By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney put thousands of miles on his Prism motorhome during the second half of the 2020 season as took his wife, Samantha, and son, Jagger, with him on his push for a 15th consecutive PBR World Finals.
Mauney’s timing on the back of a bull was a mess when he first returned in August following a seven-month recovery from reconstructive right shoulder surgery. Mauney knew he needed to get on more bulls during the week if he was going to fix his timing issue. He then thought, “Why not go practice for money?”
“When I came back this year, and my timing was off, I was rusty,” Mauney said. “I knew I needed to get on bulls, but I’m at the point in time where I can’t just get on five, six (practice) bulls a day. So, I told my wife, ‘I’m buying my PRCA card back.’ And she said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘I need to get on more bulls. I need to get on as many as I can. Why not win money?’
“So that’s what I did, and shoot, it changed everything when I went to getting on that many bulls. I started my timing come back, I started getting loose, I started feeling good, and it showed up in my riding. I went back to riding bulls that I was supposed to and not looking like a fat-ass.”
Mauney is likely going to continue to rodeo in 2021, and potentially make a run at qualifying for both the 2021 National Finals Rodeo and the 2021 PBR World Finals.
The future Ring of Honor inductee has never climbed inside the pristine yellow bucking chutes at the NFR, and it is one of the few things missing from his illustrious bull riding resume.
“I always liked going to rodeos,” Mauney said during the 2020 PBR World Finals. “I did one year, 2009, and went to both. And I want to make the NFR at least one time. The way I look at it, I’ve accomplished a lot riding bulls, but there’s one thing I always wanted to do that I haven’t, and that was make the NFR.”
Mauney was a busy man beyond just competing on the PBR’s Unleash The Beast schedule this past year. He was also hitting up a series of PRCA rodeos whenever he could in anticipation of making a run at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2021.
The 2021 PRCA season is already underway even despite the 2020 season wrapping up with the NFR for the next nine days at Globe Life Field in Arlington.
Mauney is 26th in the very early 2021 PRCA bull riding standings with $3,432.96.
Stetson Wright won Round 1 of the NFR Thursday night with 90.5 points on Silver Lining. Meanwhile, Ky Hamilton overtook the No. 1 spot in the bull riding world standings with his second-place finish after covering Standard Tuesday for 90 points. Defending six-time PRCA champion Sage Kimzey placed sixth with 80.5 points on Record Rack’s Day Money.
“I feel good, and I hope I can win nine more, and I guess we will see,” Wright told ProRodeo.com Thursday night. “I’m super happy about how this year is going as of right now, and I feel healthy and am ready to rock.
“It can either make or break your week, the way you start out. That is how I looked at it. I just wanted to start with a bang and hopefully keep the momentum going.”
2020 PBR World Finals event winner Boudreaux Campbell, the only bull rider to qualify for the 2020 NFR and World Finals, was bucked off in Round 1.
Mauney, meanwhile, may not be riding at this year’s NFR, but that is not stopping him from working on plans for his post-bull riding career, whenever that time may come.
The North Carolina native is partners with Ultimate Bullfighters, which is hosting its championship in Fort Worth, Texas, from Dec. 3-12 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.
“My wife’s uncle, he raises fighting bulls, so I’ve been hauling and messing with those fighting bulls,” Mauney said. “I’ve got some cows, rodeo cows I’m raising. I’ve got some calves on the ground right now. That’s about it. Messing around with cattle somehow. Trading bulls. I’m not in the bull business to haul bulls. I’m in the bull business to trade them and sell them.”
Mauney, meanwhile, finished his 2020 by competing at his 15th consecutive PBR World Finals. The 15 qualifications are tied for the second-most all time with fellow two-time World Champion Chris Shivers and 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi.
The 33-year-old went 1-for-4 at the World Finals to conclude the season 28th in the world standings. He is guaranteed eight Unleash The Beast events in 2020 because of his Top 30 world finish. Mauney only needed nine premier series events, and nine qualified rides, to reach the PBR’s pinnacle event.
“I went to nine bull ridings this year and made the World Finals,” Mauney said. “If that would’ve happened 10 years ago, you would’ve probably never even had a chance to make the Finals.”
Mauney continues to show up week to week with a burning desire to compete at the highest level despite having to overcome two significant reconstructive right shoulder surgeries since the 2017 Calgary Stampede.
“I still love riding bulls,” Mauney said. “And I’ll tell you one thing. When I was sitting at home, I talked to a buddy of mine. When I was hurt, I was watching bull riding, and one thing that gets me is when guys do not put out the effort. And I told him, when he said, ‘How long are you going to ride?’ I said, ‘I’m going to keep going as long as they keep letting me beat them.’ I said, ‘Because one thing I will do is I’ll out-try the son-of-a-guns no matter how old I get.’
“So as long as I feel like I’m putting 110% out, then I’m going to go. And the day I feel like I just can’t put that much effort out, or I’m not willing to take the slamming or the hooking to make the whistle, then that’ll be the day I quit.
“I know we’re not done, that’s for damn sure,” Mauney concluded. “There’s no retirement.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
Photo courtesy of Christopher Thompson/Bull Stock Media
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