PUEBLO, Colo. – It is clearly only coincidence, but J.B. Mauney’s last best two finishes in the PBR world standings have coincided with a Calgary Stampede bull riding championship.
In 2013, Mauney began his historic march toward his first career PBR World Championship by going 6-for-6 to win the Calgary Stampede, while in 2009 Mauney finished second in the world standings after a 5-for-6 winning performance at the Calgary Stampede.
Mauney took one small step toward potentially winning his third Calgary Stampede bull riding title Tuesday afternoon by taking the first day of Pool B competition at the Stampede Fairgrounds by riding Radioactive for 89.5 points on Tuesday afternoon.
“I was a little nervous coming in to today; I hadn’t been on a bull since May,” Mauney told PBR.com’s Ted Stovin. “No practice bulls. Nothing. And that right there boosts your confidence. No worries now.”
The 28-year-old arrived in Calgary this week rejuvenated after last competing at the PBR’s Unfinished Business pay-per-view event. Similar to 2013, Mauney said earlier this spring that he planned on taking it easy during the summer break in hopes of putting together a run during the home stretch of the Built Ford Tough Series as he tries to overcome Joao Ricardo Vieira’s 1,350-point lead.
Mauney entered the summer break as one of the hottest riders on the BFTS and ranked third in the world standings. After missing five events because of a torn left ACL, Mauney returned to win the Des Moines Invitational and earn 1,130 world points in the final three events before the break.
Two-time World Champion Justin McBride said in May that Mauney has what it takes to overcome Joao Ricardo Vieira.
“I still think J.B. loves to ride bulls and when he wants to, he will get after it,” McBride said. “But I think coming off this injury and having success, he is going to get after it and make a run for it.”
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said last month that even though Vieira was the rider to beat, you couldn’t rule out another memorable Mauney performance.
“I think J.B. Mauney is the most likely guy to win it because he can ride every kind of bull and he is close enough,” Lambert said.
Vieira went 1-for-4 in Pool A action at the Stampede and will have to make it out of Showdown Saturday if he hopes to win this year’s bull riding title.
Mauney went 19-for-38 in 16 BFTS events and he currently has a riding average of 50 percent or better for the third time in the past six seasons. His current 50 percent average is significantly higher than his 39.68 percent ratio that he concluded last year with.
“The way they got the points system now, a man can make up a lot of ground just going to Built Ford Tough events,” Mauney said. “You don’t have to go to them Touring Pros as long as when you come to the (BFTS) deals you make it count.”
For now, Mauney is focused on winning the $100,000 bonus at the Calgary Stampede for the third time in his career.
2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi (87 points on Rival Son), Wesley Silcox (85.5 points on Pink Panther), Sage Kimzey (85.5 points on Big Cool), Beau Hill (84.5 points on Indian Turtle) and Ty Pozzobon (83.5 points on Laugh Out Loud) were the other riders in Pool B to make the 8 second whistle Tuesday.
Pozzobon replaced four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris, who could not compete in Calgary because of travel issues.
Fellow Built Ford Tough Series riders Stetson Lawrence and Cody Nance were bucked off by Chuckey and Tweedle Dee, respectively.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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