Oklahoma Wildcatters Secure First Pick in 2024 PBR Teams Expansion Draft

By: Darci Miller

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s been almost three years since two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney has competed at an Unleash The Beast event.

But he was back under the bright lights of the premier series on Championship Sunday at the Ariat PBR Indianapolis this weekend, albeit for an entirely different reason.

Recently announced as the head coach of the Oklahoma Wildcatters, one of two expansion teams set to join the PBR Camping World Team Series in 2024, Mauney was on hand to participate in the coin flip to decide which team gets the first pick in the expansion draft.

Mauney was joined by Oklahoma general manager Brandon Bates, while the New York Mavericks, led by general manager Chris Patani, head coach Kody Lostroh and assistant coach Ednei Caminhas, were represented by Flint Rasmussen.

Arena announcer Matt West flipped the coin, custom-made for the Wildcatters and Mavericks by the Highland Mint in Indiana, which went in favor of the Wildcatters.

Mauney announced that they will take the first pick in the draft.

“I’m ready to win,” Mauney said, a confident smile on his face.

The expansion draft will be held in a snake format, with the order reversing in each round. Oklahoma will have the first pick, while New York will have picks two and three, with Oklahoma following with picks four and five.

The teams will be allowed to secure up to six protected roster riders by drafting eligible riders on existing teams left unprotected or unrestricted free agents. Existing teams will each lose one rider from their protected roster or injured reserve. Expansion teams can select up to two additional riders from eligible free agents, but they do not have to if so inclined.

“I want the ones with the grit. The ‘never say die’ attitude,” Mauney told last week. “I kind of have in my head the type of guys that I’d like to have on the team, and it’s worked out pretty well every time we’ve talked, so it shouldn’t be too hard. There’s a lot of young guys coming up right now that nobody has even heard of, so there’s a lot up in the air still.

“With the expansion draft, we have to wait until all of that pans out. Brandon and them can handle that part and figure out which guys are protected and who’s available. We’re looking at guys and going through some scenarios, but it really depends on what the other teams do.”

Meanwhile, Lostroh and the Mavericks are plotting their own course of action.

“We’ve got a list of guys (we’re interested in). Very talented,” Lostroh told “The fact that I’ve been (the assistant coach for the Oklahoma Freedom) for the last two years, I’ve gotten to know quite a few of these guys, and it actually helps me narrow down my list of who I’d like to see on our team. So obviously, every team’s looking for the most and the best riders to fill out a roster. Everybody’s got a few of the top-ranked guys, and that’s kind of going to be something you need. You need to have somebody to build your team around. Who that is, I can’t share, but the fact is you’ve got to have that base to build your team around.

“The expansion draft is definitely a big unknown right now because it can change here pretty quick. But preliminarily, I ranked all the riders, and I have a very good idea of who’s going to protect who. So that’s probably going to be a pretty close estimate, but there may be some wildcards out there. There might be a team or two that doesn’t protect their No. 1 guy, and they might leave him out there for the opportunity to get that first pick in the draft. So it’ll be interesting, but I think, generally speaking, you’re going to see teams protect their top three guys.”

The expansion draft will be held on a date to be determined in April, followed immediately by the new rider draft lottery. Before that, expansion teams may trade with existing teams for protected roster riders. Existing teams must protect up to three riders from the expansion draft before the March 12 deadline.

The new rider draft will take place later this spring, and the Wildcatters will open the season at home on July 12-14 at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City.

There’s a whole lot to do before then, but Bates threw down the gauntlet with the first pick in Indianapolis.

“We will spare nothing to win,” Bates said. “We’re going to get it done.”

Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media

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