By: Keith Ryan Cartwright February 24, 2014@ 02:15:00 PM
Guilherme Marchi is closing in on a historic 500 career rides. Photo by Matt Breneman / BullStockMedia.com.
FORT WORTH, Texas ― Guilherme Marchi is already wading in uncharted waters.
However, the 2008 World Champion is now two qualified rides shy of becoming the first rider in the 21-year history of the PBR to reach 500 career qualified rides at the Built Ford Tough Series level of competition.
Adriano Moraes, who won three world titles, fell short. He’s ninth on the all-time list with 328 qualified rides.
Two-time World Champions Chris Shivers and Justin McBride rode a lot of bulls, but both retired before coming anywhere near approaching 500. In fact, they are both at least two-plus seasons from reaching the milestone. Shivers finished his career with 373, while McBride – who retired in the prime of his career – finished with 353 and are fifth and sixth respectively.
Moraes, McBride and Shivers are the first three names mentioned whenever there’s a conversation about who is the greatest rider in PBR history.
Marchi is humbled by the notion that his name is certainly a fourth that has to be mentioned.
“When I read that I was proud,” recalled Marchi. “I said, ‘Oh my goodness,’ because I don’t follow how many bulls I get on. You have people here like McBride, Chris Shivers, Adriano and I thought those guys rode more than me. But I’m proud for this.”
After being asked what the milestone means, he added, “It’s hard to say. I love what I do.”
He later called it another accomplishment.
The only other rider with more than 400 career rides is Mike Lee, who is currently at 441. J.B. Mauney is third with 383 and is only 17 shy of becoming the third rider to reach 400. The reigning World Champion is in his ninth season.
Marchi is in his 11th season on the BFTS.
He admitted that, at times, he’s struggled since winning his world title in 2008 and felt like “giving up.”
Instead, he rededicated himself to the sport that brought him to the U.S. in 2004 and has prayed that God would support him as a professional bull rider.
“I hope 500 helps me too,” said Marchi, “give me more power.”
He added, “For a guy, like me, from Brazil, to come here and (have) a career here – it’s going to be 10 years this year – I’m just so happy for everything.”
He’s coming up on his 10th anniversary since arriving from Leme, Brazil, but has ridden in parts of 11 seasons.
Marchi will have a first-round bye in this week’s Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V.
McBride said that if Redneck has the same trip with Marchi as he did with him at the Lazy E Arena, “He’s going to ride him all day long.”
That would put the 30-year-old at 499 with potentially four more bulls ahead of him Saturday night at AT&T Stadium (formerly known as Cowboys Stadium), in Arlington, Texas. If he advances to the third round he’d face I’m a Gangster Too followed by Rango and Asteroid.
Of course, the winner of Iron Cowboy V then gets the Bad Boy Mowers Million Dollar Ride attempt on Bushwacker.
“I never got on Bushwacker and (there is) a lot of money in the game next week,” Marchi said. “I’m going to go home this week and prepare myself for this event.”
Marchi has never won the Iron Cowboy.
He said his family, friends and neighbors will be there this year.
The Brazilian feels strong and said in recent weeks he’s gotten better with each successive event.
“I’m so excited for everything and I’m proud of myself too,” Marchi concluded, “I hope I do good next week.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
© 2014 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.