forward, I am going to do good. I faced the toughest bulls here this week. I am ready. After today, I hit so hard into the ground, and I made a big movement on the top of the bull and I still sore a little bit on my ribs, but I feeling great. I am so happy. I came here very positive. I had a lot to think about. I am happy to cover the bull.”
Marchi believes both Air Time and Pearl Harbor will be in the World Champion Bull race come the Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Nov. 2-6, but he didn’t hesitate about which bull was stronger in Texas this weekend.
“Air Time is still the strong one,” Marchi said. “He don’t need to prove nothing. Everybody knows about him. He one of those tough bulls and is very electric. He love to buck.”
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert was impressed with both bulls this weekend, but gave the nod to Air Time over Pearl Harbor.
“Guilherme did a good job getting out of the chute on him and Air Time really bucked,” Lambert said. “He was strong. He dropped and he came through like he was supposed to.”
Lambert also added that he can’t put Asteroid at the top of his World Champion contender list following the bull’s 40.25-point performance at Iron Cowboy, but that he still felt Asteroid is the best bull in the PBR.
“I can’t put Asteroid in the lead anymore, but I still think he is the best bull here,” Lambert said. “What happened with Asteroid is he wanted to turn back to the left as fast as he could and he didn’t have room. So what he normally does in that case is go to the right and Shane was leaning way over to the right bucked off and Asteroid wouldn’t pick him up and he went straight. It was not really a knock on how great Asteroid is. It is nothing to worry about.”
Marchi has faced Asteroid one time in his career. Asteroid bucked him off in 4.86 seconds for a 46-point bull score at the 2013 BFTS event in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
After getting on two rank bulls in a 24-hour span, Marchi was ready for the quick drive home to Decatur, Texas, and rest for the upcoming AK-Chin Invitational next weekend in Phoenix.
“I am not 100 percent and not 50 percent too. I am in the middle,” Marchi said. “I hope I can still do what I do and finish strong this year. I want to be in the Top 10 again.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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