SAN JOSE, Calif. – Is lightning about to strike twice for 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi?
A year after riding his last five bulls at the 2016 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals and finishing with the most-qualified rides (22) during the final three months of the season, is Marchi poised for another memorable run at the 2017 World Finals?
“I was in a slump a little bit, but I think I am going to get back on track again,” Marchi said two weeks ago after being named to Team Brazil for the inaugural PBR Global Cup on Nov. 9-11 in Edmonton, Alberta.
Fast forward to this past weekend at the Cooper Tires Take The Money and Ride, presented by Wrangler, and Marchi was a man of his word.
The 14-year veteran rode Tequila Sunrise for 84.75 points during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round to cap a precise 3-for-3 showing in San Jose, California.
The score wasn’t reflective of what it took for Marchi to reach 8 seconds as he worked his way with the bull spinning away from his right riding hand before turning back to the right.
“This is a great ride for Guilherme,” nine-time World Champion and CBS Sports Network commentator Ty Murray said during the television broadcast. “I tell you what. That didn’t bother him, that bull going to the left, one bit. That bull started in the way that would give the bull the advantage. (Marchi) had an answer for everything.”
Marchi began the weekend with 84.5 points on Grandpa Joe in Round 1 before riding Mama’s Boy for 83.5 points in Round 2.
The 35-year-old concluded the regular season with four consecutive qualified rides.
Marchi finished San Jose in second place – a season-high – and the 270 world points he earned moved him up to 20th in the world standings.
The Leme, Brazil, bull rider has finished inside the Top 10 of the world standings 11 times in his career, including a sixth-place finish in 2016.
Marchi has also been one of the greatest riders all time at the PBR World Finals. The 2005 World Finals event winner leads active riders with 51 qualified rides and is fourth with a 60-percent riding average.
His second-place finish last year in Las Vegas was the third of his career. What is possibly more impressive is that Marchi has finished in the Top 5 at the World Finals in seven of his 13 previous trips to Las Vegas.
Marchi heads into the 2017 World Finals 29-for-72 (40.28 percent) in 24 BFTS events this year.
“Last year, I had a great Finals and finished real strong,” Marchi said. “I hope I can push myself hard and work hard and keep getting strong and help my team win the Global Cup.”
Team Brazil coach Robson Palermo named his long-time friend to the team with his coach’s pick on Oct. 9.
“I really wanted Guilherme on the team,” Palermo said. “He is a really good motivator for those guys. He needs to be on the team too. Guilherme can push the guys.”
Marchi will represent Team Brazil alongside Eduardo Aparecido, Kaique Pacheco, Joao Ricardo Vieira, Fabiano Vieira, Rubens Barbosa and 2017 PBR Brazil champion Jose Vitor Leme. Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves was named by Palermo as his top alternate.
Marchi’s second-place finish comes a week after Dener Barbosa’s victory in Raleigh, North Carolina, opened the question if he deserved to be on the team over Marchi or Alves.
“Yeah, (Palermo) called me a couple weeks ago and told me everybody wanted me on the team, and (asked) if I would agree to go to Global Cup,” Marchi said. “I told him, ‘If you guys feel I can help you guys, I am more than welcome to come.’
“I feel happy. I didn’t make it in the Top 5, but those guys wanted me to be there.”
Marchi competed in all four of the PBR’s last international bull riding competition – the PBR World Cup in the mid-2000s and brings valuable experience to the already veteran-laden squad.
He understood he may fill the role as a player-coach instead of one of the team’s primary riders.
“Not just to ride, but more to help them ride and motivation,” Marchi said of his role. “They say since ’04 you know how to handle the pressure and everything. We need people like you to help us.”
However, this past weekend showed Marchi still has plenty left to bring the team on the dirt.
There is a reason after all that Marchi is the PBR’s all-time qualified ride leader (610).
“All these guys ride strong,” Marchi said. “Eduardo, Joao. We all have different style of riders. Right. Left. All of these guys are strong. They have been here for a while, and they know what they need to do. I hope these guys get stronger for the Global Cup.”
“We will be ready to win Global Cup.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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