By: Justin Felisko
October 11, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – J.B. Mauney says he can’t remember a time in his life where he actually wore a tie. The two-time World Champion certainly won’t be arriving to the SAP Center in San Jose, California, with a briefcase and laptop either on Friday night.
Mauney tried the businessman approach to bull riding last month in Charlotte and wound up breaking a rib when Who Dey stepped on him and cost him a chance at his first Built Ford Tough Series event win of 2016.
No, Mauney did not actually try to ride with a shirt and tie in Charlotte. Rather, he attempted to make a “smart” pick instead of following his gut instinct to select Jared Allen’s Air Time.
It is why it came as no surprise to see Mauney step up onto the shark cage last weekend at the Ford Idaho Center and select the rank, and nearly impossible to ride, Stone Sober with the ninth pick of the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
“I told you the other weekend in Charlotte that I should have went with my instinct and I tried to go with the businessman pick and that don’t work for me,” Mauney said. “Usually when you are down (in the championship round), and you don’t do your job, they leave you the ones I like anyways.
“I didn’t figure Stone Sober would be left down there, but when I walked up there I thought, ‘Well, he is wild and Western, and so am I, so let’s go with him.’”
Mauney wound up winning his first Built Ford Tough Series event in his first event back from the injury by riding Stone Sober for 92.5 points in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
The ride ended Stone Sober’s streak of 31 consecutive BFTS buckoffs. The victory put Mauney, the third ranked rider in the world standings, just 700.33 points behind world leader Kaique Pacheco.
It also was his 70th 90-point ride of his career, two away from tying two-time World Champion Justin McBride for the second most in PBR history.
Mauney has become a superstar during his 11-year career by riding the rankest bulls in the PBR.
During his 2013 World Championship run, Mauney began his historic comeback by ending Bushwacker’s PBR record streak of 42 consecutive buckoffs by riding the three-time World Champion Bull for 95.25 points in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Mauney clinched his second world title last year by riding 2016 World Champion Bull contender SweetPro’s Brusier for 92.75 points during Round 4 of the World Finals.
The ride came one month after he took over the world No. 1 ranking with a 92.25-point effort aboard eventual 2015 World Champion SweetPro’s Long John in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
In fact, Mauney has ridden every World Champion Bull since 2007 and has 10 BFTS rides in total against them – Chicken on a Chain (3), Bones (1),Code Blue (2), Bushwacker (1), Asteroid (1) and Long John (2).
This year he has already rode Pearl Harbor for a memorable 94.25 points to win the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 15/15 Bucking Battle despite numbness in his hand, as well as Long John for 90.25 points in Oklahoma City.
“You don’t get into bull riding because you are a businessman,” said CBS Sports Network commentator J.W. Hart. “This sport isn’t a businessman’s sport. It only makes sense to be the way he is and to have that cowboy mentality. He personifies it perfectly in the arena. He goes at them and capitalizes when the lights are bright.”
He will get a chance at his 11th qualified ride against a World Champion Bull when he takes on Asteroid Saturday night during the 15/15 Bucking Battle. Fans can watch the event Sunday on CBS national television at 5 p.m. ET (check local listings).
Mauney rode Asteroid for 93.5 points at the 2012 BFTS event in San Antonio, but otherwise is 0-3 against him at all levels of competition.
Asteroid is 8-0 on the BFTS since Chad Berger bought the 2012 World Champion Bull and brought him out of retirement in February.
He isn’t the same bull that he once was, but Asteroid has still proven to have enough moxie to dispose his challengers. Robson Palermo and Lachlan Richardson are the only two riders to have even made it past 5 seconds.
If there is one rider inside the locker room that can take down Asteroid, it may just be Mauney, who has won three 15/15 Bucking Battles and 14 BFTS rounds.
“We only get to do this career for so long in this life and I figure if I am going to try and put my name down in history, I better show them every time I can.”
Mauney’s performance in Nampa, Idaho, wasn’t his best. He was bucked off by Wolf Cry in 4.86 seconds in Round 2 and was lucky to pick up the victory after eight riders ahead of him all bucked off their championship-round bull.
“I didn’t even think I was going to be close to winning it,” the Mooresville, North Carolina, cowboy said. “Cooper (Davis) had a good bull, and I figured he would ride his. Marco (Eguchi) had a good bull. There were a lot of good matchups. It worked out in my favor I guess.”
Mauney’s gift may end up disastrous for the other aspiring World Champion contenders.
His 30th career victory, including his two World Finals event victories, reminded the rest of the competition that the 29-year-old is very much alive in the 2016 world title race. He may have dealt with the broken rib, a dislocated left shoulder, concussion, hip pointer and who knows what other injuries he hasn’t revealed in the past two months, but Mauney is not ready to let his World Championship reign end quietly.
“You can’t deny J.B. Mauney,” Hart said. “You just cannot do it. Next week, you don’t know. I am going to ride my horse and stay with Cooper to be my favorite right now, but I am with every one of those bull riders in the locker room that are thinking:
‘Uh, oh. He is back.’
15/15 Bucking Battle Matchups
Robson Palermo vs. Jeremiah (25-1, BFTS)
Lachlan Richardson vs. Boot Jack (31-2, BFTS)*
Guilherme Marchi vs. DaNutso (26-7, BFTS)*
Derek Kolbaba vs. Cooper Tires Semper Fi (26-12, BFTS)*
Wallace de Oliveira vs. Swashbuckler (12-3, BFTS)
Paulo Lima vs. Bad Moon Rising (6-3, BFTS)
Mike Lee vs. Cooper Tires Brown Sugar (33-11, BFTS)*
Ryan Dirteater vs. SweetPro’s Bruiser (22-5, BFTS)*
Fabiano Vieira vs. Catfish John (11-4, BFTS)*
Eduardo Aparecido vs. Smooth Operator (28-1, BFTS)*
Jess Lockwood vs. Spotted Demon (23-1, BFTS)
Joao Ricardo Vieira vs. Modified Clyde (33-10, BFTS)*
J.B. Mauney vs. Asteroid (57-4, BFTS)*
Cooper Davis vs. Big Cat (3-1, BFTS)
Kaique Pacheco vs. Stone Sober (34-2, BFTS)*
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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