The 30-year-old veteran Monster Energy rider J.B. Mauney, had been in situations like that countless times in his 12-year PBR career.
Damn-near as quickly as he put his hand in his rope, Mauney nodded for the gate.
Eight-seconds later, he clenched both fists and punch his arms forward into the air and then threw his hat.
Amidst all the excitement, judges marked him 89 points. He was a half-point shy of winning the event and settled for third place in Sacramento, California.
“I don’t really worry about the points,” said Mauney, who ecstatic to have gone a perfect 4-for-4 after missing back-to-back events with a hip injury. “I like that bull. He always bucks and you’ll be right at 90 (points) every time. (He has) a lot of up and down and that’s why I went with him.”
McBride said Mauney’s reference to Brutus’ up and down is another indication that he’s not only one of the top professional bull riders in the world right now, he understands the game better than anyone else in the sport.
The up-and-down helped get his score up, but Mauney wound up out time and out of position. He had to work extra hard to keep from touching the bull and while he made a qualified ride, judges ultimately docked him a point.
“Trying not get my face knocked off,” said Mauney, who lifted his knees when got too far out over the frontend of Brutus. “I got a little of time with him and he about whipped me down.”
The move kept Mauney’s face slamming down onto the cement-like backside of the bull’s head.
Mauney’s third place finish was one spot behind fellow Monster Energy rider Chase Outlaw, who finished the event second in the average.
After his ride in the Championship Round, Outlaw dedicated the effort and the weekend to the late Ty Pozzobon, who passed away earlier this month.
McBride, who retired from the sport following the 2008 season and is currently a PBR broadcaster for CBS Sports Network, described Outlaw as “an aggressive, gritty little bull rider.”
After earning 87.5 points on Mortimer in the second round, Outlaw said, “I just cowboy’d up and had fun.”
After a first round buckoff, the second-round out turned Outlaw’s weekend around for the good and may well have ignited his season. It was the first of four consecutive qualified rides, including the 15/15 Bucking Battle, and he’s now ranked 11th in the world.
Following Outlaw’s matchup with Mortimer, who gave him a lot of trouble in the chute, McBride said Outlaw was worth every point he earned.
“This is a guy who truly believes in himself,” McBride said, during the telecast. “He’s not worried about all the little technical stuff. He knows every time he nods his head, he’s to go at it.”
While Outlaw moved up to 11th in the overall world standings, Mauney is now 13th in the rankings despite having competed in only two of the first four events of the 2017 season.
Monster Energy young gun Derek Kolbaba, who won the event a week earlier in Oklahoma City, is still ranked 4th.
Gage Gay – who won the second round in Sacramento with an impressive 89-point effort – is 17th, Reese Cates is 23rd and former World Champion Guilherme Marchi is 24th, giving Monster Energy six riders in the Top 24. Robson Palermo, who is recovering from a knee injury, is expected to be back in competition in the coming weeks.
This week, the Monster Energy riders will join the rest of the Top 35 in Anaheim, California.