PUEBLO, Colo. – 2013 World Champion J.B. Mauney and four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris will nod their heads for a greater cause than just making the 8-second mark this coming weekend at Hico’s Steak Cook Off Chute Out in Hico, Texas.
According to event organizer Cody Ohl, both Mauney and Harris have already agreed to donate the $10,000 that either rider can win in a special bounty round following the Touring Pro Division event in Hico, Texas, toward Madison Burt – a 4-year-old girl battling brain cancer.
“They both agreed that we are going to donate that money back to Madison Burt,” Ohl said. “We have a local friend here in town and this little girl lives in Meridian, Texas, but she has a lot of family here in Hico.”
Harris will take on Wolverine (5-0, BFTS) for the first time in his career, while Mauney is slated to face off against Circle T’s Crossfire (11-0, BFTS).
Mauney previously faced Crossfire in Oklahoma City and was bucked off in 1.83 seconds.
If both riders are bucked off, the event will still award the $10,000 to Burt.
“When I first came up with the idea, I thought, ‘These bulls haven’t been ridden yet,” Ohl said. “Those guys are supposed to ride them bulls and they haven’t. They sure have been a handful at the Built Ford Tough and that is why I chose those two bulls.
“I hope they both ride, but when you own the bulls you want to see them win too.”
Ohl’s event is a good warm-up for Mauney and Harris, who will be a part of two marquee PBR events in the final two weekends of May.
Following Hico, Mauney and Harris will head to Las Vegas next week for Last Cowboy Standing, the feature event of Cowboy Spring Break.
The two champion bull riders are then going to participate in the special World Champion’s Challenge on May 30 in Decatur, Texas, during the Built Ford Tough Ring of Honor: Unfinished Business, presented by BlueDEF, on pay-per-view.
Ohl says he has enjoyed seeing Harris make the switch from the PRCA to the PBR. The tie-down roper had spent many years competing alongside Harris on the rodeo trail and saw just how good the 28-year-old is.
“I wish he would have went a little sooner,” Ohl said. “I think him going to the PBR Finals last year and having great success was awesome. Trying to beat Donnie’s (Gay) record is great and all, but when you ride good enough to win $1 million, that is where you need to be. I am glad he is over there because the PBR needs him and he needs the PBR.”
Harris has struggled as of late because of numbness in his riding hand, but the Texas native is still ranked ninth in the world standings.
He has gone 17-for-50 (34 percent) in 20 BFTS events.
Mauney, who has $1 million in his pocket thanks to his 2013 championship, has been on an absolute tear since returning from a torn left ACL in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider not only won the event title in Des Moines, but he has gone 5-for-8 to rise to No. 4 in the world standings.
Mauney is 17-for-35 (48.57 percent) this year on the BFTS and trails world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira by 682.5 points.
“The last couple of years, J.B. was supposed to come and he got injured both times right before my bull riding,” Ohl said. “We are really good friends and to have him here is huge. There are a lot of great bull riders, but he draws the people.”
The event is schedule to take place on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Cody Ohl’s Gold Buckle Ranch. It is the third year in a row that Ohl has hosted a TPD event on his 140-acre property in central Texas. Ohl is expecting a crowd of close to 2,500.
Just like he did last year, Ohl is also donating scholarships to a group of Hico High School students, ranging from athletic stars to the school’s valedictorian. However, this year Ohl and his group of sponsors have arranged for 18 $1,000 scholarships compared to 12 scholarships last year.
“I just wanted to give them back something that they could always remember and know that hard work does pay off at the end, regardless if somebody is watching you or not.
Last year, the TPD also raised $45,000 for the family of Alex Sikes, a 20-year-old Hico resident that tragically passed away in a head-on collision with a semi-truck just days before Ohl’s event.
“We just have great sponsors to pull these things off,” Ohl said. “We have sold right around 38 box seat sponsors and nine title sponsors this year.”
Beyond the good deeds being done at his event, Ohl expects plenty of fireworks in the arena when Harris and Mauney leave the bucking chutes.
“Everybody loves them, and you know any time you are going to see something great,” Ohl said. “There is a possibility of greatness there any time they nod their heads.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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