The season gets underway this weekend with the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden in midtown Manhattan.
“I don’t know,” Mauney said, when asked why a small town southerner like himself seems so comfortable in a fast-paced, chaotic place like New York. “I usually do good. It’s the first bull riding of the year and I’m always ready to go.”
He added, “Anything that pays $100,000 to win isn’t bad either. … It wouldn’t be bad to win one of those.”
This is the 12th year in a row he’s been to New York.
And three times he’s won the event.
Mauney is not as young as he once was, but he’s as confident as he’s ever been.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” said Mauney, who turns 31.
“Those days are gone and passed. I’m not a youngster, but if I feel like I can still ride ‘em, I’m going to keep going.”
Equally ready for the first regular-season event is Derek Kolbaba.
The 21-year-old young gun and fellow Monster Energy bull rider finished second in the world standings after having arrived in Vegas the No. 1 ranked rider in the world.
Kolbaba said he used the holidays to “relax a little bit” and, more importantly, “cleared (his) mind to get ready for the new season.”
“I’m dang sure excited for that new season to start up,” Kolbaba said, “so we can go at it again.”
Kolbaba and Mauney, who is one qualified ride away from becoming only the third rider in PBR history to reach 500 qualified rides at the elite televised level of competition, are two of four Monster Energy riders who will be in the draw at Madison Square Garden this weekend.
Guilherme Marchi, a veteran Brazilian, who won the title in 2008, will also be there along with Gage Gay.
Marchi and Mauney are both nearing the end of their careers, so Mauney said he plans to “give it all I have, while I have it to give.”
As for reaching 500 rides, Mauney said he’s well aware of the accomplishment but he doesn’t really think about it. When told how few riders have even nodded their head 500 times, let alone make the whistle 500 times, he joked, “Because I been around a long time, that’s why I’m an old timer.”