Mauney, who is currently ranked 2nd in the PBR world standings, has competed north of the border every year since 2007, whereas this is only the third time Palermo has been invited to the 10-day long event that has been billed “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”
Palermo, who is currently ranked 14th in the world standings, said he was surprised to receive the invitation considering he was not even in the Top 20 at the time he was called.
A week earlier he had spoken with his wife about wishing he had an opportunity, but typically those invitations are reserved for PBR riders ranked in the Top 10.
“The guy called me and asked if I wanted to go,” Palermo recalled. “I said, ‘Oh yeah, for sure.’ It surprised me.”
Palermo is currently riding as well as he has in years. In his most recent event, he finished fourth in the average at a summer PBR event in Rock Springs, Texas, and is now less than 200 points from vaulting into the Top 10 of the PBR world standings.
Palermo missed the better part of two seasons following a series of surgeries to both shoulders.
“I feel good,” said Palermo. “Nothing hurts. No pain. Nothing.”
The same can be said for the oft-injured Mauney.
“We’ve been on break and I feel pretty good,” said Mauney, who would never admit to being injured even if he was.
Mauney, who won the PBR world title in 2013 and again last year, in 2015, said that in addition to a lot of money being on the line, Stampede organizers see to it that everyone is well taken care of during their time in Calgary.
Mauney also said it’s an opportunity every rodeo athlete – not just bull riders – look forward to. After nearly five months of competing every week at a PBR event, Mauney indicted he likes being part of the whole rodeo atmosphere for 10 days in the middle of summer.
Like Mauney, Palermo is looking forward to the trip north of the U.S. border.
He was originally scheduled to compete in Pool A, but traded positions with Mauney’s brother-in-law Shane Proctor and is now in Pool B along with Mauney from July 12-15 and both hope to compete in the final round on July 17.
Palermo said he was initially looking forward to being among the first group of 10 riders, but the move allows him to fly up four days later than planned and spend less time away from his wife and three kids, who will remain home in Texas.
“I’m ready,” said Palermo, who is hoping the third time is a charm. “I feel good.”