J.B. Mauney is back in the familiar position atop the PBR world standings. The reigning World Champion bull rider won back-to-back 15/15 Bucking Battles in St. Louis, Missouri, and then again this past weekend in Kansas City to ascend up the standings. The 29-year-old Monster Energy rider is vying for his second consecutive world title and the third of his already legendary career.
Saturday night, Mauney rode Wicked for 89 points to win the 15/15 Bucking Battle. He also won the 15/15 a week earlier with 90.25 points on Sheep Creek. He came into the weekend a mere 7.5 points out of first place. Then left Kansas City with a 227.5-point lead over Paulo Lima. Mauney’s two wins in the past two weeks were the first time he’s ever won a 15/15 Bucking Battle and this coming week, in Arlington, Texas, he’s hoping that momentum leads to his first win at the Iron Cowboy Invitational.
“I hope it keeps going like that,” Mauney said.
Mauney has amassed a season-best six round wins this year, including two in the 15/15’s. He’s 13-for-22 in seven elite televised events and 2-for-3 in a trio of 15/15 Bucking Battles for a 60 percent riding average. And 40 percent of his qualified rides, in 2016, have been for round wins. He’s earned at least one qualified ride in six of seven elite PBR events and the lone time he went without – Anaheim, California – he was hospitalized with food poisoning prior to the second round of the event and in six Championship Round appearances he’s covered his bull four times.
Mauney’s also claimed five Top 5 finishes. More importantly, he’s healthy. “Yeah, I feel good,” Mauney said. “When you do your job right then it turns out you don’t get stomped and slammed near as bad, but I feel pretty good right now, so I’m ready to rock and roll.” Mauney, who spent a few days between events back home in North Carolina horseback riding, said it helped out that he didn’t think about bull riding at all until he arrived in Kansas City. He finished the Kansas City event fifth in the average.
In the bull draft for the Championship Round, he selected Fire & Smoke with the ninth pick. He came down at the whistle and was hung up until the bullfighters quickly freed his riding hand from his bull rope and the infamous suicide wrap in which he tucks the rope between his fingers to essentially lock his hand in the rope. A review concluded that he had in fact made the whistle and secured his Top 5 finish. Third year rider and fellow Monster Energy teammate Gage Gay used his second Top 10 finish in as many weeks to move into 16th in the world standings.
Gay has had four Top 10 finishes in the past seven weeks. He and Mauney along with Guilherme Marchi, Robson Palermo and Reese Cates will be in Arlington next weekend to represent Monster Energy at the Iron Cowboy—a progressive tournament in which riders advance from one round to the next through a March Madness style bracket format.