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Incredi-Bull

Four years after conquering Bushwacker at the BOK Center with a 95.25-point ride, two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney returns to Tulsa on the cusp of history.

Article
Justin Felisko
Posted
July 29, 2017

Two-time PBR (Professional Bull Riders) World Champion J.B. Mauney may just be wearing a special pair of cowboy boots when he is walking through downtown Tulsa this August on his way to the BOK Center. Mauney was given a customized pair from Mitch Covington of Monster Energy two years ago, to commemorate his historic ride aboard three-time World Champion Bushwacker.

The 2013 ride was by far one of the biggest in PBR history, and is likely the largest in Tulsa history. At the time, Bushwacker had bucked off a PBR record 42 consecutive riders on the Built Ford Tough Series.

“I still wear the Bushwacker boot,” Mauney says. “[Mitch] had another set for me made for winning the world [in 2015], but they are at home put up. I wear [the Bushwacker pair] every day when I am working cows or riding horses. I wear them and put spurs on them.”

The two rivals met 13 times, and all but once Bushwacker was victorious.

The Mauney versus Bushwacker rivalry has been compared to the legendary 1988 Challenge of Champions series between Lane Frost and Red Rock.

Mauney to this day will still re-watch his ride aboard Bushwacker when he has some downtime, but he does admit it all still feels like a “blur.” “As far as remembering exactly everything that is happening, I couldn’t tell you,” he says.

J.B. Mauney begins the stretch run to the World Finals 21-for-47 (44.68 percent) with one event victory (Billings, Montana) and eight top-10 finishes in 14 events.
J.B. Mauney begins the stretch run to the World Finals 21-for-47 (44.68 percent) with one event victory (Billings, Montana) and eight top-10 finishes in 14 events.

Still, there is no comparing his historic ride on Bushwacker to that of two gold buckles, Mauney adds.

“Titles go ahead of it,” Mauney says. “The world titles outrank everything else.”

And with a third world title possibly on the horizon, Mauney, a 12-year veteran from Mooresville, N.C., is not putting much thought into another potential history-making ride in Tulsa this year. Mauney may be able to become only the third rider in PBR history to record 500 or more rides on the PBR’s prestigious Built Ford Tough Series with two rides during the 13th consecutive PBR Express Employment Professionals Classic Aug. 12-13.

2004 World Champion Mike Lee (Decatur, Texas) and 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi (Leme, Brazil) are the only riders to reach the prestigious milestone so far in the PBR’s 24-year existence.

“Oh yeah, there are not many people that have done that,” Mauney says. “You sit there and the guys I watched growing up, [Chris] Shivers, [Justin] McBride and J.W. [Hart], don’t have 500. To be in a category where there are only three of you, that is a pretty good accomplishment.”

Four years after conquering Bushwacker at the BOK Center, Mauney will step foot inside the downtown Tulsa arena on the cusp of history. The odds may be in Mauney’s favor based upon his track record at the BOK Center. Mauney went 3-for-3 to win the 2015 BFTS event in Tulsa and is 16-for-32 with three 90-point rides in 11 trips to eastern Oklahoma.

“Oh hell, I don’t know,” Mauney says about his Tulsa success. “No telling really. I guess some places I have good luck at more than others.”

Last year, Mauney had an 86-point ride on the board and was in contention for the Tulsa victory, but he was unable to finish the event because of a left hip pointer and abdominal contusion. 

Tulsa is the first of 10 remaining regular-season Built Ford Tough Series events until the 2017 Built Ford Tough World Finals Nov. 1-5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. As of July 1, Mauney was fifth in the world standings and only 1,128.76 points behind world leader Eduardo Aparecido.

Mauney begins the stretch run to the World Finals 21-for-47 (44.68 percent) with one event victory (Billings, Montana) and eight top-10 finishes in 14 events. His 31 career BFTS event victories is the second-most in PBR history behind McBride’s record of 32. Mauney also defeated 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis in a head-to-head $25,000 matchup by riding Cochise for 91 points in Vinita, Okla., in June.

Once the calendar flips to August, though, Mauney is notorious for turning it on.

In the previous 11 seasons, Mauney is 185-for-329 (56.23 percent) from Aug. 1 through the Built Ford Tough World Finals. Thirty-seven of Mauney’s 72 90-point rides have come between August and December. Mauney went 16-for-27 during the final three months last season, in which he finished third in the 2016 world title race.

The richest bull rider in Western sports ($7.2 million in career earnings) understands it is time to really get after it if he wants to add another world championship to his resume. 

“That is the hard part, doing it all year long,” Mauney says. “You can get hot at certain times, but trying to do it all year long is the hard part. It is always important. No. 1 is where everyone wants to be.”

LOCATOR
PBR
BOK Center
200 S. Denver Ave. | Tulsa
918-894-4200
bokcenter.com
Aug. 12: 6:45 p.m.
Aug. 13: 1:45 p.m.