By: Justin Felisko
March 18, 2017
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Here are three things we learned from the Ty Murray Invitational, presented by Isleta Resort and Casino, Friday night at WisePies Arena, aka The Pit.
Marchi gets career ride 594 (3-17-17)
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi is one ride closer to making history.
Marchi easily rode Parachute for 86.25 points into his right-riding hand for career ride 594.
The 34-year-old is now six rides away from becoming the first rider in PBR history to reach 600 qualified rides.
“594!” Marchi said with his famous smile beaming from cheek to cheek. “Getting closer. Only six more bulls to getting 600 bulls. I am so happy to cover that bull. He is a strong bull to the right. I am so happy to draw a good bull like that. He made me work hard.”
The ride is Marchi’s 13th of the season and helped him finish in a three-way tie for fifth place in the round.
Cody Rodeo Tyler (86.25 points on Vegas Lights) and J.W. Harris (86.25 points on Chute Boss) tied with Marchi.
All three riders earned 16.6 points toward the world standings.
Marchi is ranked 19th in the world standings.
However, right now the focus is solely on Marchi’s pursuit of 600 rides, and he has drawn Bar Down (3-0, BFTS) for Round 2 on Saturday night.
Fans can watch Round 2 exclusively on PBR LIVE beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET.
The extra attention on him is fueling his fire as well.
“It is motivation,” Marchi said. “I want to reach 700 bulls now. You try to beat your records. That will be my next motivation.”
Marchi may have been a little too jacked up by the energy of the 6,791 in attendance at The Pit, but he doesn’t think it is completely out of the realm of possibility.
“I am in great shape,” Marchi said, grinning. “I can get to 700 in two years.”
Wing jumps away from the cutline with round win
Stormy Wing was hanging on to a BFTS draw spot by the thinnest of hairs, but his sensational 88.5-point ride on Switch Hitter has him comfortably away from the dreaded cutline for the near future.
Wing won Round 1 with his best ride of the season for 100 world points and jumps from 33rd in the world standings to 25th.
“I slid up there and felt good,” Wing said. “I don’t know if they hung a gate or what, but he came out and about broke my toe. After that it was around to the left and felt good.”
Claudio Montanha Jr. finished second in Round 1 with an 87.75-point ride on Acting Crazy. The current PBR Rookie of the Year leader earned 60 points toward the world standings.
Stetson Lawrence and Troy Wilkinson tied for third place after recording identical 86.5-point scores.
Lawrence reached rode Juicy Fruit, while Wilkinson covered Roll of the Dice. They took home 45 world points.
Wilkinson had bucked off the first 19 bulls of his career prior to getting career ride No. 1 in Albuquerque and was happy to finally get that monkey off his back.
“It was pretty darn good,” Wilkinson said. “I was getting pretty sick of PBR showing me fall off all the time. I watched video of him during the week and I knew he was around to the right and fast and good. I like bulls away from my hand a lot and he suited me.”
Meanwhile, Wing switched out his American bull rope to a Brazilian-styled rope a little over a month ago and has ridden four of his last seven bulls attempted.
“I am finally getting my Brazilian rope figured out,” Wing said. “I really like it. It is not hurting my hand as much. You don’t change your style much. I was just doing some things wrong. I had to get some stuff figured out and my head.”
Wing takes on Cracker Breaker (4-1, BFTS) in Round 2 on Saturday night.
“I got a bucker tomorrow,” Wing said.
Only two Top-10 riders record qualified rides
A strong start to Round 1 petered out later in the evening as the Top 10 riders got dominated by the bulls.
Only two riders – Chase Outlaw and Marco Eguchi – inside the Top 10 of the world standings were able to reach the 8-second mark.
Outlaw finished 11th in the round with 83.5 points on J-Dub, while Eguchi turned down his re-ride option following 74.5 points on Thunderstruck.
Neither rider picked up world points to gain ground on world leader Eduardo Aparecido, who was bucked off by Scotty’s Crossroads in 6.93 seconds.
“I had seen two videos, and that bull normally turns to the right,” Eguchi said. “He had a different trip today. I kept my score. It is three-day event. I am just getting back.”
Eguchi was returning to competition after missing the Bad Boy Mowdown in Little Rock, Arkansas, last weekend because of two broken ribs.
The No. 8 bull rider in the world standings sustained the injury a month ago at Iron Cowboy.
“Trying to breathe hurts,” a winded Eguchi said after his 15th-place ride in Albuquerque. “Deep breaths hurt.”
Eguchi immediately sat down near rider walk off and crouched over.
“I don’t feel it when I ride really,” Eguchi said. “We will see how the rest of the event goes.”
Eguchi takes on Too Smooth (3-0, BFTS) in Round 2 and Outlaw has a matchup against Texicali (13-10, BFTS).
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Rubens Barbosa is probable for Round 2 after bruising his back when he was bucked off by X’tendabull in 5.87 seconds during Round 1.
Ryan Dirteater is listed as questionable for Round 2 with undisclosed injuries after he was slammed by Losing My Religion in 3.59 seconds, and Shane Proctor is also questionable after sustaining a concussion when More Big Bucks disposed of him in 2.39 seconds.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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