“I’d love nothing more than to stay right where I’m at,” Mauney said, “and run off and nobody be able to catch me when I get to the Finals, but, I don’t know, it seems like when I get out front and when there’s no pressure on me is when I kind of falter. I kind of like coming from behind.”
That’s an understatement. In 2013, he won five of the last nine PBR events in route to the World Finals, which he also won, in an effort to claim the lead and title on the last bull of the season.
He won his second title, in 2015, by also coming from behind down the stretch.
“We’ll see how it works being ahead,” Mauney said.
Other than when he’s asked about it, Mauney also said he does not concern himself with the world standings.
However, given the media attention and the attention of his worldwide fan base, everyone else seems to do a good job of keeping the 29-year-old constantly aware of his place in the PBR world standings.
“It makes you feel good,” said Mauney, of being the No. 1 ranked bull rider in the world, but yet again he added, “I really don’t think about it. The only time it matters, like I say, is when the last bull is bucked in Las Vegas.”
In any case, the two bulls Mauney rode in Rounds 1 and 2 had never been bucked on the elite televised tour.
He started off the three-day event by winning the opening round with 87.5 points on Oklahoma Bandit and then followed up with 88.25 points to win the second round on Shelley’s Gangster.
Saturday night he reclaimed the top spot by a few points and afterward, he said, “I knew they wouldn’t let them bring (those two bulls) here if they weren’t going to buck.”
Mauney made a nice ride in Round 2 on a bull that went both directions.
It was that direction change that secured the round win and gave him the No. 1 ranking. He added to the lead by finishing fourth in the average.
He leads Paulo Lima by 115 points.
“I’m really not worried about that,” Mauney said. “At the end of the year I’ll worry about that.”
He’s now recorded six Top 5 finishes this season and two more Top 10’s, but has yet to win an event.
He’s had multiple event wins the past four years and eight of the past nine, so once he wins a few PBR events to go with a pair of 15/15 Bucking Battles he won at Missouri events in St. Louis and Kansas City, he’ll finally begin to separate himself once again from the rest of the Top 35 riders.
“Every weekend when I show up the plan is to win the event,” concluded Mauney, who acknowledged it hasn’t worked out. He added, “But I wouldn’t count all your chickens before they hatch."
“The name of the game is to keep trying.”