PUEBLO, Colo. – The first half of the 2017 Built Ford Tough Series season was a five-month stretch filled with everything from surprise surges, comeback victories and continued excellence from the world’s best bull riders.
The 2017 World Championship race is far from clear, but the first half provided an insightful preview of what’s to come in the homestretch to the 2017 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
The first half featured dominance from the future stars of the sport, an amazing run from a veteran Brazilian, an unexpected rise and a ride the etched a legend’s name into the history books. Over the next few weeks, PBR.com will countdown the top rides from the first half and look forward to the second half where a World Champion will be crowned.
With 17 days remaining before the return of the BFTS in Tulsa, Oklahoma, PBR.com will countdown the Top 17 rides of the first half.
You can witness that next great moment by purchasing tickets for the 2017 World Finals, where the PBR’s best will return to T-Mobile Arena Nov. 1-5.
Guilherme Marchi: 86.25 points on Shocker (Billings, Montana)
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi has always worn his heart on his sleeve, but it was hard to ignore just how overcome with emotions the veteran Brazilian had become as he was lifted onto the shoulders of his friends.
Marchi had just ridden Shocker for 86.25 points in Round 2 in Billings, Montana, becoming the first person ever to record 600 qualified rides on the elite Built Ford Tough Series.
“I feel so happy to reach this number,” Marchi said. “I feel like I won a gold buckle again. This is a lot for me. Everything I have done in my career. I know this is hard for everyone, but when we dream hard, and you work hard, anything is possible.”
Put in perspective, Marchi’s ride record puts him in the company of Jerry Rice and his receiving yards record, Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goals record and Barry Bonds all-time home run record as high-marks that may never be broken.
“600 rides is incredible,” Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray said. “You talk about Jerry Rice and Jerry Rice is incredible. This isn’t Jerry Rice land, this is way freaking harder. That is the part to me that America misses. I am not saying that in a condescending way, but this is the message we are trying to get out. He really is a special athlete. To be able to do something this physically and mentally demanding for this long.
“It takes a special person to do this.”
The moment was an extremely emotional one for Marchi, who has endured a number of highs and lows throughout his 14-year career.
“This took many years on the road. Many years in the PBR,” Marchi said. “I feel what my fans are feeling today too. It is fun because they are there for you. They wanted to see the record broken.
“The PBR fans opened their arms for me and I feel like their son today.”
Marchi has also served as an inspiration for the many Brazilian riders who have broken into the BFTS since his own debut, and he is already a living legend among those he has taken under his wing.
“He is the best cowboy,” Three-time World Champion Silvano Alves said. “He is a PBR legend. It is hard for any cowboy to ride 600. He is one of the best of all time and is always in the Top 10. This is very special. The Built Ford Tough Series is the best of the best.”
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