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Brazilian on cusp of elusive bull riding title

Guilhermi Marchi last rode a bull on Sunday.

He will get back on another one tonight in the Professional Bull Riders World Finals at the Thomas & Mack Center to begin a four-day run toward a championship that has eluded him the past three years.

He could take tonight off along with the next three days of competition and still end up with the title and $1 million bonus after finishing second three consecutive times.

He could clinch the title tonight. His lead is that large.

Marchi, 26, has a 3,935.75-point lead over fellow Brazilian Valdiron de Oliveira, who is one of only three riders — including Kody Lostroh and J.B. Mauney — with a chance to catch him. Marchi extended the margin over Oliveira by 577 after the third round.

To catch him, the trio would have to be perfect in a way that’s never been done in more than 100 years of rodeo.

Four daily rounds with 45 bull riders will be held through Sunday, after which the field will be cut to 15. Those 15 get another ride later that day.

To catch Marchi, one of the three would have to earn bonus points and have 100-point rides. In the history of rodeo, only one perfect 100-point ride has been achieved.

Also, Marchi probably will pick up more points considering he has completed a record 74.5 percent of his rides this year. He could begin working on his coronation speech — in both English and Portuguese.

Though the championship drama has all but ended with Marchi set to become the fifth Brazilian to wear the PBR crown in 15 years, the outcome of the Finals title is being hotly contested. That crown pays a $250,000 bonus.

Mauney is leading the Finals race on the strength of winning the first two go-rounds and is one of only four who has completed each of three eight-second rides. Marchi is second in the Finals standings with Chris Shivers third, Renato Nunes fourth and Brendon Clark fifth.

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.

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