THACKERVILLE, Okla. – The odds are stacked against Guilherme Marchi as the 2008 World Champion continues to try and ride with a torn biceps in his riding arm (right).
Yet the 2008 World Champion flashed a bit of his old self in Barretos, Brazil, last weekend when he went 3-for-5, including a 90.5-point ride onWhatsapp.
He also wore a protective brace on his left knee, similar to the one he wore last year in the second half while contending for a world title with a right knee injury.
The bull power on the Built Ford Tough Series is much stronger than at PBR Brazil events, but the one area that Marchi was looking to work on when he first returned to competition in Nashville was to find a sense of trust in his arm.
Marchi knows it will be tough to contend with the biceps injury, but he is confident he can finish out the season and place within the Top 10 of the world standings for the 11th consecutive season.
He added that there was no pain in his arm in Barretos.
The No.8-ranked bull rider in the world standings is set to take on Cut The Cord (1-0, BFTS) in Round 1 on Friday night. Cut The Cord bucked off Stetson Lawrence in 2.29 seconds in Tulsa, Oklahoma, earlier this month.
Standout rookie and No. 3 bull rider Kaique Pacheco returns from Barretos and a 5-for-5 performance to take on Midnight Bender (0-1, BFTS). Midnight Bender last bucked on the BFTS in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where J.B. Mauney rode him for 87 points.
Mauney, the No. 2 bull rider in the world, will face Red Moon (1-0, BFTS) in Round 1 in his first action since injuring his left ankle in Nashville two weeks ago. Red Moon bucked off Robson Aragao in 1.83 seconds in Tulsa.
World leader Joao Ricardo Vieira is slated to face Wicked Stick (1-0, BFTS). Wicked Stick bucked off Gage Gay in 2.27 seconds.
Lachlan Richardson is returning to the BFTS for the first time since being cut following Last Cowboy Standing.
Richardson had not qualified for the past three BFTS events, but took the Touring Pro Division by storm lately.
He has gone 6-for-6 to pick up two TPD victories (Missoula, Montana, and Springdale, Arkansas) and a second-place finish in Eureka, Montana, in the last three weeks. Those three performances helped him earn 150 points toward the world standings to jump to 34th in the world standings after being ranked 45th at the beginning of August.
The 22-year-old has drawn Pearl Harbor (3-1, BFTS) in Round 1.
There are only 122.5 points separating Richardson from No. 42 Neil Holmes – the last rider in the Thackerville draw.
According to the PBR competition department, there will be 39 total riders competing in Thackerville.
No. 36 Robson Palermo, No. 37 Tyler Harr, No. 38 Alexandre Cardozo and No. 39 Douglas Duncan are in the draw because of injuries to Valdiron de Oliveira (sternum), Chase Outlaw (shoulder), Bonner Bolton (clavicle) and L.J. Jenkins (retirement).
No. 40 Luis Blanco, No. 41 Justin Paton and Holmes are competing as alternates, while Emilio Resende is using the fourth of his eight BFTS exemptions.
Resende has only earned five points toward the world standings in three events since offseason reconstructive knee surgery. He has five events remaining to try and overcome a 530-point deficit to crack the Top 35 and earn a spot for the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.