By: Justin Felisko
May 17, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – The battle of champions in Vinita, Oklahoma, on June 17 will feature two of the PBR’s best athletes squaring off against two of Gene Owen and Jane Clark’s rankest bulls.
Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney and 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis informed Owen this weekend during Last Cowboy Standing which bull each of the riders would attempt to ride during their $25,000 showdown at the Hometown Dodge Challenger PBR.
Mauney will take on Cochise (24-4, BFTS), while Davis decided to test his strength against Seven Dust (28-1, BFTS).
The rider that has the higher ride score will take home all the cash.
Mauney rode Cochise for 88.25 points at the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals in their only previous meeting as Mauney went on to clinch his second world title.
“He is a big ole bull and bucks hard,” Mauney said. “He is good. I like him. Off the top of my head, I figured I could be the most points on him.”
Davis has only been on Seven Dust one time in his career, lasting 3.29 seconds on the mean, black bull at the 2014 Calgary Stampede.
The 23-year-old believes he can become the fourth rider to ever reach 8 seconds on Seven Dust at any level of competition if he takes the same approach against Seven Dust that he had when he rode Spotted Demon for 90.5 points earlier this year.
“I think he will match up with me just fine,” Davis said. “Just like Spotted Demon, he is going to step ahead really hard and be up under himself sometime. They said (in Calgary) this little bull was a mean one. He was, but I can get him rode.”
Seven Dust is undefeated in 2017 with a 9-0 record and has bucked off 14 consecutive riders since Lachlan Richardson rode him for 92.25 points in Thackerville, Oklahoma, last September. Seven Dust is averaging only 44.31 points per out, but the bovine athlete has proved fitful to his opponents.
Davis knows he will have his work cut out for him, but he believes he needed this kind of matchup to defeat Mauney, who is third all-time with 72 90-point rides at the BFTS level.
“It is pretty cool to go up head-to-head against him,” Davis said. “He is probably the greatest all time, especially if he is the guy you have to go against and out score him on one bull. Therefore, that is why I wanted to pick a bull I know I can be a bunch of points on.”
Davis was able to hold off a frantic push from Mauney last year to win his first career gold buckle, but you can go throw that all out the window when it comes to one night.
“In theory, yeah, but that wasn’t a head-to-head match,” Davis said. “I don’t know. It is never a guy vs a guy. You have to ride your bull and let the judges do what they are going to do. The rest will fall where it may.”
Mauney added, “It is cool. He won the world last year and they called me for a $25,000 bounty. I don’t care who I am matched up with.”
Mauney could potentially earn $50,000 in bounty money in 24 hours this summer.
The 30-year-old is slated to compete against Pearl Harbor for $25,000 in Bismarck, North Dakota, at Chad Berger’s Dakota Community Bank PBR Bull Riding Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Challenge the night before Vinita.
Owen said he had no qualms about Mauney accepting Berger’s offer despite already committing to the Vinita event.
“I don’t blame him at all,” Owen said. “Back in the day, that was just rodeoing. He has rode Pearl Harbor. I don’t blame him at all for going to get on for $25,000. If something happens to J.B., and it can in our business, we still have Cooper. It will be a get the whistle, get the money.”
This year will be Mauney’s second consecutive trip to Vinita after failing to ride Wicked for $25,000 last year.
“It is a small little deal,” Mauney said. “It is a good little event. I had a good time last year.”
The tiny town outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, is hosting its second TPD event in a row after a nine-year hiatus.
Owen said it was no secret that the Mauney-Wicked kept fans engaged after only two riders made the 8-second whistle during the event.
“You need guys like J.B. and Cooper at these smaller events for the draw,” Owen said. “Last year, we brought 47 bulls and they rode two. There were some good guys there, but we had some good bulls. They just didn’t ride them. What saved us was having J.B. there. Plus, there were enough of the TV bulls there that people talked about how rank the bulls were. “
“That bailed us out once. You can’t do that every year. I sure hope they ride six-eight-10 bulls and one of (Mauney/Davis) rides.”
Both riders are ranked inside the Top 10 of the world standings and are in the hunt for the 2017 World Championship.
Mauney is 21-for-47 (44.68 percent) on the BFTS level and is third in the standings, while Davis is 19-for-47 (40.43 percent) and ranked 10th.
Owen hopes a month from now that fans get to witness an old-fashioned riding contest between the two World Champions.
“They have to ride,” Owen concluded. “One of them has to make the whistle to get the money.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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