LAS VEGAS – J.B. Mauney’s mission at the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals is far from over.
The newly-minted 2015 World Champion has the gas pedal slammed to the floor heading into Championship Sunday where he will look to tie Robson Palermo’s PBR record of three World Finals event titles.
Mauney begins Round 5 leading the event average with 270.25 points following his 92.75-point ride on World Champion Bull contender Bruiser on Saturday night that came minutes after Joao Ricardo Vieira and Kaique Pacheco were mathematically eliminated from the world title race.
“It will never take the place of the first gold buckle, but there is no words to put it in there,” Mauney said while walking to the post-event press conference. “To be able to accomplish it, there is no better feeling.”
Don’t be fooled though.
Mauney isn’t satisfied just yet.
“I got two more bulls tomorrow,” he said. “That is what this is all about. When I pick my bulls, and the way I go at a bull riding, I don’t leave anything left on the table. When you are out there, you put it out there every time like it is the last time. That is what it is all about.”
Mauney has drawn Wicked for Round 5. The same bull which Stormy Wing, who coincidentally pulled Mauney’s bull rope on Saturday night, rode for 85.5 points in Round 2 on Thursday.
The second gold buckle has already solidified Mauney’s place alongside some of the all-time greats in the sport of professional bull riding.
Mauney, who becomes the first bull rider in history to surpass $6 million in career earnings, now joins three-time World Champions Adriano Moraes and Silvano Alves and two-time World Champions Justin McBride and Chris Shivers as the only riders in PBR history with multiple titles.
However, a third World Finals event title to go along with two World Championships will only add to his star-studded legacy.
“He is up there with the very best,” PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said. “In my mind, he is up there with those guys and Adriano and Silvano because he already has won the World Finals twice too, and he just took the lead in the World Finals again. He has a pretty good chance at winning the World Finals for a third time and he has two world titles and a couple runner-ups.
“If he is not one of the all-time greats, I don’t know who is.”
If Mauney were to win the World Finals event title, he would become the first rider in PBR history to win both the World Championship and the World Finals event title in two different seasons.
Mauney is one of four riders currently 3-for-4 in Las Vegas this week.
Cooper Davis, Fabiano Vieira and Bonner Bolton are currently chasing Mauney for the 1,000 points that are awarded to the average winner.
The World Finals event title will be awarded to the bull rider who earned the most points via round finish and event average placement.
McBride said another World Finals event title on Sunday afternoon would only add to Mauney’s continuously evolving legacy in 2015.
“If he has two world titles and gets a third World Finals event title, nobody else has done that,” McBride said. “That is like Silvano having three world titles, Adriano has done that too, but Silvano did it back-to-back. Nobody else has done that.”
Currently, Mauney is tied with Alves at four prestigious honors when you combine World Championships and World Finals event titles.
Mauney is 14-for-16 in the past three World Finals.
He won the 2013 Finals event title and placed second last year behind Alves.
He leads active riders with 16 90-point rides at the Finals and 16 round wins. Overall, Mauney is 41-for-63 at the World Finals in his 10-year career.
Alves has said previously that the 2013 World Finals was one of his favorites, despite losing the world title to Mauney that year.
The former defending World Champion tipped his hat in recognition of Mauney’s dominant march to the 2015 championship.
“He was very good this year too,” Alves said. “He has had great concentration before the Finals and every week. He is riding all of the best bulls. He is the best cowboy in the world. He is very confident and is riding good all the time.”
Mauney isn’t even really ready to say he is the World Champion until after the conclusion of the Finals on Sunday afternoon.
“This event is not over with,” he said. “I am not going to really say I am the World Champion until after tomorrow. There are still two bulls to get on tomorrow. That is what I am going for. This is the World Finals. I am trying to win it again.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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