By: Justin Felisko
March 26, 2017
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Here are three things we learned from the Ak-Chin Invitational this weekend at Gila River Arena.
Marchi three rides away from 600 (9-26-17)
Guilherme Marchi leaned over against the bucking chutes on Sunday afternoon and thought he may get sick.
Marchi had just picked up career ride 597 when he rode GAH’s Lil Man for 80.75 points during Round 2.
Instead of celebrating, though, Marchi was hunched over and on the verge of dry heaving.
“I have not been feeling good today,” Marchi said. “I don’t know if I ate something last night that made me sick. I am feeling tired, sick, cold and sweating. Maybe I have the flu.”
By no means was this weekend the equivalent of Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan’s flu game for the Chicago Bulls at the 1997 NBA Finals, but it was another example of the mental fortitude Marchi has demonstrated throughout his 14-year career.
The future PBR Ring of Honor inductee is now three rides away from becoming the only rider in PBR history to reach 600 rides on the Built Ford Tough Series.
“That bull kind of hopped and skipped and stumbled a little bit away from my hand,” Marchi said. “I did good today. I didn’t finish it pretty, but I made 8 seconds. Another one to 600.”
Marchi finished 1-for-2 this weekend and in 18th-place. He has ridden at least one bull in all but two events this season.
The 34-year-old will have an opportunity to reach the 600 milestone at next weekend’s First PREMIER Bank PREMIER Bank Card Invitational.
“I hope I can get it done next week,” Marchi concluded.
Fans are encouraged to visit Marchimania.com to vote for their favorite ride of Marchi’s PBR career. The top ride will be announced on April 4.
Teel picks up first career win, solidifies BFTS spot
2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel arrived in Glendale as the last rider in the draw and ranked 38th in the world standings.
Now, Teel’s first BFTS victory propelled him to 19th in the rankings and firmly entrenched him on the BFTS for the foreseeable future.
The 24-year-old earned the ride-off victory by covering More Big Bucks for 87.25 points during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round on the final ride attempt of the weekend.
“Well, it started out a little rough there,” Teel said. “Chad (Berger) said that bull might kick up in the air. Right on my nod he did. He fell out backwards. I knew he was capable of going right and he fell into the right-hand lead. It was a rough start, but he dang sure is a great bull and that is why I picked him.”
Teel selected More Big Bucks with the top pick of the championship-round draft after winning Round 2 with an 88-point ride on Crazy Horse.
Round 2 was Teel’s first BFTS round victory.
The Kountze, Texas, native began his weekend with an 83-point ride on Booger Red in Round 1 Saturday night.
Teel (3-for-3) earned 515 points toward the world standings to solidify himself on the BFTS.
Mason Lowe (3-for-3, 365 world points), Chase Outlaw (2-for-3, 255 world points), Derek Kolbaba (3-for-3, 220 world points) and Cooper Davis (2-for-3, 145 world points) rounded out the Top 5.
Teel was competing in only his fourth BFTS event.
“Hopefully this is one of many,” Teel said. “I am just beginning. It was a little more of a process for me to get things going and get a little momentum. I have to look forward to next weekend and show back up and do it again.”
Air Time extends buckoff streak to 28; Davis ends Spotted Demon’s
Jared Allen stood next to J.W. Harris in the moments before the championship round draft, egging the four-time PRCA champion to select his bull Air Time.
Harris, who also had been encouraged by a Houston Astro’s scout a night earlier to do the same thing, decided to give it a shot against the PBR’s buckoff artist.
However, the wild and unpredictable Air Time once again worked his magic against a formidable foe, bucking off Harris in a quick 2.13 seconds.
Harris lasted only one jump before he appeared to lose his grip as Air Time’s back right leg slipped on the bull’s landing.
Air Time was the YETI “Built for the Wild” Bull of the Event with a 45.25-point bull score, tying his season-high.
“I want to get on him again,” Harris said. “I was just waiting for him to go left and he kind of surprised me when he went right there to the right. No, he is good. He bucks. I don’t know why people are scared of him. He is just a bull. Shoot, Matt (Scharping) wants us to ride him. You can’t ask for any better.”
Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray said, “He is still a rank bull and is still a hard bull to ride. He is still a freak. Today, I think what made him hard to ride was that back foot slipping out. I don’t feel like it warranted a re-ride. I don’t feel like he fell down or stopped his movement. It was just a thing that threw off the timing of everything. You have to know that he is going to do some freaky, unorthodox stuff that makes him such a special bull.”
Air Time has bucked off 28 consecutive riders on the BFTS, while another bull’s impressive buckoff streak came to an end.
2016 World Champion Cooper Davis rode Spotted Demon for 90.5 points to tie with Mason Lowe (90.5 points on Tractor Tippin) to tie for the championship round win.
“That bull is a lot like Crossfire,” Davis said. “He is really strong and wants to pull you down. I just had to keep throwing my chest to him, sit up and not let him pull me around.”
Spotted Demon (44.75-point bull score) had bucked off 24 consecutive riders on the BFTS. Davis is only the second-rider to reach 8 seconds on Julio Moreno’s bucking bull at the BFTS level.
Claudio Crisostomo had ridden Spotted Demon at the 2014 Chicago event, but he had only done so for 58.25 points.
“He is just big,” Davis said. “He has a lot of hesitation and wants to go inside and outside. He wasn’t as bad as I thought. There is a lot more to that bull. I have watched him before and I thought he looked good. I couldn’t see why guys didn’t get along with him. Now I do. He is strong.”
Davis (2-for-3) finished in fifth place in Glendale with 145 world points.
There were seven qualified rides in the championship round, which is tied for the most this season.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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