By: Justin Felisko
September 04, 2016
THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Here are three things we learned from Round 1 of the WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational Saturday night.
Marchi gets invigorating Round 1 victory (9-3-16)
Guilherme Marchi pumped his chest, turned toward the packed grandstands and let out an emphatic roar on Saturday night.
Marchi had just ridden Losing My Religion for an eventual round-winning 88.75 points after having flashbacks to tearing his left MCL/PCL attempting to ride Cut the Cord last year in Thackerville.
“Oh, this is hard to explain everything,” Marchi said. “Everything came to my head before I got on. Last year, I hurt my knee here. Today I tried to change everything and just prayed to God for saving me in this arena. I know I had a tough bull.”
Marchi increased his training regimen this week with the help of Paulo Lima. The two Brazilian bull riders spent the week at Marchi’s Ferris, Texas, ranch participating in various workout programs. The two biked 14 miles a day and jump roped together.
The 2008 World Champion also attempted four practice bulls this week.
“I had been working so hard during the week,” Marchi said. “I have been riding my bike and jumping rope. I am doing a lot of hard things to get healthy. Everything I start to do now has helped me a lot. I was very focused and very concentrated.”
Lima also had success in Round 1, riding Valedictorian for 85 points and a ninth-place finish.
“Guilherme helped me this week,” said Lima, who was also bucked off by Cochise in 1.85 seconds during the 15/15 Bucking Battle. “I didn’t get on any practice bulls. Just rode the bike and jumped rope.”
Marchi earned 100 points toward the world standings and moved from 22ndto 19th.
The 34-year-old credited Lima for helping him focus in on his training this week in preparation for an event that would clearly strike a chord with him following his 2015 injury, which cost him the remainder of the 2015 regular season.
“It helps a lot too because he is a very, very close friend of mine,” Marchi said. “He is very determined to work out. He helped me by trying to push me every day.”
Davis takes over world lead despite shoulder injury
There is a new sheriff in the PBR following Cooper Davis’ tie for fifth-place in Round 1.
Davis, who later bucked off Wicked for the fifth time on the BFTS in 5.86 seconds during the 15/15 Bucking Battle, used his 86.5-point ride on Cool Hand Luke to earn 22.5 points toward the world standings and surpass Kaique Pacheco for the world No. 1 ranking.
Davis was happy to be atop the world standings for the first time in his career, but the 22-year-old was also very much aware that the $1 million World Champion bonus isn’t paid out until the conclusion of the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
“That is good to look at right now, but all of that doesn’t matter until Nov. 6,” Davis said.
Davis leads Pacheco by a slim 2.17 points heading into Round 2 on Sunday. Davis took over the lead after Pacheco failed to ride Kongo (5.14 seconds) in Round 1 and Hammer It Again (3.16 seconds) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Davis was competing with a right shoulder separation that he sustained in Tulsa last weekend.
“I didn’t put a whole thought into the shoulder and I just went at it,” Davis said. “It felt good. No pain. The only thing that bothers me is getting off. If that is the least of my worries right now then we are in good shape.”
Mike Lee and Joao Ricardo Vieira were the only other Top 10 riders in the world standings to earn points in Round 1.
Vieira placed seventh for five world points with his 86-point ride on Flight Plan. He is fifth in the world standings and 777.5 points behind Davis.
Lee rode Sketchy Bob for a third-place finish and 50 world points, but the 2004 World Champion actually fell to 11th in the standings because of Jess Lockwood’s strong performance in Round 1 and the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
Lockwood earned 105 points to move up to ninth in the world standings and take over the lead in the 2016 Rookie of the Year Race.
The 18-year-old rode Shake It Up for 86.5 points to tie with Davis for fifth place in Round 1 and followed that up that ride with an 88-point performance on Margy Time for a second-place finish in the 15/15 Bucking Battle.
No. 6 Eduardo Aparecido earned 82.5 world points by tying with Lockwood for second in the 15/15 Bucking Battle. Aparecido rode his re-ride bull, Jump Street, for 88 points.
Margy Time was competing for the first time since sustaining a broken leg at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo last year.
“You have to give that bull a lot of credit,” Lockwood said. “A broken leg on a bull 99 percent of the time means that is the end of their career. They will never buck again. For him to come back and buck at this level, heal from a broken leg, is pretty incredible.”
Richardson earns emotional 15/15 Bucking Battle victory
The money, the 150 world points, his first 90-point ride and his first 15/15 Bucking Battle victory were far from Lachlan Richardson’s mind Saturday night as he accepted his event-winning belt buckle on top of the shark cage.
Instead, Richardson couldn’t help but think about 23-year-old Blake Hallam – a rising star in the Australian Professional Rodeo Association – that had passed away Thursday in a car crash.
“My buddy got killed in a car crash this week,” Richardson said. “We grew up together and he was a pretty good buddy. I hadn’t seen him in a while because I had been over here.”
Richardson won the 15/15 Bucking Battle with a career-high 92.25-point ride on Seven Dust. It was the first 90-point ride of his career.
“I knew it was a good bull and really tough,” Richardson said. “It is really special. It is the next biggest to (winning) an event. I hadn’t won one before. I don’t think I even stayed on a bull before, so I can’t describe it.”
According to Dr. Tandy Freeman, Robson Palermo is questionable for Round 2 after sustaining a concussion and a possible rib fracture when he was slammed to the ground by Midnight Train in 4.21 seconds.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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