HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Marlene Henry gave Guilherme Marchi a big hug following the random draw on Friday for this weekend’s Monster Energy Bulls on the Beach 15/15 Bucking Battle.
If Mick E Mouse does what he does best, Henry may need to give Marchi an even bigger hug if her bull slams the 2008 World Champion into the dirt on Saturday afternoon.
This will be no joy ride for Marchi, like the ones another famous Mickey Mouse offers 22 miles northeast of Huntington Beach at Disneyland.
“He is not just a bull, he is a different bull,” Marchi said. “He is one of the toughest bulls in the PBR and I wish the best for him and for me and that we both do good.”
Marchi laughed when he ripped the piece of tape off the surf board with the fourth selection of the draw Friday and saw the name of one of the strongest World Champion Bull contenders heading to Las Vegas in a few days for the Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Mick E Mouse is a perfect 25-0 in his three-year Built Ford Tough Series career and has the second-longest active buckoff streak in the PBR.
Saturday will mark the second meeting between the two championship contenders. Mick E Mouse bucked off Marchi in Oklahoma City in 2.51 seconds during his season debut in January.
The matchup will also be worth an additional $25,000, as Mick E Mouse replaced Bushwacker as the Bad Boy Mowers Bounty Bull. Bushwacker was pulled from the event by Julio Moreno to gain extra rest for World Finals.
The event will be broadcast on PBR LIVE on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET and on CBS Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
Marchi knows his hands will be full when he nods his head.
“He is a great bull,” Marchi said. “I am happy to get that bull, and there is a $25,000 bonus. We know he is the best bull here this week and Mick E Mouse and California is going to be a great match.”
I’m a Gangster Too – the other World Champion Bull contender competing this weekend – is paired up against Chase Outlaw.
Marlene Henry smiled at Marchi as he walked off the stage after the draw. She knows her bull will be a tough task for the 32-year-old bull rider from Leme, Brazil.
“None of those 15 boys that are going to be riding are going to want to draw Mick E,” Henry said. “Not many times is he picked. Usually, he is the last one to be taken, because they have to. It’s going to be interesting.”
Mick E Mouse is 8-0 on the BFTS in 2014. He bucked off Lachlan Richardson in 2.11 seconds two weeks ago at the Battle at the Beaux and demonstrated his high jump sooner than usual, earning a bull score of 46.25 points.
“He had that big jump and that was quicker than normal,” Henry said. “Usually, he is out a little farther before he makes that jump. He was on top of his game that night.”
Henry added that she has no concerns about fatigue affecting her bull at World Finals. Mick E Mouse will buck five days later at World Finals on Thursday night. She said it depends on the bull, but Mick E Mouse has always been good at bucking in consecutive weekends and expects the same for this short week.
Plus, he will have to buck again three days later on Sunday during the last day of Finals.
“It doesn’t bother him to work this close together,” she said. “It never has fazed him bucking one weekend after another. We just felt like it would be a good thing. We’ve bucked him enough to know if you buck him every two weeks or so, he is a lot better than if you buck him once a month. He is a lot stronger when he bucks more frequently.”
It will also be beneficial to give the bull another out after he missed over four months due to a broken bone in his right hip. He actually bucked on consecutive nights – dispatching Tyler Harr both times – in his return to action at the Monroe, Louisiana, Touring Pro Division event at the end of July.
Nathan Schaper was Mick E Mouse’s first victim back on the BFTS in August at the Tulsa, Oklahoma, event when the bull took care of Schaper in 2.96 seconds. It was the second time in his career that Schaper was bucked off by the bovine athlete.
He has been given an average bull score of 45.69 points per BFTS out.
“He might deserve to be World Champion Bull this year,” Schaper said. “When he kicks up he is dropping out of the air so fast and hard.”
Schaper also added that there are similarities between Mick E Mouse and two-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker.
“They are actually quite similar,” Schaper said. “They are built pretty similar and, as far as strength goes, they are both strong and athletic. The way their body moves when they are bucking back and forth is just weird. It is kind of unorthodox.”
It is still flattering for Henry to know her bull is being even mentioned in the same sentence as Bushwacker, not to mention her bull may be able to snatch the World Champion Bull title from underneath Bushwacker’s snout.
“Bushwacker is an awesome bull and I would never take that away from him,” she said. “It is an honor to even be close enough in the top competing against him. That is an honor right there.”
While Mick E Mouse has ways to go to ever sniffing Bushwacker’s record buckoff streak of 42 straight BFTS buckoffs, Henry does share similar nerves to what Julio Moreno feels when his bull bucks.
Henry admits she gets more nervous following every buckoff by her bull. The longer he goes unridden, the more attention and fame Mick E Mouse receives.
“Every out of not being ridden, it does get more stressful,” Henry said. “It is like ‘OK, is this the time he is going to be ridden? What is going to happen this time?”
No one can know for sure what will happen this weekend, and no one will know what is about to happen during World Finals, but it is safe to say Mick E Mouse is right there in the thick of the World Champion Bull race.
“To win the title would be just the most awesome thing ever,” Henry said. “I never could have dreamed that we would be where we are at today.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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