Mauney Strong Contender for 2015 Title

PUEBLO, Colo. – With three days remaining until the Built Ford Tough Series resumes in Biloxi, Mississippi, will take a look at the Top 5 riders in the world standings before the stretch run to the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals officially begins.

Today, we look at J.B. Mauney, who is currently third in the world standings.

FIRST HALF RECAP: Despite tearing his left ACL at the Fresno Invitational and missing five BFTS events in the first half, J.B. Mauney rebounded from the injury more determined than he was at the start of the season. Mauney, who participated in physical therapy for the first time in his career, returned to competition by winning the Des Moines Invitational to jump from 12th in the world standings to eighth. He then placed second at the Rumble in the Rockies in Colorado Springs, Colorado, before finishing Last Cowboy Standing in third place. Overall, he earned 1,130 points in the final three events before the summer break – 50.84 percent of his season total.

BEST FIRST HALF PERFORMANCE:  Mauney won his first event back following the injury by going 2-for-3 at the Des Moines Invitational. The 28-year-old rode Crooked Face for 89.5 points to win Round 2 of the Des Moines Invitational and propel himself to an eventual event win for the first time since March 2014. He earned 560 points in Des Moines.

FIRST HALF TOP RIDE: 89.75 points on Percolator in New York

MAUNEY FINISHES SECOND IN CALGARY: Mauney kept to his normal routine of taking the majority of the summer break off other than the Calgary Stampede. The Mooresville, North Carolina, cowboy went 4-for-6, including an 89.5-point ride on Radioactive, to finish second in Calgary and earned 67.5 points toward the world standings.

Prior to the summer break, Mauney said all he had to do was focus on being healthy and ready for the stretch run to the World Finals.

“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.”

Mauney also tweeted out on Monday that he was attempting some practice bulls in preparation for the Built Ford Tough Series Battle at the Beau.

A BONAFIDE CONTENDER:  Mauney’s quick rise back into contention following his ACL injury has experts believing Mauney can certainly overcome Joao Ricardo Vieira’s 1,352.5 point-lead on him in the world standings.

In fact, PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert called Mauney and three-time World Champion Silvano Alves the top two riders capable of making a strong push for the 2015 world title.

“I think the World Champion race is far from, I don’t want to say it is wide open, because I have a couple of riders that I think are going to do it, and that is Silvano (Alves) and J.B. Mauney,” Lambert said. “I think it is a race between Silvano and J.B. Mauney right now.”

One cause for concern for Mauney supporters may be the fact that Mauney re-aggravated his torn ACL in Calgary and was favoring his knee on Showdown Sunday in Calgary. His riding hand also swelled up on him on the final day.

“I’ve got to let this knee heal some more and probably go back and start doing some physical therapy a couple times a week to get it built up better again,” Mauney said in Calgary. “I’ve kind of slacked off for the last month or so and hadn’t really worked it out. It’s obvious I need to, I guess.”

With three weeks of rest under him, Mauney has the potential to pick up right he left off at Last Cowboy Standing.

Mauney has also been close to dominant at the World Finals during his X-year career and has gone 38-for-59 (64.41 percent) at the PBR’s season-ending event.

Therefore, as long as Mauney stays within striking distance of Joao Ricardo Vieira – roughly 1,500 points – he can possibly pull off another memorable comeback like he did in 2013 at the World Finals.

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.

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