NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Guilherme Marchi walked into the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville and showed off his right biceps muscle with a big smile.
“Yes sir. I am ready for this week,” Marchi said. “I feel good.”
From far away, it would appear as if the 2008 World Champion looks healthy and physically as fit as ever.
Yet an up-close look at Marchi’s bicep on Friday morning when he leans back in his chair shows the damage that was done to his riding arm at the Calgary Stampede.
There is a slight sag between the elbow and his biceps.
That small discrepancy may lead to tremendous pain if Marchi gets put out of position at the Jack Daniel’s Music City Knockout this weekend at Bridgestone Arena.
The No. 7 bull rider in the world standings knows that if his arm gets extended that things will not go well.
“Doctor say you can try, but I don’t know (how it will feel) when it stretches,” Marchi said. “It never hurts now. It just burns because it is tender.”
Marchi is hoping a brace this weekend will help prevent his arm from completely being extended in the arena.
“I have a brace and I am going to wear the brace today just in case,” he said. “I have a brace that will keep me in place. It will still stretch a little bit, but not as much. I hope I do good.”
The 33-year-old says he isn’t focused on winning the event or what a victory would do to help him try and chase down world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira.
He actually laughed and said that he didn’t even realize he would be getting on multiple bulls per day with the bracket-style event until after he already informed the PBR competition department that he would be riding in Nashville.
“I don’t care if I ride good or not this week,” Marchi said. “This is to test it out and get my confidence up. I will go to Barretos (PBR Brazil Finals) next week, but maybe I won’t get on if I am sore.”
The Leme, Brazil, bull rider chose to make the 9 and a 1/2-hour drive to Nashville from Dallas on Thursday.
Marchi has drawn Alligator Arms (2-0, BFTS) in the second round on Friday night and will face the winner of the Rubens Barbosa vs. Michael Lane first-round matchup.
Alligator Arms bucked off Robson Aragao in 5.61 seconds in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Marchi has never won Iron Cowboy – the last event where the PBR unveiled a bracket-style format – but he has historically been one of the PBR’s best riders in that kind of format.
Marchi went 6-for-11 (54.55 percent) and has been able to use grit and determination to make up for being caught out of position throughout his 12-year career.
He has gone 26-for-56 (46.43 percent) on the BFTS this season.
In Nashville, he will not have that luxury of pure strength.
The Jack Daniel’s Music City Knockout – the last PBR Major of the season – will be his first Built Ford Tough Series event since sustaining the injury when he was bucked off by Trendon on the final day of Pool B competition at the Calgary Stampede in July.
Marchi took two weeks after the Stampede to rest his arm, before slowly attempting to rehab his biceps and lift weights at home.
He has since gone to Michael Johnson Performance in McKinney, Texas, multiple times, and just this week he trained alongside fellow Built Ford Tough Series riders Reese Cates and Douglas Duncan.
“They did nothing for my arm, but they did it a lot for my physical (well-being),” Marchi said. “We did a lot of circuit training. A lot of fast stuff and more cardio to put me back in shape. They stretched me a lot. I did some exercises and some physical therapy with bands at home. I move my arm to the back and then to the side and back.”
Marchi added that he feels he has gotten much leaner and toned this summer since fans last saw him ride at Last Cowboy Standing in May.
“In the summer, I have been working hard and my shirt has gotten tighter to my muscles,” Marchi said with a laugh. “It is like the shirt is too tight.”
Marchi has not been on any practice bulls since tearing his biceps. Instead, he went team roping and worked on his ranch.
He did explain that he is unsure if he will undergo surgery after the season. He may wait until he officially retires from the sport.
However, one thing Marchi did reiterate is that this season will not be his last.
“I will come back next season,” he said. “I am going to see. If I am feeling good and strong and no pain, I will just do surgery when I retire. I have maybe one or two more years.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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