PUEBLO, Colo. – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney has made a career out of highlight-reel making 90-point rides even when the odds were not in his favor.
Case and point, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this past April when Mauney overcame a loss of feeling in his riding arm to conquer 2016 World Champion Bull contender Pearl Harbor for a season-high 94.25 points.
Rested and recharged, Mauney will look to make magic again against Pearl Harbor this weekend when he returns to the Built Ford Tough Series following a week off because of a left hip pointer and abdominal contusion.
Mauney confirmed to PBR.com that he will be competing at this weekend’s PFIWestern.com Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops, in Springfield, Missouri.
“Hell yes,” Mauney said. “Yep. Everything is good to go.”
Mauney is third all-time with 69 90-point rides, and he will have an opportunity at No. 70 during this weekend’s 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night when he squares off against Pearl Harbor. The event will be broadcast on CBS national television Sunday at either 3 or 5 p.m. ET depending on the market.
The defending World Champion has already won a PBR record three 15/15 Bucking Battles in one season this year.
Pearl Harbor was marked a career-high 46.25 points against Mauney in their first showdown and has been a handful for his opponents over the past three years.
Pearl Harbor is 15-2 on the BFTS with a career average bull score of 44.12 points per out. Chad Berger’s bovine athlete is having a career-year (45.11 points per out) and is currently leading the World Champion Bull race (45.5 points per out) among bulls with at least eight outs.
“It is a toss of a coin,” Berger said. “With J.B., it is 50-50. Even though he rode him, it is still 50-50 because that bull can do a lot of different things. You never bet against J.B. Mauney and you don’t bet against Pearl Harbor either. It is a great matchup. J.B. is one of my buddies and I hope the best for him.”
Mauney’s ride on Pearl Harbor was the second-best of Mauney’s career behind his 95.25-point ride on three-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker in 2013.
“I rode him good around the right, but when he went back left I was a little raised up and I had my free arm a little too high and he threw me off right when the whistle blew I think,” Mauney said in July. “He was getting me so raised up, I should have sat down like I was supposed to. My free arm was a little high. That is my main problem. As long as I keep my free arm down I can usually do alright. That is the main issue I have had my entire career. I get to whipping it and I get my arm too high.”
When informed Tuesday of his matchup, Mauney responded, “(Hell) yes.”
Mauney heads to Springfield third in the world standings and trails world leader Cooper Davis by 655 points after missing the WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational this past weekend in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
The Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider sustained his two injuries on Aug. 27 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when Rocco stomped on him after Mauney’s 86.75-point ride.
In past years, Mauney said he “probably” would have competed in Thackerville, but the veteran has learned how important it is to rest his body versus just cowboying up all the time.
Mauney missed six Built Ford Tough Series events last season, but still went on to win his second gold buckle. In fact, his 21 BFTS events was the least among World Champions since 2000.
He has missed three events this year.
Mauney has won a PBR record three 15/15 Bucking Battles in one season already this year and a ride on Pearl Harbor may give him a fourth. Mauney leads the PBR with a 56-percent (28-for-50) riding percentage and 12 round wins.
Berger said his bull wouldn’t have any advantage because of Mauney’s hip pointer or abdominal injury. Shoot, the guy rode Pearl Harbor without being able to feel his arm.
Berger didn’t own Pearl Harbor at the time of Mauney’s ride, but said Mauney’s Sioux Falls performance could be compared to Michael Jordan’s historic flu game at the 1997 NBA Finals when he led the Chicago Bulls to victory with 38 points.
“He has that mental toughness that very few people have,” Berger said. “J.B. is like the Michael Jordan’s and the Magic Johnson’s. When things aren’t right, they improvise and that is what J.B. does. J.B. Mauney has rode hurt most of his career in one aspect or another.
“There is nobody tougher than J.B. Mauney. There are a lot of guys that think they can be tougher than him, but they don’t have the heart and the will to ride with pain that he has. I will guarantee that. J.B. has done it his whole career. I don’t think there is any injury that you can discount J.B. Mauney. He is just that tough.”
15/15 BUCKING BATTLE MATCHUPS
Lachlan Richardson vs. SweetPro’s Long John (27-7, BFTS)
Tanner Byrne vs. -147 Big Cat (16-0, BFTS)
Ryan Dirteater vs. Crossfire (27-1, BFTS)*
Derek Kolbaba vs. Beaver Creek Beau (42-4, BFTS)*
Wallace de Oliveira vs. E5 Big Cat (1-0, BFTS)
Mike Lee vs. Stone Sober (33-1, BFTS)*
Jess Lockwood vs. Cooper Tires Semper Fi (25-11, BFTS)
Shane Proctor vs. Wicked (29-7, BFTS)
Paulo Lima vs. Midnight Train (12-0, BFTS)*
Eduardo Aparecido vs. Little Red Jacket (18-13, BFTS)*
Joao Ricardo Vieira vs. Seven Dust (13-1, BFTS)
Fabiano Vieira vs. SweetPro’s Bruiser (20-5, BFTS)
J.B. Mauney vs. Pearl Harbor (15-2, BFTS)*
Kaique Pachevo vs. Smooth Operator (24-1, BFTS)*
Cooper Davis vs. Hey Jack (4-0, BFTS).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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