ARLINGTON, Texas ― Long after his career, J.B. Mauney simply wanted to be able to one day tell his kids that in its inaugural event he competed at THE AMERICAN.
“Being able to tell them I was at the first AMERICAN and I won the bull riding, that’s even better,” the 27-year-old reigning PBR World Champion said after going 2-for-2 and earning a $100,000 payday for 16 seconds of work on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium), in Arlington, Texas.
Mauney rode BIG TEX “ROCKS” for 87.5 points in the long round to claim the fourth and final spot along with Guilherme Marchi, Mike Lee and Joao Ricardo Vieira in a shootout style short round in which the highest score won.
He won the bull riding with 90.5 points on Cowtown Slinger to open the four-man short round and then watched on as one-by-one the others came down early.
“This will be right up there at the top,” Mauney said. “It’s like winning a World Championship. World Championship you (have) to go all year long, but – here – sudden death, you (have) to, ah, I like it because you (have) to be a cowboy about it.
“You (aren’t) trying to the average or anything like that. You’re trying to be as many points as you can every time you nod your head.”
That’s exactly how his “90-or-nothing” approach led to him winning a world title last fall when he won five of the last nine Built Ford Tough Series events to close out the PBR’s regular-season before going 6-for-6 in Las Vegas to win the Built Ford Tough World Finals average and claim the event title, the gold buckle and the $1 million bonus that comes with it on the last day of the season.
It’s not a surprise that all four of the finalists are currently ranked in the Top 6 of the world standings.
For Mauney, it was the sixth time he’s competed in the marquee venue and the second time he’s won there. The Mooresville, N.C., native also won the Iron Cowboy in 2012.
“I like the big lights,” he said.
Mauney later added, “The more pressure, the better I ride and that’s what I like. I like the big crowds, bunch of money on the line and letting it all hang out.”
THE AMERICAN capped off the most historic weekend in the history of professional bull riding and rodeo.
Marchi finished in second place to take home $25,000.
The two events combined to offer more than $3 million in total prize money in two days. Longtime PBR veterans will share their thoughts Monday afternoon in an article on www.PBR.com after seeing crowds of nearly 40,000 on back-to-back days.
The bull riding event featured 15 riders – Shane Proctor missed the event after undergoing shoulder surgery last month and qualifier Clayton Baethge was a no-show on Sunday – and six qualified rides in the long round.
In addition to Mauney’s effort, Marchi posted the high-mark of the long round with 89.75 points on Palm Springs. The 2008 World Champion originally thought he had drawn Mick E Mouse, but received an alternate selection when the World Champion Bull contender was held out.
Mike Lee, another former World Champion, picked up 89.25 points on Who Dey, while Vieira earned 88.75 points on Mississippi Hippy to also advance.
L.J. Jenkins rode Pound the Alarm for 86.25 points and Eduardo Aparecido notched 84 points on Shepherd Hills Trapper, but neither advanced to the four-man shootout once Mauney earned his 87.5 points in the second-to-last out.
Mauney’s perfect performance more than made up for Saturday’s disappointing elimination in the third round of the Iron Cowboy when he struggled to get out of the chutes on Altercation and wound up being bucked off in 2.79 seconds.
A mature Mauney, who credited his turnabout to his wife Lexie, was unaffected by the unceremonious end Saturday that left the crowd silent.
“It motivated me a bunch,” he said. “When I get thrown off I really didn’t do my job, so it gets under my skin a little bit and I try not to let it happen again.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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