By: Justin Felisko
May 25, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi picked up his bull rope inside the Las Vegas Village two weeks ago and shook his head as More Big Bucks celebrated a 2.22-second buckoff of the Brazilian superstar.
Marchi couldn’t help but think about how he let another golden opportunity slip by him this year.
After being eliminated in Round 2 of Last Cowboy Standing, the 34-year-old headed into the Built Ford Tough Series summer break ranked 22nd in the world standings.
It is almost shocking in ways to see the perennial Top-10 rider ranked so far down in the world standings, especially when you consider he is tied for the fifth-most qualified rides (20) on the BFTS this season.
Marchi, though, said it is easy to pinpoint the problem this year.
“I just think I haven’t had any good luck in the championship rounds,” Marchi said. “I haven’t been finishing. I have made a lot of championship rounds, but I wasn’t finishing strong. I am only picking up a couple points every event.”
Marchi is only 2-for-11 in the championship round and 15/15 Bucking Battles through 15 BFTS events.
His 18.18-percent riding percentage in the championship round is a stark contrast from his 46.22 percent average during his 14-year career.
Marchi is statistically one of the greatest championship-round riders to ever compete in the PBR. He has the most championship round & 15/15 Bucking Battle rides all time with 104.
No other rider has eclipsed 100 rides combined in those rounds.
Marchi understands that to get back into the Top 10 of the world standings he will need to convert in the championship round once the BFTS resumes on Aug. 12 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Until then, Marchi plans to continue to stay in riding shape by competing at select PBR Brazil events during the summer.
Marchi will be making his 2017 PBR Brazil debut next week on June 1 at the Divinaexpo in Divinopolis, Brazil.
“I want to finish strong again this year,” Marchi said. “I want to work hard for getting on bulls at home. I will be in Brazil in the summer. I will go to some events so that I will come back ready and strong.”
Marchi is one of four Brazilian BFTS superstars electing to compete in Divinopolis.
Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves, world No. 2 Kaique Pacheco and No. 8 Joao Ricardo Vieira are also tentatively in the draw.
Marchi grew up six-and-a-half hours southwest of Divinopolis in the coastal city of Leme.
“Those events over there are fun,” Marchi said. “That is where I am from. That is my country. Our fans expect us to come home and ride over there. The bulls are different. The bulls are not rank like here. It is fun because there are a lot of outside events compared to here.”
“It’s my third year at this event,” Vieira said. “(To) have the buckle of champion of Divinaexpo would make any competitor proud. With me, this would not be different. I hope to match the expectation and do a good job there, and, who knows, (maybe) leave with the title of champion.”
The winner of Monster Energy PBR Brazil events earn 80 points toward the world standings. Riders placing second through sixth also earn points (50, 30, 20, 15, 10).
Divinopolis is the beginning of a busy first weekend of June.
Not only is the PBR Brazil event going on, but so too will the PBR Canada Major in Quebec City on June 2-3 and J.W. Hart’s Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event in Decatur, Texas, on June 3.
Marchi said it is important that the Brazilian riders in the United States remember where their careers first began before they became international superstars.
“Of course,” Marchi replied. “It also helps build the sport over there. We are stars over there today. Everybody is looking to see the best bull riders over there. We have really good riders down there. You see the young guys come from Brazil and do so well here. It is fun for us. We unlock the head a little bit, go have fun and ride some bulls.”
2017 has been a well-documented and historic season for Marchi.
Marchi became the first rider to reach the prestigious 600-ride mark in Billings, Montana, in April, while also being placed on the cover of Men’s Fitness.
Still, he isn’t satisfied.
“You know what, I feel I am not having a pretty good year. It is just good,” Marchi said. “I feel good, but I need to ride better. I am strong with no pain. I am working to stay strong and healthy.”
He later added, “Everything is going my way in my life. That is the key. You need to be happy and enjoy your life and do your job good and have fun.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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