By: Kristian Limas
August 09, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – It is easy to view two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney as a rock ‘n’ roll superstar when “Bad to the Bone” begins to blare throughout the loudspeakers at a Built Ford Tough Series event and the pyro brings light to his determined glare on the top of the shark cage.
But take away his success inside the bull riding arena, and, for the most part, the Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider simply enjoys being a cowboy.
It was through a combination of Mauney’s two passions – bull riding and team roping – that he was able to bring a smile to Katie Goss’ face last year in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Goss had met up with Mauney and her other PBR heroes at Ryan Dirteater’s annual Ropin’ For Wishes team roping competition, which has helped raised money for Make-A-Wish Oklahoma the past two years and is scheduled once again for Aug. 26.
Goss, who was born with a form of muscular dystrophy, serves as an ambassador for Make-A-Wish Oklahoma and flies the Make-A-Wish flag at local rodeos atop her horse, Chief.
She was a special guest at the BFTS event in Tulsa a few days after Dirteater’s roping and Mauney made sure she remembered the trip.
“He won and he said, ‘Hey Katie go buy you a new pair of boots,’ so I said, ‘Ok,’ and went and bought the most expensive ones on the website,” Katie recalled with a laugh this past June.
That day back in early June, Goss was waiting to surprise her good friend, Mauney. The defending World Champion was in town to face Wicked in a $25,000 bounty match.
With Mauney coming to her hometown, Goss wanted to use the opportunity to finally show the defending champion what she picked out and get them autographed during his meet and greet appearance at Vinita’s VFW Outpost.
She wanted to be clear, though, this wasn’t just about saying hello to an old friend. Goss also wanted to let Mauney know that he was on her turf now, and that she expected her friend to live up to the title.
“I have been keeping it a secret, and that’s so hard because he’s in Vinita, that’s my hometown,” Goss said. “I’ve been excited to just see J.B. and tell him, ‘Hey, you’re in my hometown, you show these people why I like the PBR.’”
And just as Mauney likes to classify himself as a cowboy, Goss fancies herself as a cowgirl.
By her own admittance, bull riding, and the PBR in particular, are favorites of hers because it reflects on her bright personality.
“I’m just a cowgirl, the PBR does everything – the lights and everything,” Goss said. “That’s just my personality, the lights and everything, and that’s why I love the PBR.”
Goss’ father, Randal, said Katie has always felt at home on her horse.
“Yeah well she’s a country girl,” he explained. “Having horses and stuff, we go to a lot of events locally and ride in the grand entries and the bull riding has always been her favorite.”
Katie held court in the event hall of Vinita’s VFW Outpost and joked and laughed with her friends and family in attendance. She had long circled the date of the TPD event and waited anxiously, not just to see Mauney, but for Vinita to get its own taste of the bright lights of the PBR.
Katie is naturally outgoing and loves to chat with just about anybody, a skill she uses to help spread awareness of muscular dystrophy and the mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
It’s not hard to imagine that Katie would be out speaking and riding anyway, though, and that’s evident by the sparkle in her eye when the subject of Chief comes up.
“I’ve been riding about five or six years now not that long,” she said. “I got Chief recently and he is just amazing.”
The black and white horse is just her second and she quickly fell in love. Already an experienced horseback rider, she has plans to train Chief into a real show horse.
“This year we might get an arena built at my house so we can do entertainment,” Goss said. “I can already teach my horse how to bow from my walker and I can get off and on by myself so hopefully in a few years we can do entertainment.”
There’s a certain pride that Goss carries, and it can be infectious if you spend enough time with her. That said, it did add just a little bit of pressure for Mauney that night.
“Oh yeah,” Mauney said with a smile. “There’s always a little bit of pressure, especially here when you come down and they make a big deal.”
Mauney didn’t cover Wicked that night, which is fine in the grand scheme of things. The event was a hit and the pair got to hang out once again, and she made sure those boots of hers were signed.
She remarked to a reporter that she may never wear them now.
“I don’t want to ruin them,” Katie said with a nervous laugh. “I’m scared of ruining them.”
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