By: Justin Felisko
March 31, 2017
SIOUX Falls, S.D. – 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi does not have a pick for this coming weekend’s NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Final Four, but the 34-year-old would like to bet on himself when it comes to Marchi mania coming to fruition.
Marchi has a chance to become the first rider in PBR history to record 600 rides on the elite Built Ford Tough Series this weekend at the First PREMEIR Bank PREMIER Bankcard Invitational.
He will enter the 12th BFTS event of the season with 597 career rides under his belt prior to his Round 1 matchup against Highway 37 (0-0, BFTS) and Round 2 meeting vs. Banjo (6-0, BFTS).
If Marchi qualifies for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round on Sunday afternoon, Marchi will have four shots at earning three qualified rides inside the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
“Three more until 600,” Marchi said. “We are getting close. I hope I can get it done this week.”
The PBR has been encouraging fans to participate in a bracket challenge game called Marchi Mania to determine which ride is the greatest of Marchi’s 14-year career.
“They have had a bunch of my good rides,” Marchi said, grinning. “Because of social media and Men’s Fitness Magazine, everywhere I go people come asking me to sign pictures.”
Friday is the kickoff of the Final Four round of voting.
Marchi’s 89.5-point ride on Wicked from the 2014 15/15 Bucking Battle in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is up against his 2008 world title clinching 87.5-point ride on Rewind.
“I will never forget that one too because that was my dream,” Marchi said. “I was (runner-up) three times in a row and finally I got it in 2008. I won the title on Saturday. The day before the last day. I rode 73 percent of my bulls that year. I just was blessed to have that bull. I had him before. I remember when I rode that bull. I saw all my family and friends. I was just happy for everything.”
The other side of the bracket is featuring Marchi’s career-best 94 points on Big Tex (Nampa, Idaho) against Marchi’s 90-point ride on Scene of the Crash in Greensboro, North Carolina, which won him $90,000 in 2006.
“I remember that (Big Tex) was never ridden,” Marchi said. “That night I picked that bull and he left kind of long and came to the right. I thought at 6, 7, 8 seconds I got him. I remember he was right there and spun to the right. He kicked hard with a lot of power and a lot of speed.
“That is one of the best rides I made in my career.”
Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray said of Marchi’s ride on Scene of the Crash during the PBR television broadcast, “The bull spins to the left about every time and we see his right-hand got run down the bull’s side. If that was me, I guarantee I wouldn’t have made it two jumps on that bull.”
Final 4 voting will end Saturday at 11:59 p.m.
Fans then will vote on the remaining two rides until Monday at 11:59 p.m. ET before the PBR announces the winning ride on Tuesday.
Marchi is having a solid year despite being on the older side of the spectrum in the BFTS locker room.
His 47.06-percent riding average is seventh-best in the PBR, and his 16 qualified rides is tied for the fifth-most on the BFTS.
Marchi is on pace to qualify for his 14th consecutive World Finals and is 18thin the world standings.
“I wish I was back five or 10 years ago,” Marchi said. “My preparation of what I do right now is like the beginning of my career. If I do this, I will have more success in my career. I am still happy with what I have done in the PBR and for everything.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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