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JB Mauney in the opening during the second round of the Albuquerque Built Ford Tough Series PBR


Aug 172016

THE PICKUP ARTIST - JB Mauney is on the verge of possibly winning another PBR world title, but when he says he hasn’t looked at the standings, much less even thought about bull riding since May, he’s not exaggerating.

The gold buckle and the $1 million bonus that comes with it would be the Monster Energy bull rider’s third world championship in the past four years and his second in a row. If he captures the title in early November, he’d become only the third rider in PBR history to win it three times and the first to do so in back-to-back seasons. 

However, this summer, the only sport of any significance for Mauney has been his new-found interest in working as a pickup man.

Back in May, he sat with one of his two agents while they watched a rodeo together, in Las Vegas, and the North Carolina native spent the entire afternoon talking about the fundamentals of working as a pickup man for the saddle bronc and bareback riders.


Mauney has been learning the trade from a local rancher back home.


“I said I want you to start helping me,” said Mauney, who has competed in only a couple bull riding events during the summer break from the elite televised PBR series. “I want to pick up bucking horses. Once I got to doing it, boy, I liked it. It’s an adrenaline rush. Those horses are bucking and they’re coming at you and stuff. You gotta get your horse in there and get the flank off of them and things like that.


“Other than the bull riding,” he continued, “it’s something I like to do that … I don’t have to jump off my horse.”


Most people, who have known him for years, have known he always had an interest in roping.


However, he’s injured both his knees to the point, where the impact of landing on the ground only aggravates the fact that he doesn’t have an ACL or a PCL in either of them.


“I’m pretty sure my days of entering events where I have to dismount my horse are over with,” said Mauney, laughing.


Working as a pickup man is “cowboy” enough and, well, doesn’t require the 29-year-old to dismount.


Thankfully he enjoys it and has had nothing but fun doing it.


During the week, he’s also been catching cows and working dogs.


The tradeoff has been pickup lessons from his neighbor.


He also has done a fair amount of work, if you will, as a pickup man this summer and said he started dabbling with it the first time he took a couple months off from bull riding, which coincidentally was the first time he won a world title in 2013.


Other than the week he was up in Calgary for the Stampede, Mauney has been working local rodeos picking up bucking horses and making a little extra money doing it. He’s known all those local promoters since he “was little bitty” and his dad Tim Mauney used to rodeo.


As a result, the younger Mauney is as rested and relaxed as he was when the PBR season opened back in January. Thought he said he has no idea, he’s second in the world standings and only 115.33 out of first with 10 regular-season events and the World Finals left on the schedule between now and the first week of November.


This is the point in the year where Mauney usually rides his best.


He and the other Top 34 riders in the world will be in Nashville for the next PBR Major on August 19 and 20. In the meantime, the only topic of conversation is still that of a pickup artist.


“It’s work but it’s fun at the same time,” Mauney said. “I guess it’s kind of like bull riding. It’s work, but you don’t call it work because it’s fun you.”