By: Keith Ryan Cartwright June 02, 2014@ 02:10:00 PM
TERRELL, Texas — Guilherme Marchi knows all too well the pressures of bull riding.
An 11-year veteran of the Built Ford Tough Series, he’s finished first or second in the world standings five times in his career and he’s climbed into the bucking chute in pressure-filled situations needing to make a qualified ride more times than he can recall.
However, the 31-year-old, who will celebrate his 32nd birthday on July 22, never felt the kind of pressure he did Friday night in Terrell, which is 30 miles east of Dallas, when his 5-year-old son, J.G., climbed atop a small mini-bull, put his hand in his rope and, like his father has more than 800 times at Built Ford Tough Series events, nodded his head.
Not only was the older Marchi hoping for a qualified ride, but he was more hopeful of a safe and injury-free dismount for the little fella.
Only 8 seconds later and he was beaming with pride on the outside for all to see at the Jeff Smiths Arena.
Inside, he was simply relieved.
“My son go on the mini bull too,” said the 2008 World Champion and the namesake of the most recent MBR event – Guilherme Marchi Invitational – on the 2014 Chris Shivers MBR Tour. “My heart—oh, he did pretty good. This is his first event and he’s so happy to be here.”
Marchi compared the pressure he felt watching J.G. to that of his own career.
“It scared me,” Marchi added. “If he gets hurt, he’s only a baby. His bones are not building yet, but he wanted to ride and he had a good one that (didn’t) buck. It’s a little bull that (didn’t) buck, just walked. It made him happy. Making my kid happy makes me happy, too.”
J.G. was marked 68 points.
The younger Marchi was one of 60 kids entered in the event that featured children ages 8 to 14. They were divided into two divisions featuring 8- to 11-year-olds and then 12- to 14-year-olds.
Marchi was behind the chutes for the entire evening helping kids ready their equipment, pulling their ropes and offering encouragement to all those who were competing.
“It’s very different for me,” said Marchi at the end of the night. “When I walk around those kids are, ‘Thank you Guilherme. Thank you for helping me. Thank you for pulling my rope.’
“I feel blessed to be here with those kids.”
Marchi said seeing the excitement on their faces reminds him of “the dreams we have when we are kids.”
On this particular night, it was as much about teaching as it was being a source of inspiration.
Also there to lend a helping hand were Shivers, Mike White and Cord McCoy, who was on hand to film an upcoming August episode of the RFD-TV series “The Ride featuring Cord McCoy.”
“I think it’s cool and an inspiration for those guys to be here,” said McCoy.
Along with J.G., Mike’s son, Logan, and Chris’ oldest son, Brand, were entered in the event.
In an interview for “The Ride,” Logan said he and Brand were traveling partners like their famous fathers. The elder Shivers shook his head, smiled and added, “I think they’ve been watching too much TV.”
Watching all three fathers – all of whom have won world titles – McCoy opined, “I think all of us have gotten so much from the sport that I don’t think it’s asking too much to give back.”
Shivers, whose involvement with the MBR will be profiled on www.PBR.com later this month, has been involved in the MBR for the past three years, while this is Marchi’s first involvement.
He was first approached by his Ferris, Texas, neighbors Sam and Tracey Laney, whose son, Zach, competes. Marchi was interested and the Laney’s got him in touch with Cirildo Leal, who along with his wife, Lillie, first organized the MBR.
Marchi said he hopes to remain involved with the organization.
According to Marchi’s wife, Patricia, Zach and the other young neighborhood boys are at the Marchi arena every chance they get, especially now that school is out of session for the summer.
“Guilherme loves the kids,” she said. “He’s like a kid and he’s always happy. He likes to help the kids ride good. He wants to show them everything.”
When they’re through practicing, Marchi is known for inviting the boys to stay and enjoy a Brazilian-style meal.
“They eat whatever Guilherme eats because they think it’s going to make them champions,” Patricia said. “They always want to learn everything that Guilherme is doing.”
PBR fans will be happy to know that in two weeks he’ll be at the Touring Pro Division event hosted by Chad Berger, in Bismarck, North Dakota, which can be seen exclusively on PBR LIVE.
Marchi said the former three-time Stock Contractor of the Year puts on one of the best TPD events of the summer – namely it offers those in the draw $20,000 added on each of the two nights – and said the always jolly Berger is a “good guy.”
Following the Last Cowboy Standing event in Las Vegas, which Marchi won, he was told to take 10 weeks off after having his ailing right knee examined by Dr. Tandy Freeman.
He said it’s sore, but otherwise feels good.
“I’m going to take care of myself, go to a couple of events and not push too much,” said Marchi, who has spent most days entertaining Fabiano Vieira and his daughter.
Vieira’s wife is expecting their second daughter in early July and is unable to travel home to Brazil at this time. Marchi and Vieira are the top two riders in the world standings.
“We just have fun and ride horses with the kids,” said Marchi, who added, “We’re ready for this year. Whoever is going to win I will be happy. I hope I’m the champion this year.”
While he’s looking to add one more gold buckle to his own collection, he’s already looking ahead to the future.
Surveying the arena, Marchi said he’s confident a future PBR champion is among the kids riding mini bulls today. In truth, the eldest of those boys is still four to five years away from making his BFTS debut.
“Pretty soon we are going to see a champion come from the MBR in the PBR,” Marchi said. “I will be happy too because a big part of my career is being here with those kids. I wish success for those kids and their dreams.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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