FORT WORTH, Texas – It was only a matter of time before someone, somewhere arranged a matchup featuring J.B. Mauney and J.W. Harris.
That someone is J.W. Hart and that somewhere will be the annual J.W. Hart PBR Challenge on Saturday, May 31, in Decatur, Texas.
Mauney will get on Asteroid, while Harris will attempt Shepherd Hills Tested in a winner-take-all “1,000 Miles Till Home Challenge” for $25,000 at the Wise County Sheriff’s Posse Arena.
“We’ve got them both committed right now,” Hart said of the two popular riders. “They (have to) make the whistle to win the money.”
Asteroid was the 2012 World Champion Bull, which was the same year Shepherd Hills Tested was the ABBI Classic Bull Champion.
“Out of the best three bulls in the world, we’ve got two of them,” Hart said.
Mauney is the reigning World Champion, while Harris has won four of the past six PRCA titles.
Harris has competed at the past three Built Ford Tough Series events after accepting a three-event exemption from the PBR. In that time, he recorded Top 10 finishes in the past two events, including a second-place finish in Nampa, Idaho.
He is currently ranked 34th in the world standings.
The 28-year-old is competing this week in Des Moines, Iowa, as an alternate in hopes of continuing to climb the world standings. The Texas native has ridden five of nine bulls.
“Over the years it’s been talked about,” Hart said regarding Harris competing in the PBR. “We know he can play, but if he can beat those great guys on great bulls, we’ll find out.”
As for being matched with Shepherd Hills Tested, Harris said, “Yeah, I have always wanted to get on him. I think he will fit me.”
Mauney, who has missed the past two BFTS events with a left riding hand injury, is equally happy with his draw.
“Doesn’t really matter to me—either or, no problem,” Mauney said. “It will be a good matchup, they’re each just as rank as the other one – just in different ways.”
Mauney rode Asteroid for 93.5 points at a BFTS event in San Antonio in August 2012.
In fact, he’s the only rider to have ridden Bushwacker, Asteroid and Shepherd Hills Tested.
Harris, who was described as “kind of dry” when Hart called with the offer, said he thought it was an “awesome” opportunity to have been selected to take part in the matchup.
It is the second year in a row Hart’s annual event, which has raised well over $500,000 for various charities in the past 10 years, has featured a much-talked-about, highly anticipated challenge.
Last year, through an exchange on Twitter, Hart gave Pistol Robinson 40-1 odds that he couldn’t ride Bushwacker, who later that season won his second World Champion Bull title.
This year, there was no social media involved.
Hart simply called everyone involved to arrange the match.
The 2009 Ring of Honor inductee said he had to laugh when he called Mauney. The two didn’t actually speak until a few days after Hart’s original message. According to Hart, Mauney’s first response was, “I knew that’s what you were going to say.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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