PUEBLO, Colo. – Just to the right of the kitchen sink inside J.B. and Lexie Mauney’s Mooresville, North Carolina, home hangs a picture of one of the greatest rides in J.B.’s 10-year career on the Built Ford Tough Series.
No, it is not one of Mauney’s well-known and historic 95.25-point ride on three-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker.
Instead, it is photo of Mauney gritting his way to a memorable 93.5-point ride on Asteroid at the 2012 BFTS event in San Antonio that is sometimes forgotten about now that the 28-year-old is so famously known for riding Bushwacker on the way to his first-career world title in 2013.
“I have a picture of it at the house and it is probably one of the coolest pictures I ever had,” Mauney said. “He kicking square over his head and his back is almost flat against my back and I have both of my knees pulled up onto his neck.”
At the time, Asteroid had bucked off 16 straight foes and was well on his way to his first and only World Champion Bull title.
When the gate opened, Asteroid immediately went with his ferocious, whipping-bucking style and tried to jerk Mauney down over the front end by kissing the AT&T Center dirt and extending his back high into the air.
Mauney countered every whip from Asteroid with an aggressive free arm and positioned his knees high on Asteroid’s neck to prevent himself from going over the bovine athlete’s head. He then held onto the tail of his bull rope for the final seconds.
“That is what made him so hard,” Mauney said. “He had so much whip and kick, and you never really knew which way he was going to go. I was holding onto the tail for the last couple of rounds. I wasn’t turning loose. I didn’t know if I made it or not when I hit the ground.”
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said “there was no doubt” Mauney made the 8-second mark and that the 2013 World Champion was one of the few riders that ever even had a chance to conquer Asteroid during the bucking bull’s career.
“That was a great ride,” Lambert said. “He went into his hand with a tremendous amount of kick and J.B. was getting there and had his knees right up on top of that bull’s back at one time to keep from going over his head because he was so steep. J.B. finished with a lot of grit because his hand popped out of his rope at about 7 seconds and he rode the last second with the tail of his rope.”
Asteroid was marked 46 points. It was one of the 28 times in the past four seasons in which he was given a bull score of 46 points or higher.
Chase Outlaw has faced Asteroid four times in his career and is the last rider to have been bucked off by Asteroid heading into Saturday’s Choctaw Casino Resort Iron Cowboy, powered by Kawasaki Strong – where Asteroid will buck for the final time of his career.
Outlaw was tossed with relative ease by Asteroid, who was marked 46.5 points, during the 2014 World Finals in 2.63 seconds.
“That little sucker is like 10 sticks of dynamite,” Outlaw said. “That bull is stout and never weakens from the word go.”
Outlaw was on the back of the chutes the night Mauney made 8 seconds aboard Asteroid.
“It was freaking rank,” he said. “He lost his bull rope and rode him a whole other round and a half with the tail of his rope. It was pretty good. Pretty dang good.”
Mauney attempted Asteroid on five different occasions, including at the J.W. Hart Invitational in Decatur, Texas.
Just as he was against Bushwacker, Mauney was only able to make the 8-second mark against Asteroid once.
He is one of the four riders (Silvano Alves, Fabiano Vieira and Elton Cide) to have found success against the soon-to-be retired bull.
Asteroid averaged 45.75 points per out against Mauney and it took him an average of only 3 seconds to eliminate Mauney in his three successful outs against him. In Springfield, Missouri, Asteroid failed to make it out of the chute with Mauney in 2013.
Mauney holds his Asteroid ride close to his successful feat against Bushwacker.
“It is right up there with it,” he said. “He is one where if Bushwacker wasn’t around, he would have been bucking bull of the year a few times. He just was around at the wrong time.
He was smart just like Bushwacker. He didn’t have the strength and the power like Bushwacker, but he was big and catty. He was real fast and kicked hard. That is what made him so hard to ride. He kicked so hard that he would try to push you back over him.”
Saturday will be one last time for the riders, stock contractors and fans of the PBR to see Asteroid compete.
“He is going out on top,” Mauney said. “He is still one of the greatest bulls ever. There is something to be said for taking them out when they are on top instead of letting them get to where they are getting rode every weekend.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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