LAS VEGAS – There is one thing that J.B. Mauney likes more than putting 90-point rides on the scoreboard, and that is winning.
Mauney – the active leader in 90-point rides (63) – has proven week after week that he is always a threat to surpass the 90-point threshold and bring the crowd to life inside the arena.
His ability to hit the home runs of professional bull riding – this year (seven) – have him in perfect position to win a second career gold buckle.
Mauney’s 91-point ride on Wicked Stick in Round 1 of the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals Wednesday night not only gave him the round win and extended his world lead, but it also moved him past three-time World Champion Silvano Alves’ as the richest bull rider in Western sports history ($5,540,979.23).
“A bull riding career doesn’t last very long, so you better go make as much as you can when you can,” Mauney said. “If it weren’t for the PBR, I wouldn’t have made near as much.”
Mauney currently trails two-time World Champion Chris Shivers’ PBR record of 93 90-point rides by 30, which is certainly going to be a steep mountain to climb for the cowboy from Mooresville, North Carolina.
The 28-year-old said he hasn’t put much thought into potentially breaking the record, but he would only have to average six 90-point rides per season if he were to ride five more years.
Mauney is currently averaging 6.3 90-point rides per season.
He also hinted this week that he may possibly be willing to compete five more seasons.
“I said last year I would like to win (the World Championship) twice and then I would probably quit, but I am feeling pretty good,” Mauney said. “I think I got three or four or five more years left. When I show up and I feel like there are bulls there that can throw me off that I can’t ride, I will quit that day and you will never see me again.”
Shivers knows Mauney has ways to go to potentially surpass his record.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Shivers said. “Maybe. He has a long way to go, but he is still pretty young.”
Shivers also knows Mauney is talented enough to potentially accomplish the feat.
He has tremendous respect for Mauney’s ability to leave it all out in the arena and knows it is likely only a few days before Mauney joins him, two-time World Champion Justin McBride, three-time World Champion Adriano Moraes and three-time World Champion Silvano Alves as the only riders in PBR history with multiple world titles.
“It shows in people,” Shivers said. “The great ones always seem to find a way to win. I know how J.B. feels. To win two world titles, that means that first one wasn’t luck. That is what he is looking at.”
So what does one expert of the 90-point ride think of the current master of the art?
“He styles them up,” Shivers said. “He makes them look good. He puts a little more action into it. There are some people that ride with a lot more control, but control ain’t what looks good all the time. That is where J.B. is.”
Mauney called it an honor to have the respect of a legend such as Shivers.
“The crowd is going to stand up when you make a good bull ride and whoop and holler, but you know you have really done something when guys like that, and guys that are still riding, are whooping and hollering and are pumped up just as much as you are. You know you made a really good bull ride.”
I have people tell me, ‘Oh you are good, good and everything,’ but when it comes from guys like that, it puts a little more weight to it.”
Mauney could potentially get career 90-point ride 64 on Thursday night. He has drawn Hou’s Back, the same bull he rode for 90.25 points to win Round 3 of the Finals last year.
“He leaves the chute a little messed up sometimes,” Mauney said. “He sometimes can want to go backwards, but when I saw the draw I was pretty happy with what I had.”
Once again though, 90 or not, winning takes precedent.
“I don’t really care if I am 85 or 95 if I am winning it,” Mauney said before cracking a slight smile.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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