PHOENIX ― If he wasn’t such a great bull rider, J.B. Mauney would make a hell of a poker player.
After finally letting everyone in on the fact that he’s been training for going on 14 years by standing on a 12-pound medicine ball, he selected a little known bull named RMEF Team Elk.
Prior to being bought and hauled by four-time Stock Contractor of the Year Jeff Robinson, the young up-and-coming bull was raised by Clay Ellison, a contractor from South Carolina who called Mauney and told him the bull would go back to the left and fit him perfect.
RMEF Team Elk was exactly what Mauney needed to win.
Mauney suspected no one else – namely Ty Pozzobon, who had the first pick in the bull draft for the Built Ford Tough Championship Round – knew enough about the bull to take a chance on him that high in the draft.
As expected, Pozzobon went with Jared Allen’s Homes 4 Wounded Warriors Hot Iron leaving RMEF Team Elk for Mauney with the second pick.
“That left the door open for me,” Mauney said.
“I heard about him – heard he was really good – and then seen him once or twice. I didn’t really tell anybody what I was going to pick and they didn’t know him a whole lot, so I snuck in there and got him and it worked out great.”
Mauney said he generally doesn’t know what he’s picking until he steps up on the shark cage with in-arena announcer Brandon Bates, but was hoping for a chance to go with RMEF Team Elk.
However, it actually depended on Pozzobon.
“I was just hoping it wasn’t that one,” said Mauney, who smirked. “I had a clue because they were talking about the bulls they knew in there and I really didn’t say nothing. Somebody did ask me what I was going to pick and I told them. They said, ‘What’s that?’”
The reigning World Champion needed 87 points to take the lead from young gun Tanner Byrne. He got 89.25 points and then watched as Pozzobon came down early, which solidified his second Built Ford Tough Series event win of the season.
The win in Phoenix moves Mauney from sixth in the world standings to third place among a trio of former World Champions.
Mauney is 406.56 points behind world leader Guilherme Marchi (2008), who leads Mike Lee (2004) by only 70.37 points.
“I hope I can keep it going just like that,” said Mauney.
Byrne finished second this weekend for his first Top-5 finish on the BFTS, while Valdiron de Oliveira, Renato Nunes and Pozzobon, who is still looking for his first BFTS event win, rounded out the Top 5 at US Airways Center.
Nunes, currently amidst a relatively quiet 2014, won the final round with a flashy 92.5-point ride on Jared Allen’s Homes 4 Wounded Warriors Air Time.
The 2010 World Champion was unsure of the bull’s name referring to him only as “the bull Justin McBride got on last week.” Nunes was, of course, referring to McBride’s one day comeback last Sunday in Arlington, Texas, at THE AMERICAN.
Nunes’ ride easily won the round, while Mauney and Byrne, who roadCompact for 88 points, were second and third in the round. Oliveira was the fourth rider to make the whistle and briefly sat in the Bad Boy Mowers Lead Dog chair.
Mauney remarked that his confidence remains high after a week of taking it easy and relaxing at home following his $100,000 win last weekend at THE AMERICAN on Sunday afternoon, which is probably why the Mooresville, N.C., native is happy to be on a late-night flight back home.
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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