By: Justin Felisko
January 08, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – The 2016 Built Ford Tough Series season kicks off Saturday night inside Chicago’s Allstate Arena and PBR.com will be counting down the final days of the offseason by taking a look back at the Top 5 bull riders at the conclusion of the 2015 season.
Today, we look at 2015 World Champion J.B. Mauney.
No. 1 J.B. Mauney
World Championships: 2
Best World Standings Finish: 1st (2015/2013)
2015 BFTS Stats:
Riding Percentage: 59.09 percent
Top Ride: 92.75 points on Bruiser at the 2015 World Finals
Wins: 4 (Des Moines, Iowa; Biloxi, Mississippi; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Tucson, Arizona)
15/15 Bucking Battle Victories: 0
Round Wins: 16
Top 10: 12
Top 5: 11
90-point Rides: 6
2015 Recap: When J.B. Mauney tore his left ACL in Fresno, California, it very much could have been the end of Mauney’s 2015 world title aspirations. Instead, Mauney returned rested, motivated and went on a tear that gave fans and experts memories of Mauney’s 2013 historic comeback for his first world title.
Mauney missed five events last year with the torn ACL before retuning in Des Moines, Iowa, to win the first of four BFTS events. He went 2-for-3 for the victory in Des Moines before using wins in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, to hunt down previous world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira.
Mauney officially passed Vieira in Thackerville, Oklahoma, in September where he used one of his PBR-high six 90-point rides – 92.25 points on SweetPro’s Long John – and he would never let go of his world lead for the rest of the season.
The Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider originally trailed Vieira by 1,662.5 points when he first returned to competition and he concluded the season with a 2,082.5-point lead on World Champion runner-up Kaique Pacheco.
Not only did Mauney lead the BFTS in 90-point rides, but he also finished the season No. 1 in round wins (16) and riding percentage (59.09 percent).
Mauney’s second world title put him in elite company in the PBR record books. He is only the fifth rider to win multiple world titles. Adriano Moraes, Silvano Alves, Justin McBride and Chris Shivers are the other four riders to accomplish the feat.
It is an illustrious group, and Mauney said in October he understood how important the second gold buckle is.
“Winning a second world title, that kind of puts you down in history,” Mauney said. “There are only so many guys that have only won two world titles and I would like to win more than just two. Winning two, you accomplished the dream when you are little winning one. Accomplishing it twice, there is really no words to describe it.”
Outlook: Mauney begins the 2016 season as the No. 1 favorite for winning the world title among PBR experts.
Mauney said his sprained left sternoclavicular joint of his riding arm (left) is healthy after the injury kept him from finishing the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals following his 90.75-point ride on Bruiser in Round 4.
He already has earned 30 points toward the world standings following a second-place finish at the Touring Pro Division event in Kearney, Nebraska, last month.
This year will be his second opportunity at winning back-to-back titles following a career-worst 39.67 percent riding average and fourth-place finish in the world standings a year after winning his first title in 2013.
The key for Mauney is simple, but something that will not necessarily be all in his control.
The soon-to-be 29-year-old – his birthday is Saturday – needs to stay healthy.
Many believe Mauney would have already won multiple world titles if not for his injury history and if Mauney can keep himself healthy for the majority of the season – and take time off when needed – he likely will be in strong contention for a record-tying third world title.
Mauney – the PBR’s active leader in 90-point rides (64) – is no stranger to hitting home runs on the BFTS and is accustomed to winning.
In fact, Mauney (26 career BFTS wins) begins the season six wins away from Justin McBride’s PBR record (32).
However, coincidentally, Mauney has yet to win a 15/15 Bucking Battle in his career. He also didn’t win any of the PBR Majors last season on his way to the World Championship.
If Mauney could win a PBR Major (New York; Arlington, Texas; Las Vegas; Nashville, Tennessee) this season, where there are 3,000 points up for grabs overall, it could go a long way to helping him secure a third PBR world title.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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