Kolbaba, 20, who finished last season ranked 17th in the world standings, started his 2017 campaign with a solid 86.5-point effort in Round 1 of the season-opening event and then went to 2-for-3 in Chicago. He is now 3-for-9 at the elite televised level of the PBR.
Two weeks into the grueling 10-month long season, Kolbaba is ranked 14th in the world.
Marchi, 34, who is in his 14th season competing among the Top 35 bull riders in the world is currently ranked 17th.
He was 3-for-4 in Chicago.
Like Kolbaba, Machi had earned only one qualified ride a week earlier.
After earning his second ride of the Chicago event, in Round 3, Kolbaba was interviewed by CBS Sports Network.
He said, “It feels great when you do that. If we just get our mind right, we can ride anything they run under us.”
Marchi was also interviewed during the telecast.
The Brazilian native had hung off the side of his bull for the final two seconds of his 8-second qualified ride to earn him a fourth place finish in Chicago. His First Top 5 finish of the season.
When asked if moments like that are physical or mental, the veteran Marchi said, “All together—never give up.”
Legendary bull rider Ty Murray has always been impressed with Marchi.
The nine-time World Champion recently said Marchi is the Jerry Rice of bull riding.
Marchi has often been described as durable. His riding style has never been flashy, but it’s been extremely effective ever since he arrived in the States in 2004.
Marchi is one of only two riders to have earned more than 500 qualified rides at the elite televised level of the PBR. He’s now at 585 and only 15 rides shy of becoming the first to reach 600—a milestone that was once deemed unfathomable.
After laboring through the middle of last season, the Marchi of old instead of the old Marchi has reemerged. Two-time World Champion Justin McBride observed, “You can feel the love he has for this sport.”
McBride, who retired at only 29 years of age, rode against Marchi.
McBride’s final five seasons were Marchi’s first five in the U.S.
In that time, Marchi pushed McBride hard and finished second three years in a row (2005, 06, 07) followed by a world title in 2008.
“If you’re still doing it at this,” McBride said of Marchi, “you’ve got to work hard at it.”
McBride said the same for Kolbaba after he put together back-to-back qualified rides in Rounds 2 and 3.
“This is the dedication he has, to say, ‘I am not quitting,’” said McBride.
Bullfighter Shorty Gorham added, “Every guy here has the talent. You just have to put out the effort. Kolbaba did right there and he has to be pumped.”
Kolbaba and Marchi are two of seven riders sponsored by Monster Energy.
Four of them – Kolbaba, 14; Gage Gay, 15; Reese Cates, 15, and Marchi, 17 – are bunched up together inside of the Top 20 with two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney ranked 24th in the world.
They will be competing in Oklahoma City this weekend.