PUEBLO, Colo. – 2015 was a season full of highs and lows in the PBR, with the crowning of two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney to the sudden passing of World Champion Bull contender Mick E Mouse.
Today, PBR.com takes a look back at five of the most-read stories of 2015.
1. Mick E Mouse will always be Henry’s World Champion
In the most stunning turn-of-events and arguably one of the most heartbreaking stories in the PBR’s history, Mick E Mouse went from a favorite to win the 2015 World Champion Bull title to suddenly being laid to rest in August.
In news that sent shockwaves throughout the PBR family and its fan base, Marlene Henry had to lay her prized bovine athlete to rest in August because of unforeseen medical conditions.
Mick E Mouse had bucked off 34 consecutive Built Ford Tough Series opponents and Henry and stock contractor Kevin Loudamy had devised a secret plan that would have led to Mick E Mouse potentially breaking three-time World Champion Bushwacker’s BFTS buckoff streak (42) on the final day of the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
Sadly, Mick E Mouse began to show signs that something may be wrong in Billings, Montana, and the World Champion Bull contender’s health slowly worsened over the summer months.
2. L.J. Jenkins leaves behind great career for great future
In one of the other more shocking news of 2015 was when a neck injury forced BFTS veteran and 2006 World Finals event winner L.J. Jenkins to retire from the sport of professional bull riding.
Jenkins broke his neck (C-1) attempting to ride Strong Heart in Nampa, Idaho, in April.
The 10-year World Finals qualifier was able to make a full recovery from the injury, but was told he could risk becoming paralyzed if he were to sustain another injury to his neck. Therefore, Jenkins announced his official retirement in July and has since begun focusing on a stock contracting career.
3. Mauney misses final day of World Finals; riders ravaged by injuries
2015 World Champion J.B. Mauney had every intention of going after the World Finals event title on the final day of the Finals, but that was until he began to experience pain in his left shoulder when he woke up in the morning.
The two-time World Champion said he began to feel pain in his shoulder once the adrenaline rush of clinching his second world title began to wear off late the night before.
Mauney underwent X-rays on his left collarbone, which revealed no fracture, and the official diagnosis from Freeman was a sprained left sternoclavicular joint of his riding arm.
He was just one of a slew of riders that sustained an injury during the 2015 World Finals.
Mauney returned to competition last weekend with a second-place finish at the Kearney, Nebraska, Touring Pro Division event.
4. Memorable bulls in PBR history
June was deemed the Month of the Bulls in the PBR, and throughout the month PBR.com and its social media channels focused on the bovine athletes of the PBR.
It takes two to combine for a memorable 8-second ride in PBR history, and the bulls have only continued to gain in popularity as the PBR begins its 23rd season in 2016.
Slade Long of ProBullStats.com created a list of the top bucking bulls in PBR history.
5. J.W. Hart relives Iron Man Moniker
When the Built Ford Tough Ring of Honor: Unfinished Business, presented by BlueDEF, pay-per-view event, was first unveiled in January, everyone knew it would be a historic moment in PBR history.
However, no one could have anticipated the memory J.W. Hart, the brain trust behind the idea for the pay-per-view event, would leave imprinted in the minds of the thousands of fans in attendance or watching at home when he nodded for the gate against King Buck.
Hart wound up sacrificing his body and safety to make the 8-second mark aboard King Buck. Right at the whistle, Hart’s head was jerked down onto King Buck’s, leaving the 2002 World Finals event winner knocked unconscious on the wet ground at the Wise County Fairgrounds.
The Iron Man himself put his well-documented nickname to the test again, and Hart wound up splitting the event victory with Chris Shivers after he was awarded 88.5 points.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.