By: Justin Felisko
March 16, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Stormy Wing is no gymnast, he is a cowboy first and foremost, but this past weekend he certainly showed off his acrobatic talents during his 86.5-point ride in Round 1 of the Duluth Invitational.
Wing kicked his outside foot during the ride nearly parallel to his right hip while he spurred his way to a split of the round win with Ben Jones and Paulo Lima.
Wing’s high-kick was no surprise to two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney after he saw Wing do the exact same thing two days earlier while the duo was out riding horses in Mooresville, North Carolina.
The horse that Wing rode on that day was one that Mauney was familiar with. The horse was known to give its rider a hard time at first, before eventually settling down after a few minutes.
“Well, he spurred that bull just like that horse that was bucking,” Mauney said. “I have always felt that if you are not getting on practice bulls, the next best thing is riding horses all week,
“That is pretty much what we did every day when we were home.”
Wing added, “I got on a friend of ours horse from North Carolina that he hadn’t been on in a while and he started bucking around the other day and I got to kick on him. He was joking that was practice for the week, but we are just having fun being a cowboy.”
Mauney invited Wing to move in with him in Mooresville, North Carolina, at the beginning of February to allow Wing to be closer to his daughter, Suede Marie.
“I told him he has a little girl there in North Carolina and that it would be good for him,” Mauney said. “He can live right there.”
Wing added, “It is good. I get to see my little girl, who means the world to me,” Wing said. “It is bringing us closer together. We are feeding off each other. I love him like a brother and I would die for him. It just really means a lot. I never really thought about it until he texted me one day and was like, ‘Hey man, you need to see your little girl, why don’t you come live with me? We will feed off each other.’
“That is what we have been doing. Whenever he takes his little one (Bella) to school, we pick mine up usually and hang out and they both play around there. It has just been a blessing.”
While Wing views Mauney as his idol and one of his best friends, Mauney doesn’t look at Wing as a little brother. Instead, he calls Wing one of his best friends as well.
“He is one of my best friends,” Mauney said. “Any time I am riding, if he can be, he is right there on the back of the chutes and vice versa. We build off each other. I tell him to do good and it is kind of back and forth.”
It was that same high kick that Wing displayed in Duluth, Georgia, last weekend that first caught Mauney’s attention in 2010 when the Dalhart, Texas, cowboy made his BFTS debut in Charlottesville, Virginia.
2010 was Mauney’s fifth year on the BFTS and he saw a lot of himself in this 21-year-old making his BFTS debut.
“I didn’t know Stormy,” said Mauney, who is two and a half years older than Wing. “I heard of him a little bit and when he got on tour we kind of hung out. He kind of does the same things I did when I was younger and we have the same mentality. Both of us want to win every time and we get mad at ourselves when we don’t.”
And Mauney’s first memory of Wing in the arena?
“Whooping the piss out of one,” Mauney said with a big grin. “He can spur a bull. He can get his leg high and spur a bull harder than most people ever dreamed of. That is what I liked about him. He had a go get them attitude. He didn’t care if they were the rankest bull going. If they turned back, he would go back to whooping on that son of a gun. Whether he made the whistle or not, he would go to them whooping on them and I liked that.”
Mauney also believes Wing will be a benefit to him as well.
“I said, ‘I think it will help both of us out,’” Mauney said. “We can ride horses, work out, do things like that, get on practice bulls, and I will have someone there driving me as much as I would be driving them to do better and wanting to win. I told him I think this will work out in the long run.”
Mauney, currently third in the world standings, has drawn Oklahoma Bandit (0-0, BFTS) for Round 1 of the Ty Murray Invitational, while Wing will take on Handsome Jeff (4-2, BFTS).
Wing, who is 25th in the world standings, has gone 5-for-17 since moving in with Mauney after beginning the season 0-for-11. Wing used a Round 1 victory in Sacramento, California, (88 points on Legacy) and a second-place finish (87.75 points on Cajun Blood) in Round 2 in Kansas City to avoid the BFTS cutline.
Mauney believes his good pal just needs to let go of any buckoffs inside the arena and then kick loose once again come the next day.
“It is just the mental game,” Mauney said. “He has to not let the buckoffs bother him and come back strong. That will come with time. Being around someone that is positive all the time helps that too. That is what I try to be. The older I have gotten, I get mad at myself when I get thrown off, but I leave it at the arena. Once I leave, it is done and over with. Tomorrow is a new day.
“When someone has the try like he does, all the blocks will fall into place. If I can help him out a little bit and speed that up I will do it.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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