By: Justin Felisko
October 06, 2016
NAMPA, Idaho – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney knows he has to come-from-behind to win the PBR World Championship with less than a month remaining in the season. He has done it before, but it doesn’t mean he is happy with where he is at currently.
Mauney is returning to competition this weekend at the DeWALT Flexvolt Invitational in Nampa, Idaho, after missing the last two weeks because of a broken rib.
During his absence, world leader Kaique Pacheco has soared to a 1,205.33-point lead. Pacheco earned 345 world points in two events, including his 15/15 Bucking Battle victory in Eugene, Oregon, last week.
“I rather be sitting first, but it is what it is,” Mauney said. “I guess it is catch-up time now.”
The 29-year-old isn’t concerned about the deficit after overcoming a 2,354.75-point deficit in the final three 2013 Built Ford Tough Series regular-season events and World Finals.
It may be a different points system this time around, but Mauney understands there is a whopping 3,300 points available at the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals next month and a strong performance there can easily propel him to a record-tying third World Championship.
“That is what I am banking on because I don’t have a lot of time left,” Mauney said Thursday morning. “You don’t want to count on just that. You have to do that every time. Every event you go to, you have to ride everything. You have to ride every bull you get on and the rest will take care of itself. I don’t really worry about it.”
There are still 2,250 points available in the final three BFTS events and 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“I still always say, J.B. Mauney, if he is in striking distance he can win it,” two-time World Champion Justin McBride said. “Just because, I feel like if he can be somewhat healthy going into Finals, he has the ability to win every go-round.”
Mauney has drawn Mr. Clark (14-3, BFTS) for Round 1 on Friday night and War Cry (0-0, BFTS) for Saturday’s Round 2.
Fans can watch Round 1 exclusively on PBR LIVE beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Mr. Clark will be his first bull attempted since Who Dey bucked him off and stepped on his guts in 2.83 seconds at Mauney’s home-state event in Charlotte. A ride aboard Who Dey would have likely given Mauney his first regular-season win of the year and had him knocking on the door step of the world No. 1 ranking.
“Well, I was pretty sore for the first week and real sore,” said Mauney, who has ridden with broken ribs before. “The reason I took last week off, I could move around and stuff alright, but when I turned or twist I could tell. I could have got on, but I didn’t want to chance it with Finals coming up.”
Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray said in Colorado Springs, Colorado, “You don’t ever rule J.B. out “
Hindsight is always 20/20, but Mauney admitted he wished he followed his gut instinct in Charlotte and selected Jared Allen’s Air Time instead of Who Dey during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round draft.
“Yeah, I kind of told somebody that I wish I would have picked him,” Mauney revealed. “Who Dey is a good bull, but he is just good. As pumped up and amped up as I was, I should have went with Air Time. I was going a little bit faster than Who Dey was.
“That businessman approach does not work for me.”
Mauney leads the PBR with a 56.36 percent (31-for-55) riding percentage and three 15/15 Bucking Battle victories. He began the stretch run of the season 4-for-6 before a series of injuries wiped him out of competition.
A week before Charlotte, Mauney sustained a concussion, a dislocated left (riding) shoulder and a stretched nerve when Pearl Harbor rocked him forward in inside the bucking chutes in Springfield, Missouri. Mauney had also suffered an abdominal injury/hip pointer two weeks before that in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
He has missed three of the last five events. Mauney won the 2014 world title despite competing in only 18 BFTS events. He is on pace for 22 in 2016 if he competes in the final three regular-season events and the World Finals.
“That is the way it goes sometimes,” Mauney concluded. “Eventually it has to turn around.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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