FORT WORTH, Texas - Given the emotional ups and downs in and out of the arena for Guilherme Marchi, this past 10-month-long season seemed like a lifetime.
However, it was nothing compared to the five minutes that felt like an eternity as he waited for the official announcement of this year's World Champion at the conclusion of the World Finals.
Moments after hearing in-arena announcer Brandon Bates call out Silvano Alves' name for the second year in a row, Marchi breathed a sigh of relief.
"Oh my God, I'm so proud," he said. "I almost had a heart attack right now.
"I'm so happy (to be the) reserve World Champion again, and Silvano deserves to win. He's the best bull rider in the world and that's hard to say, because I came to win too, but I'm the first loser.
"I'm still happy."
For the fourth time in his career, Marchi finished the season ranked No. 2 in the world standings, and it's the seventh time in eight years he's finished in the Top 5, including 2008 when he won the world title.
He came into this year's World Finals ranked fifth and trailed Alves by just over 1,500 points.
After bucking off his first two bulls, Marchi rode four straight to make a run at a second world title on the final day of the season. He came up just 659.75 points shy of a come-from-behind win that would have been talked about for years to come.
"I had a tough year this year with my life... but I came in strong to the Finals and wished to be a Champion again. But Silvano deserves it more than me, I think."
"I had a tough year this year with my life, my wife, but I came in strong to the Finals and wished to be a Champion again," said Marchi, as he watched Alves celebrate atop the shark cage in the middle of the Thomas & Mack Center, "but Silvano deserves it more than me, I think. He rode better than me, and I'm still happy."
Marchi earned his first of two Built Ford Tough Series wins in Anaheim, Calif., the second week of the season, but after two Top-5 finishes in the first five events, he had just one Top-10 finish over the course of the next 10 events.
That was largely because of the emotional wear-and-tear he was under after his wife Patricia was involved in a serious barrel-horse accident, in which she broke both of her legs.
The 30-year-old Marchi previously talked about the stress of leaving home each weekend, especially while Patricia was hospitalized. He said during much of that time, he was simply going through the motions.
During that eight-week period, Marchi went 0-for-the-weekend four times, compared to only three times in the other 20 events.
He finally turned his season around in Indianapolis, and week later in Des Moines, Iowa, when he recorded back-to-back second-place finishes during a one-month stretch in which he had four consecutive Top-5 finishes.
Marchi won his second BFTS event in Tampa, Fla., and had a total of four second-place finishes heading into the World Finals.
Experts had predicted five or six total rides in the opening round, and Marchi was one of the riders thought to have a chance at making the whistle. Unfortunately, he came down well short of the whistle on Larry the Cable Guy's Git-R-Done.
He finally made his first two much-needed rides in Rounds 3 and 4, before making it three in a row in Round 5 to qualify for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. However, he managed only 83 points on Blueberry Crush, and wound up 11th in the average heading into the final round.
"I'm proud I rode that bull, but I thought that bull was going to buck (harder)," said Marchi after his Round-5 effort. "He didn't have a good trip today, but I'm still happy to make the short go. I know I don't have a chance to win anymore, but I still have a lot of money there.
"God is with me, and he's going to give me a good one. I'm going to ride him and get a good score."
Marchi drew Bootdaddy.com and, more importantly, rode him for 88.75 points.
He finished second in the round and split fourth and fifth in the average with Edevaldo Ferreira, but he was only one place ahead of Alves, who was sixth in the average.
Afterward, he didn't dwell on the what-if of missing a golden opportunity in the opening round. Had he ridden his first bull - provided the rest of the event played as it did - he would have finished second in the average and would have also made up the difference he needed to win his second gold buckle.
"I'm still happy and feel good," said Marchi, who noted that he drew "good bulls" and drafted smart through the Finals, "I almost won again, but I am so happy for Silvano."
Marchi has reiterated that he feels like he has another couple seasons in him, and despite coming up short, he's reinvigorated for the start of the 2013 season, which starts with a three-day event in New York on Jan. 4.
"I work hard and I have a dream to come here and win the title," Marchi said. "I'm going to work hard for next year."
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
© 2017 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.