Ironically many wondered – publicly as opposed to privately – if his career had come to an unceremonious end last year, in Thackerville, when he suffered a devastating left knee injury.
He tore up the MCL and PCL only a month after tearing his right biceps muscle at an event in Calgary, Canada.
Even Marchi agonized over the decision of whether or not to continue.
Surgery would have almost certainly left him unable to compete this year and returning, at 35, after missing six months to a year for recovery and rehab would have been a daunting task, to say the least.
Instead he returned to competition in time to compete at the 2015 World Finals, where he then tore the MCL in his right knee.
For an aging rider who has two knees in need of surgery and a biceps muscle that isn’t as strong as it once was, Marchi dominated the competition in Thackerville.
He was 3-for-3 with scores of 88.75 points, 82.5 points and then 86.5 points on the previously unridden bull What’s Under Your Hood.
Going into the Championship Round, two-time World Champion turned CBS broadcaster Justin McBride commented, “Marchi’s looked good all weekend.”
McBride added, “He’ll pick early and pick one he has confidence in.”
Marchi had the third pick in the bull draft when he chose What’s Under the Hood.
Unlike any of his previous wins, this one was emotional for reasons younger riders will not understand until later in their careers.
This particular win also is why Marchi has had such a tough time of knowing how much longer to continue competing.
Just two weeks ago, he said, the 2017 season “might” be last as a professional bull rider. However, he’s currently ranked 17th in the world standings and, quite frankly, still capable of competing among the Top 35.
In the interview two weeks ago, Marchi said he was only contemplating retirement “because of my situation, both my knees and my arms.”
But added, “I still do all right.”
Marchi has all but qualified for this year’s World Finals, which will be the 14th in a row.
Next season will give Marchi an opportunity to become the first rider in history surpass an unprecedented 600 qualified rides at the elite televised level. Having earned five qualified rides in the past two weeks, he currently needs 37 more to reach 600. With seven regular-season events in 2016 as well as the Finals and entire 2017 season ahead of him, he could in fact, set the mark.
By comparison, only 19 riders have even recorded 600 outs at the elite level.