By: Justin Felisko
August 26, 2016
TULSA, Okla. – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney may just be wearing a special pair of cowboy boots when he is walking through downtown Tulsa this weekend on his way to the BOK Center.
Mauney was given a customized pair commending his historic 95.25-point ride aboard three-time World Champion Bushwacker in Tulsa by Mitch Covington of Monster Energy last year
The 2013 ride was by far one of the biggest in PBR history, and certainly likely the largest in Tulsa history. At the time, Bushwacker had bucked off 42 consecutive riders on the Built Ford Tough Series.
“The Bushwacker boots I wear around now, so they will be there,” Mauney said. “(Mitch) had me another set for me made for winning the world last year, but they are at home put up. I wear (the Bushwacker pair) every day when I am working cows or riding horses. I wear them and put spurs on them. Before we left (for Nashville), I took my spurs off them, and come here.”
Bushwacker will receive the Brand of Honor during this year’s Heroes and Legends ceremony at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas on Nov. 1.
“That is a pretty big deal for as many times that I had been on that bull and everybody saying he is the best,” Mauney said.
They met a total of 13 times and all but once Bushwacker was victorious.
The Mauney vs. Bushwacker rivalry has been compared to the legendary 1988 Challenge of Champions series between Lane Frost and Red Rock.
Mauney to this day will still re-watch his ride aboard Bushwacker when he has some downtime, but he does admit it is all still feels like a “blur.”
“I watch it back every once in a while,” he said. “As far as remembering exactly everything that is happening, I couldn’t tell you.”
Still, there is no comparing his historic ride on Bushwacker to that of two gold buckles, Mauney added.
“Titles go ahead of it,” Mauney said. “The world titles outrank everything else.”
Mauney now may be able to pull off another monumental ride three years later at the BOK Center when he takes on Big Cat during Saturday night’s 15/15 Bucking Battle at the 12th consecutive Tulsa Express Employment Professionals Classic, presented by Osage Casino, on Saturday and Sunday.
The 15/15 Bucking Battle airs Sunday on CBS national television at 1 p.m. ET.
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert was in Tulsa three years ago when Mauney made history, and he believes an 8-second ride on Big Cat will also likely bring a 90-plus score.
“Talking about how many 90-point scores he has and all the history of how he has done big things at Tulsa. This could be another really big thing,” Lambert said.
Big Cat has bucked off all 15 of his Built Ford Tough Series opponents, including Mauney in 1.94 seconds at Last Cowboy Standing and 23 overall. 2010 World Champion Renato Nunes has lasted the longest on Big Cat at 5.5 seconds (2015 World Finals).
“You can tell he is smart,” Mauney said. “He can go either way and launch you and rolls. He will put you where he wants to and you end up on the ground and on your ass.”
The odds may be in Mauney’s favor based upon his track record at the BOK Center.
The Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider went 3-for-3 to win the 2015 BFTS event in Tulsa and is 15-for-30 with three 90-point rides in 10 trips to eastern Oklahoma.
“Oh hell I don’t know,” Mauney said about his Tulsa success. “No telling really. I guess some places I have good luck at more than others.”
Mauney also arrives in Tulsa fresh off a Ride Score Championship at the Frontier Communications Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires, last weekend in Nashville. The 29-year-old went 3-for-4 with a 90.25-point ride on Texicali to earn 455 world points.
There are nine more regular-season Built Ford Tough Series events until the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals on Nov. 2-6 during PBR Finals week.
Mauney is second in the world standings and only 160.33 points behind world leader Kaique Pacheco.
Mauney is notorious for turning it on not only in Tulsa, but during the fall run up to the World Finals.
In the previous 10 seasons, Mauney is 169-for-302 (55.96 percent) from Aug. 1 through the Built Ford Tough World Finals. Thirty-four of his 69 90-point rides have come during that timeframe.
He went 20-for-28 during the final three months last season during his march to a second World Championship.
Mauney understands it is time to really get after it if he wants to repeat as World Champion.
“You come back off that (summer) break you feel good, or I do,” Mauney said. “I feel good and ready to go. The pressure is kind of on. You only got so many events left to make your move if you are going to do it.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2016 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.