By: Justin Felisko
May 14, 2017
LAS VEGAS – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney once gave the rodeo trail a whirl back in the summer of 2009. Mauney quickly learned that the rodeo lifestyle was not for him, and he decided to stick with the bread and butter of PBR competition.
It is one of a myriad of reasons the PBR legend has the utmost respect for PRCA superstar Trevor Brazile.
Mauney and Brazile are not only the two richest cowboys in the game with over $13 million in combined earnings in the arena, but they are two of the most recognizable superstars of the Western sports world.
“He rodeos and ropes, and stuff like that, and I ride bulls, but he is the top dog over there,” Mauney said. “It is a lot easier riding bulls rodeoing than roping and rodeoing. You are traveling and driving with trailers 24/7. If you are going to be great what you do, like he is, then you have to stay going.”
Brazile is set to compete on Sunday evening during the final performance of the Helldorado Days Rodeo at Las Vegas Village at 5:30 p.m. PT.
The 23-time World Champion tie-down roper, team roper, and steer roper said he also has the utmost respect for Mauney during a phone interview Sunday afternoon while making his way to Las Vegas.
“He is a lot of fun to watch,” Brazile said. “When you know what he has won, there is a certain level of expectation that comes along and pressure that you are expected to win every time. He usually doesn’t disappoint. He usually does win. There is a reason for him to be on that stage.”
Mauney’s pursuit of becoming the third rider in PBR history to reach 500 qualified rides is now on hold until after the Built Ford Tough Series summer break following his 2.43-second buckoff against Moleek in Round 2 of Last Cowboy Standing on Saturday night.
However, Mauney is very much in the hunt for a record-tying third World Championship.
Mauney concluded the first half of the BFTS third in the world standings, and is 1,128.76 points behind world leader Eduardo Aparecido.
Brazile said he can relate to the media attention and focus that is always on Mauney.
Fans, cameras and PR demands are always part of the equation when it involves the two ambassadors of their respective sports.
“I also know how hard it is to keep producing because that pressure only gets more,” Brazile said. “The fans keep expecting more. They never expect less. To do it under those circumstances, I have a lot of respect for him.”
Brazile has qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo 48 times since purchasing his PRCA card in 1996, and has won two NFR average titles along with his 23 gold buckles.
The 40-year-old is currently eighth in the All-Around PRCA standings, 15th in steer roping, 28th in team roping and 38th in tie-down roping.
Like Mauney, Brazile understands future rodeo athletes will surpass their career earnings, and that is OK too.
“I am really excited to see the cowboys get to go after more money these days, for sure,” Brazile said. “I also hope people can pass my earnings record in rodeo a lot quicker than I did because rodeo is getting better.”
Brazile added that the PBR’s involvement with rodeo, such as with RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN and Helldorado Days, is a good thing for Western sports.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Brazile said. “I don’t really know what else to say other than I love it. I like to see the best at any deal, and when you combine the two you definitely get that.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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