PUEBLO, Colo. – J.B. Mauney was joking around with members of the PBR broadcast team a few weeks ago when he said he wanted to hop into the broadcast booth for the Built Ford Tough Ring of Honor: Unfinished Business, pay-per-view event.
Well, Mauney has since gotten his wish.
The 2013 World Champion will join Craig Hummer, nine-time World Champion Ty Murray, PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert, Leah Garcia and Brandon Bates for a portion of the Unfinished Business pay-per-view on Saturday night.
“Oh, payback is going to be hell,” Mauney said with a large grin this past weekend.
Mauney, like many of the other riders on the Built Ford Tough Series, has received his fair share of criticism from Justin McBride and J.W. Hart, who both have served as color commentators for CBS Sports Network, and the 28-year-old said he can’t wait to break down their rides in front of a national audience just as they have done to him.
Hart and McBride are competing with fellow PBR legends Chris Shivers, Tater Porter, Ross Coleman, Michael Gaffney, Cody Custer and Mike White for a chance at winning $160,000 in a one-round, winner-take-all portion of the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge BlueDEF Velocity Tour event on Saturday night.
“Yeah, I was messing around with them the other week and said the only thing that would make it better watching them guys get on is if I could commentate when they were getting on,” Mauney said. “The (producers) said I could. It is going to be great.”
Mauney will first be competing in the BlueDEF Velcocity Tour event and the Champion’s Challenge. He has arguably the marquee matchup in the Champions Challenge after he selected Stone Sober as his opponent.
Stone Sober has posted 23 buckoffs since being ridden by Emilio Resende for 88 points in Oklahoma City in January 2013. The D&H and Cattle Company bovine athlete has been one of the more inconsistent bovines in the sport and has been called for a foul or fallen in the arena on five different occasions in the past three BFTS seasons.
Mauney has never attempted Stone Sober, but he knows that if he gets a clean out with the bovine he has a chance to surpass the 90-point threshold.
“I figured you are going to have to be 92-93 (points) to win, and he is going to leap up there and be real wild and Western,” Mauney said. “Hopefully, they will like it if I ride him.”
Mauney had originally selected Mick E Mouse as the bull he wanted to face in the Champion’s Challenge, but that was before Marlene Henry’s bull sustained a fracture in his lower back in Billings, Montana. Mauney then had wanted to face Sweet Pro’s Long John, but was informed that Long John had been selected as the $20,000 bounty bull.
Mauney spent many of his early years in the PBR competing alongside McBride, Coleman and some of the other legends that will be nodding their heads in Decatur.
There was no protection from their criticism inside the locker room if he didn’t give a good enough effort in the arena.
“Oh, they still critiqued me, that is for sure,” Mauney said. “A lot of these guys didn’t come around early enough to ride against them guys, but it was the same way. The locker room back then was a lot harsher than it is today. If you didn’t try as hard as you should have, the last place you wanted to go back to was the locker room. I liked it like that. It made you try harder. If you didn’t, everybody told you about it.”
Nowadays, Mauney still receives some joshing from his former riding mates as he is now closer to some of their ages compared to some of the rookies on tour.
Mauney used to feel like he was invincible and unstoppable.
Those times have since changed and he can’t just rub some dirt on his injuries anymore.
“Them guys are giving me hell now,” Mauney said with a chuckle. “I have an elbow brace, a knee brace. It takes me longer to get all of my braces on than it does to get my rope fix and ready to ride.
“It takes a toll on you. When you are 21 or 22 you are like, ‘Oh whatever.’ You don’t want to listen to anybody. You are hardheaded. I was the same way.”
Case and point was in April when Mauney had to take a month off and attend physical therapy for his torn left ACL for the first time in his career.
He would have refused rehab and time off in the early days of his career.
The time away from the BFTS paid huge dividends. Mauney was able to recuperate physically and mentally to the point where he returned with a greater desire to succeed than before his injury.
He has gone 7-for-11 since tearing his ACL, and he heads into the summer break 1,350 points behind world leader Joao Ricardo Vieira.
Mauney went 19-for-38 in 16 events and he currently has a riding average of 50 percent or higher 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.
After earning 1,130 of his points in the final three regular-season BFTS events before the summer break, Mauney plans on primarily resting during the summer break, instead of hitting the ground running in June.
“I am planning on taking pretty much all of June off and go to the Calgary Stampede in July,” Mauney said. “That is all about I got planned. The way they got the points system now, a man can make up a lot of ground just going to Built Ford Tough events. You don’t have to go to them Touring Pros as long as when you come to the (BFTS) deals you make it count.”
Regardless, Mauney said he didn’t need a special challenge or a spot in the broadcast booth as incentive to make his way to Decatur this weekend.
He wasn’t going to miss a chance to see a group of PBR legends come out of retirement for one more bull ride.
“I still would have went to watch those guys get on,” he said. “My money is either on McBride or Mike White probably. I would say one of them two, but it is a tossup. They are all getting on good bulls so it is kind of a tossup.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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