By: Kristian Limas
July 08, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – With the first half of the 2017 Built Ford Tough Series now in the rearview mirror, and the stretch run to the 2017 Build Ford Tough World Finals on the horizon, PBR.com is taking a look back at the story so far. The first half of the season was full of history and memorable moments, meaning anything is possible once the BFTS returns to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Aug. 12-13.
Mauney wins big in Billings
Fans and riders both know that when two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney is in the draw at an event, he will more than likely be gunning for the event title. That was no different in Billings, Montana, where Mauney went 4-for-4 and shut things down with a massive 94.25-point ride on 2016 World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser to win his first event of the year.
Previously, Mauney had no event wins on the season and only one round win before arriving in Billings. He went to work on Championship Sunday to alleviate that, sweeping Round 3 and the championship round on his way to event win.
The 30-year-old Mauney knew better than most that he can be streaky, and that when he hit his stride, he would be hard to beat.
“I have said it numerous times. Bull riding is like a light switch,” Mauney said. “I felt like before here, it flickered a little bit and it was on and then it was back off. Hopefully it is switched on this time.
“I turned it on.”
Mauney netted 778.3 world points for the win, the most earned by a rider this season outside of a PBR Major, and forced himself back into the Top 3 of the world standings.
Though the win felt good, the veteran bull rider had been there before, and he knew that there was still work to be done.
“I am not where I want to be,” Mauney said. “Every time you nod your head you have to take advantage of it because these guys ahead of you don’t slip pretty much. Any time you can make the whistle and get some points that is what it is about.
“No. 1 is where everyone wants to be.”
Matt Triplett roars back in Sioux Falls
The previous year in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was not a fun trip for Matt Triplett. His 2016 season came to an unceremonious close there when he sustained an injury to his left shoulder that required surgery and extensive recovery time.
Understandably, Triplett arrived in Sioux Falls this year with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, and he left South Dakota on better terms than he did a year before after winning his first BFTS event in two years after a 3-for-4 performance.
It was a big step for Triplett, who began the season strong but was beginning to fall off more bulls the fatrher he got into the season.
In fact, it was a dose of tough love from his father, Pat, after a rideless effort in Glendale, Arizona, that helped reset the younger Triplett’s state of mind.
“I am very proud of him,” Pat said. “I have always been proud of him, but it just came to a point where I had to tell him you can either be digging a ditch for $10 an hour or you can keep your hand shut.”
Matt took the words from his father to heart, and he had little reason to doubt him. Pat had been a veteran bull rider in local and pro rodeos for 15 years before retiring from competition to raise bucking bulls himself.
Though his words may have been tough, Matt listened to every single one.
“I love him and I appreciate everything he teaches me,” Matt said. “My dad is my biggest supporter. He trains me mentally. He helps with my moves. He has been my supporter my whole life. I love it.”
Chase Outlaw hits paydirt in Sioux Falls 15/15 Bucking Battle
The theme for the first half of the season for Chase Outlaw had been all about making big moves. After closing out the 2016 season strong, Outlaw arrived in 2017 ready to go to work, and he quickly moved into the Top 5 of the world standings.
At the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Outlaw finally found pay dirt when he rode Cooper Tires Brown Sugar for 90.5 points after earning a re-ride.
The win was Outlaw’s third 15/15 Bucking Battle victory of his career.
“I was excited as I could be when I found out I had Brown Sugar for the re-ride,” Outlaw said. “That bull just feels good and rides good. If you stub your toe on him, he is going to buck you off.”
It was some crucial points for Outlaw, who gained ground on injured world leader Eduardo Aparecido.
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