By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney is not going to panic or overreact to his 0-for-10 start to the season.
Mauney knows he has 10 World Champion exemptions to continue to compete on the Unleash The Beast and work his way back into the Top 30 this season, but he will hold off on using them for the time being.
“I can make the World Finals in 10 bull ridings,” Mauney said Wednesday after landing at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Alabama. “I have 10 World Champion exemptions. I am going to hold off and use them later this season.
“I am not sure when I will come back just yet, but, at the latest, I would come back for Cheyenne for sure.”
Mauney was on his way to compete in the slack Wednesday at the Southeastern Livestock Exposition & Rodeo in Montgomery, Alabama. He will then fly to Dallas to meet with Dr. Tandy Freeman and have his hip X-rayed on Thursday.
This is the second year in a row in which Mauney has struggled out of the gate. The 10 consecutive buckoffs this season is the worst start of his career, but Mauney also began last year 1-for-10 when he was coming off a nine-month layoff from reconstructive shoulder surgery.
“I have been like riding shit,” Mauney admitted. “When they go right, my hips are hurting so bad when they turn into it. I am going to see Tandy tomorrow and get my hip looked at. It’s normal stuff I have been dealing with. I am not going anywhere this weekend. We have to lay some water lines this weekend at the house.”
Mauney has not been struggling entirely in 2021. He is sitting No. 46 in the PRCA bull riding standings with $3,732.96 and is 4-for-6 at six rodeos, according to ProRodeo.com.
Mauney, who ranks second all-time with 538 qualified rides on the premier series, used four consecutive Top-5 finishes to end the PBR regular-season last year and qualify for his 15th consecutive PBR World Finals. The only rider in PBR history to make it to 16 straight World Finals is 2004 World Champion Mike Lee.
Mauney’s 28th-place finish in the world standings last year and his World Finals qualification triggered his eligibility for World Champion exemptions this season. Any Word Champion who qualifies for the World Finals gets a guaranteed 10 exemptions for the following season to use at their discretion beyond the standard guaranteed events for finishing inside the Top 30.
Last year, three-time World Champion Silvano Alves needed his World Champion exemptions after beginning the 2020 season 6-for-22. Alves is off to a 6-for-17 start this season and is ranked No. 10 in the world standings heading into this weekend’s PBR Caterpillar Classic in Kansas City, Missouri.
Mauney will have plenty of opportunities to climb the world standings when he decides he is ready to return to the Unleash The Beast. He competed at only nine regular-season events in 2020, and there are still more than 7 months remaining before the 2021 PBR World Finals at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (Nov. 3-7).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media
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