By: Justin Felisko
January 03, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – The 2017 Built Ford Tough Series season kicks off Friday night at Madison Square Garden in New York 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 2016 season.
Today, we look at J.B. Mauney, who finished the 2016 season third in the world standings.
No. 3 J.B. Mauney
World Championships: 2 (2013, 2015)
Best World Standings Finish: 1st (2013, 2015)
2016 BFTS Stats:
Riding Percentage: 56.34 percent
Top Ride: 94.25 points on Pearl Harbor in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Wins: 1 (Nampa, Idaho)
15/15 Bucking Battle Victories: 3 (Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis)
Round Wins: 16
Top 10: 15
Top 5: 10
90-point Rides: 7
2016 Recap: Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney seemed poised to have taken over the world No. 1 ranking in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round at the World Finals with a monster 90-plus ride on Stone Sober before a judge’s review revealed Mauney had slapped the D&H Cattle Company bull.
The slap likely cost Mauney a record-tying third world title seeing as 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis and No. 2 Kaique Pacheco would go on to buck off in the final round of the 2016 season.
It was a tough way for Mauney to end the season after he led the Built Ford Tough Series with a 56.34-percent riding average, 16 round wins, three 15/15 Bucking Battle victories and seven 90-point rides.
Mauney, who was simply dominant at times in 2016, finished third in the world standings, only 1,107.5 points behind Davis.
The moment came after Mauney won Round 4 with a 90.25-point ride on Red Dawn and selected Jared Allen’s Air Time for Round 5.
Air Time was called for a foul during the ride attempt, partially dislocating Mauney’s left shoulder in the process. Mauney was then bucked off by Jack Shot (3.01 seconds) on his re-ride attempt.
Going beyond the Stone Sober attempt and his failed conversion on Jack Shot, Mauney was still extremely close to repeating as World Champion in 2016.
Mauney finished runner-up at three BFTS regular-formatted events, and with one or two more event victories, the richest bull rider in PBR history may have been another $1 million richer.
2016 featured two especially marque Mauney moments.
The first came in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, when Mauney conquered Pearl Harbor for 94.25 points despite being unable to feel his left riding arm because of nerve damage.
It was the first of three 15/15 Bucking Battle victories. He had previously never won a 15/15 Bucking Battle in his career.
The other came in Nampa, Idaho, when he ended Stone Sober’s streak of 31 consecutive buckoffs with a memorable 92.5-point ride to pick up his first and only event win of 2016.
It was the 70th 90-point ride of Mauney’s career, and he will begin 2017 four 90-point rides from passing Justin McBride for second all time.
2017 Outlook: 2017 will feature plenty of potential milestones for Mauney.
Not only will he likely pass McBride on the 90-point ride list, but he is three wins away from breaking McBride’s record of 32 career event victories.
Mauney will also begin the season 23 rides away from becoming the third rider to reach 500 qualified rides on the Built Ford Tough Series.
All of the records and accolades aside, Mauney’s primary objective have always been about winning gold buckles.
That will be no different this season.
Mauney will certainly be fired up after missing out on winning back-to-back titles and he has made it clear in recent years that he isn’t as young as he once was.
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said Mauney is still the rider to beat despite the fact that the 12-year veteran is turning 30 years old on Jan. 8 and has dealt with a multitude of injuries.
“I think he is definitely the guy to beat, still,” Lambert said. “But there will be a time when he won’t be. It could be this year or it could be three or four years down the road. There is a time in every athlete’s career that his skill set diminishes. His skills go away and they don’t come back for anyone.”
Mauney’s success will ultimately be tied to his health. When healthy enough to compete, it is hard to find a rider capable of matching Mauney’s home run hitting ability with his consistency.
However, Mauney hasn’t competed in more than 22 BFTS events since winning his first World Championship in 2013 when he missed only one event and competed in 26.
Still, Mauney has finished inside the Top 10 of the world standings in 10 consecutive seasons, and inside the Top 5 in the last four.
Eight of his 11 seasons have also ended with him inside the Top 5 of the world standings.
Mauney is the most decorated active rider in the PBR with 30 career event wins, including two World Finals event titles, two gold buckles and three 15/15 Bucking Battle victories.
Therefore, it would be foolish to rule out Mauney in 2017 – or any season – for that matter.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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