The only thing in the sports world worth talking about this month (and for years to come) is Guilherme Marchi’s 600th ride on the Built Ford Tough Series—for several reasons.
He was the 2008 PBR World Champion—a long time ago, in bull rider years. A lot of the guys he rode against are retired now—not Guilherme.
A few years ago he was seriously thinking about retiring and going back to Brazil.
When his marriage fell apart, he let people know how he felt. He didn’t pretend to be some superhuman beast without feelings. His riding stunk for a while. He’s human.
Marchi said 2015 was the worst year of his career. His bull in Thackerville stumbled, gave him a shot in the knee, and tore his MCL and PCL. Marchi was out for 1/3 of the season with his knee injury and needed surgery. During the year he got divorced, he had to sit out the Finals because of his knees and bicep surgery. Lots of rehab exercises. “But let’s see what God has planned for me,” he said optimistically.
He could have decided he was done; being 30 makes you an old man (again, in bull rider years), and he didn’t have anything left to prove.
Instead he really cowboyed up—in the best sense of the word. He doubled down on his fitness regime, rededicated himself to the sport, and came out swinging. It was just so improbable, and a lot of people expected his burst of energy and determination to be short-lived. Ha.
In the “Fearless” Netflix mini-series, Marchi said, “I have always told my mother and father I want to die inside the arena, doing what I love most in my life, which is bullriding… Die happy.” I can understand the fantasy, but it made me want to kill him. It’s the kind of thing a teenager says. He has kids. Not so happy for them if he died in the arena.
I can watch that video of his 600th ride and his jubilation afterward, over and over. You can see it not only on the PBR website, but also on RFD-TV and on the KURL website: http://www.kulr8.com/story/35104956/guilherme-marchi-makes-history-with-600-career-rides-round-2-of-stanley-performance-in-action-invitational. KURL’s photo says it all–and I can’t reproduce it here, for copyright reasons.
Also, because I don’t know how.
Here’s what Guilherme said on RFD-TV:
“I need to be proud for myself for everything, for be 34 years old and still ride good – like 50%. [Note: 56.07% is the exact figure for his career so far.] Spend a lot of time work out, to get on bulls, a lot of preparation myself to be here, to stay strong and still compete with the best bull riders in the world. I wish I never stop, I wish I still doing good for the rest of my life, but pretty soon I need find another job or do something different, but for the beginning through now, everything I did, I did it with my heart, my blood. Never give up. I try my best…But it’s not easy, because we compete with the best in the world.”
I don’t know what other job you do after being one of the best bull riders in the world, but I’m pretty sure that whatever he does, Marchi will do it with his whole heart.
Parabéns, Guilherme! Nós te amamos!