<
>

Eight in eight

Each week, ESPN Bull Riding asks the winner of the most recent PBR Built Ford Tough Series event eight pressing questions in eight minutes. This week, it's reigning world champion Guilherme Marchi's turn in the hot seat. Marchi took his first BFTS win of 2009 at the Kansas City Invitational and, after struggling early in the season, has moved up to third place in the PBR world standings.

ESPN.com: How did it feel to get the win in Kansas City — your first in 2009?

Guilherme Marchi: It felt good. It felt great, man. I was under a lot of pressure to get back — everybody was saying, 'Oh, Guilherme's not riding good anymore after he win the world title.' But now, everybody sees that I'm in the top five in the world.

Bull riding is open right now in the top five and the top ten. For the last three or four or five years, I've been the top guy all the time. But now, my confidence is back.

ESPN.com: You've been climbing back up the standings after a slow start this year — what have you been doing differently lately?

Marchi: I'm going to try and do like I do every year. Like last year, my first win came late. I was in the same position like I'm in right now. The more bulls I get on, I ride better, you know. I try to put everything together. Each event I go out and I try to ride my bulls, but I've never seen anybody ride 100 percent. I'm riding right now, 60 percent of my bulls, and (laughing) that's not too bad.

ESPN.com: So, what was the reason for the slow start to the year after winning the world in 2008?

Marchi: I think last year, I was more hungry to win a title. After I won the title, I relaxed a little bit, you know. I wasn't working as hard anymore and not going swimming anymore and I said, 'Ah, well, that's okay.' But it's no good, you know, because that's my job. I can either ride bad or ride good and get in the top 10 again. So, if I want to win the title again, I had to wake myself up and say, 'Hello, you need to ride good again!'

ESPN.com: What do you think about back-to-back titles — is another world championship this year one of your goals?

Marchi: I think I have a chance right now. Nobody's won back-to-back in this position I'm in right now. I'm thinking maybe I need to believe in me more and ride like I did last year and the past few years. And if I can ride like I did last year, I think I can get the title again, because I rode very good last year. There's a lot of good, young bull riders out there…But I don't worry about that too much; I just need to believe in me, ride my best, and see what happens.

ESPN.com: Who are you looking at as your biggest competition?

Marchi: I just need to pay attention to me and give myself a chance to put things together and ride bulls and try to work out and try to just ride better and get my confidence back. Like, when I'm in the bucking chutes, I'll think, 'I know what kind of bull this is.' I have the potential to ride any bull, but sometimes I'm not ready for it. Live for today and give your heart and your blood to win the title.

ESPN.com: You had three great bulls this weekend, how important do you think the draft is, and what kind of strategy do you use when you're picking a bull?

Marchi: Like in the position I was in last week — number one to pick the bull and having a four or five-point difference between the second guy — in this position, I try to just pick a good bull, a bull I know what it is and I can ride it and I can get a good score. If I'm positioned in the back, I like to pick big, strong bulls, because if I ride a strong bull, I'll make a lot of points and get better. If I'm in 12th or 13th, I pick a rank bull like Spitfire or I'm a Gangsta.

ESPN.com: So, why'd you pick Big Iron?

Marchi: Well, I picked Big Iron and I know this bull and I know what he's going to do. He's not difficult for me. He's a good bull. I went for a score of 91 and a half before, and I know what he'll do, so it'll give me a chance to get a good score and win.

ESPN.com: How about Bones — are you going to give him another shot — do you think you can ride him eventually?

Marchi: Well, he bucked me off three times. I think one day, I believe I will ride him one day. (Laughing) Maybe he'll buck me off 10 or 15 more times, but one day I'll ride him.

ESPN.com: You'll get your revenge someday.

Marchi: (Laughing) It might be the best day of my life to ride him.

Previous Eight in Eight: Wiley Peterson