By: Justin Felisko
March 13, 2018
PUEBLO, Colo. – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney‘s latest nagging injury is a microcosm of how frustrating this season has been for the legendary bull rider.
Mauney was climbing over the bucking chutes two weeks ago in North Little Rock, Arkansas, for rider introductions when he felt a pop in his back.
The 31-year-old was hoisting himself up, when one his right ribs dislocated.
“Crawling over the damn bucking chutes,” Mauney said shaking his head in Duluth, Georgia. “When I bent a certain way, it popped out. So after intros I went into (PBR Sports Medicine) and they popped it back in, but the muscles get so tight around it when it pops out that it stays sore.”
Mauney said the injury will flare up when he is working around his ranch in North Carolina, and he has felt the rib pop out on him again when competing.
It is the latest injury for the future PBR Ring of Honor inductee.
Mauney returned this season following career-threatening reconstructive shoulder surgery last summer. He then injured his right groin in the season-opener at Madison Square Garden, which put him out of competition for four weeks.
Amidst a streak of five consecutive buckoffs on the 25th PBR: Unleash the Beast, Mauney decided Tuesday morning to sit out this coming weekend’s Ty Murray Invitational, presented by Isleta Resort & Casino, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, because of his on-going right shoulder injury, right groin injury and now rib issue.
“When you nod your head here, you are nodding to win the round every time,” Mauney said. “I think that has a lot to do with it. Being beat up, continuing to keep coming and trying and trying keeps wearing on you more and more. Over the years everybody knows I didn’t listen a lot and I still don’t.
“I am starting to pay for it a little more than I used to.”
Mauney said the decision is a maintenance weekend off as he tries to let his body heal some and nothing serious.
He is sitting 25th in the world standings and is off to the worst start (5-for-15 through six events) of his 13-year career.
Mauney is well aware of his struggles, but he is still confident he can compete.
He said prior to going 0-for-2 in Duluth that he was confident he could ride his way out of the slump.
“Keep going,” Mauney said. “Only way I have ever figured out how to get out of a slump is I rode myself into it and I ride myself out. This is more physical related. In my head, I rode myself into it, I can ride myself out. I can still ride them. I have proved it to myself. I just have to keep doing it every time and be consistent.”
However, even Mauney admits it hasn’t been so easy this year to simply cowboy up and make the 8-second mark.
The multitude of injuries have added up.
“I just think it is a lot more injuries all balled up into one now,” Mauney said. “Most of the time it was one thing hurting me or another. Now it is that shoulder gets sore and everything is sore as shit. I guess hitting (the dirt), it all hurts at one time.
“It is a lot different than just one or two things hurting. “
Davis is 1-for-13 since getting injured at the Chicago Invitational. Meanwhile, three-time World Champion Silvano Alves has struggled and is 44th in the world standings, and perennial world title contender Kaique Pacheco has bucked off 12 consecutive bulls.
It has been a surprising fall of grace for the four riders, but Mauney said it is part of the sport.
“When that light switch is on, it is on. When it is off, it is off,” Mauney said. “It is not like we are going out here getting on practice bulls either. You really can’t fix anything at these events. If you are riding bad, you better go home and find yourself something to fix it.”
And for those that want to say he is becoming washed up?
“This is a sport where you are on top, you are on top. And when you are not, they are going to talk shit. They do it to everybody. They did it to Jess (Lockwood). It happens to everybody.
“I like listening to it because it pisses me off and I ride better.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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