Where do they come from, these tough and young kids who bravely sit atop a two-thousand pound bull and try their best to stay the required eight seconds? Where do they learn their skill? They learn it in colleges and universities that offer such athletic courses. But some learn a completely different way.
On July 22nd, Guilherme Marchi, an 11 year veteran of the Built Ford Tough Series, celebrated his birthday with a different kind of pressure he has never felt before. The veteran bull rider who has finished first or second in the world standings five times in his career helped his five-year-old son, J. G., climb atop a small mini-bull, put his hand in his rope and nodded his head.
The elder Marchi was hoping for a qualified ride, but he was really hopeful for a safe and injury free ride and dismount. And sure enough eight seconds later he was beaming with pride as his son took his first step towards PBR.
“My son goes on the mini bull,” said the World Champion, “My heart – oh he did pretty good. This is his first event and he is so happy to be here.”
“It scared me,” Marchi added, “If he gets hurt, he’s only a baby. His bones are not done building yet, but he wanted to ride and he had a good one that didn’t buck. It’s a little bull that didn’t buck, just walked. It made him happy. Making my kid happy makes me happy, too.”
The younger Marchi was one of 60 kids entered in the event that featured children ages 8-14. They were divided into two divisions featuring 8-11 year olds and then 12-14 year olds.
Marchi was behind the chutes for the entire evening helping kids ready their equipment, pulling their ropes and offering encouragement to all those who were competing.
Marchi said seeing the excitement on their faces reminds him of “the dreams we have when we are kids.” On this night, it was as much about teaching as it was being a source of inspiration.
Where do they come from? They come from the farms, the ranches and the very neighborhoods we all live in and we are very thankful that there are people like Guilherme Marchi to show the way and give the guidance they need.