By: Justin Felisko
BISMARCK, N.D. – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney was sitting in the locker room holding a towel next to his left eye when Chase Outlaw came in with a big ole grin.
“Hey, at least he got you next to that eye and you have no nerve damage!” Outlaw said with a laugh. “You will be alright.”
Mauney, blood still streaming down his cheek, laughed as well and once again congratulated Outlaw for making a 94.75-point ride on Smooth Wreck during Chad Berger’s $125,000 team challenge, presented by Marquis Metal Works Saturday night.
“Hell of a bull ride, Outlaw,” Mauney said with a nod.
Outlaw then shook Mauney’s hand, and said, “You are still my hero though.”
The Hamburg, Arkansas, bull rider led the way Saturday night as eight riders surpassed the 90-point threshold during a memorable night of bull riding at the Bismarck Event Center.
If there was ever a rider set to continue Mauney’s legacy as a tough-as-nails, old-school cowboy, then it is Outlaw.
The No. 4-ranked bull rider in the world is amidst a career season after breaking 15 bones on each side his face last year at the Touring Pro Division event at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Outlaw underwent 12 hours of emergency surgery and had 68 screws, 11 plates and four pieces of surgical mesh inserted into his face.
Nine months later and Outlaw became the No. 1 bull rider in the world, and he may just be able to regain the top stop in the world standings when he returns to Cheyenne, Wyoming, on July 22-23 for Last Cowboy Standing.
A PBR Major victory would also go a long way in helping Outlaw potentially write his name next to Mauney’s in the record books as one of 19 different PBR World Champions.
Outlaw has always held Mauney in high regard, and receiving any kind of praise from the future Ring of Honor inductee is something he doesn’t take lightly.
“That’s the greatest guy to ever put his hand in a freaking bull rope,” Outlaw said after Mauney walked out of the locker room. “To have him tip his hat and give you that nod, I mean, that doesn’t just give you a little bow of the chest. It’s not just like a Joe Blow, that’s the freaking best guy that’s ever put his hand in a bull rope.
“So that’s a huge honor.”
Mauney may have been able to become the ninth rider to be 90 or more until receiving a nasty gash inside the bucking chute when South Texas Gangster jerked him forward. The 32-year-old was unable to continue in the event as blood was gushing down his face from a gash to the left of his left eye.
The 13-time PBR World Finals qualifier received stitches following the event and said he would be alright.
“It was either the chute or the horn. I hit something real hard,” Mauney said. “I just needed to get it sewed up.”
2018 PBR Rookie of the Year Keyshawn Whitehorse also said he would be OK after a tough buckoff (2.66 seconds) against Soup In a Group during the team challenge. Whitehorse injured his left leg.
There was no other rider inside the Bismarck Event Center on Saturday night that could appreciate an impressive 90-point ride bull riding clinic the way Mauney can.
Mauney is tied with two-time World Champion Justin McBride for the second-most 90-point rides (72) on the premier series in PBR history and has the most 90s among active bull riders.
“That was a rank bull riding,” said Mauney, who made his way out of the locker room with a towel near his eye to watch the conclusion of the competition. They cocked their hammer and they came with it. It was good watching.
“I just wish I could have made it out of the chute.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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