PHOENIX ― Throughout his 11-year career, Guilherme Marchi has given PBR fans plenty to cheer about.
Saturday night, the fans in Phoenix gave the 31-year-old from Leme, Brazil – he currently resides in Ferris, Texas – a standing ovation that was 277 Built Ford Tough Series events in the making over the past 111 months since he first came to the United States.
Marchi didn’t simply ride Pandora’s Pyxis for 84 points to close out the opening round of the Bass Pro Chute Out at US Airways Center, in doing so he became the first rider in the 21-year history of the PBR to reach 500 qualified rides.
“It’s hard to say something,” Marchi said.
The current No. 1 rider in the world was emotional, humble and reflective afterward.
“Every time I get on the bull I enjoy it,” he said. “Each bull I get on, each bull I ride, you guys say, I give it my blood and my determination for riding those bulls.”
He later added, “Some people say I have trouble away from my hand or whatever, but I broke the record. Nobody has done this in the United States in the PBR.”
His first qualified ride came at an outdoor event in Laughlin, Nev., on a bull coincidentally named Arizona in September 2004.
As if the 500 mark was not impressive enough on its own, the breakdown of how the 2008 World Champion reached the unparalleled milestone is simply staggering.
Nearly 20 percent of his rides have come in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round, where he’s covered 98 of 127 bulls for a 77.17 percent riding average, and just over 10 percent (53) of his 500 qualified rides have been for round wins; 20 were for event wins, including the 2005 World Finals event title.
Marchi has recorded 52 scores of 90 points or higher – he earned a career best 94 on Big Tex at a 2009 event in Nampa, Idaho – and 387 of those 500 have been marked 85 points or higher.
This year he’s riding right at 59 percent, which is only slightly down from his career average of 60 percent.
“It’s not easy because we have all the tough bulls, high money and the all the best fans and best sponsors,” said Marchi, who added the PBR has proven bull riding is a serious sport in the U.S. “You need dedication and you need to believe in yourself and give your blood and give your heart.”
On Monday, fellow BFTS riders will react and reflect on Marchi’s accomplishments.
In addition to winning the 2008 title, he’s finished second four times and only during his rookie season has he finished outside the Top 10 of the world standings. In fact, in eight of the past nine seasons he’s finished ranked in the Top 5.
He’s earned nearly $4.5 million and missed less than a half dozen events because of injuries.
However, putting aside the past, he’s focused on winning a second gold buckle in 2014.
He’s finished in the Top 7 in the past nine BFTS events, including four Top-5 finishes, and is looking to close out this weekend with his first event win of the season.
Through it all he remains humble and happy to maintain his health.
“I’m just happy for everything,” Marchi concluded, “this 500 bull here and my career here in the United States.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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