PUEBLO, Colo. –Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney made waves last season when he rode Pearl Harbor for 94.25 points despite being unable to feel his riding arm in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
So what will Mauney do this coming weekend at the Frontier Communications Sacramento Clash in his fifth career Built Ford Tough Series meeting against 2012 World Champion Bull Asteroid when he returns to competition from a hip injury?
“He is a smart one and is still a smart one,” Mauney said. “He has gotten smarter over the years and is a little trickier to ride these days.”
Mauney vs. Asteroid V will take place on Saturday night during the 15/15 Bucking Battle at Golden 1 Center.
The matchup will air exclusively on CBS national television Sunday at noon ET.
Mauney is returning to competition for the first time since injuring his right hip three weeks ago at the season opener in New York.
“It feels pretty good,” Mauney said. “It shouldn’t be sore at all.”
Asteroid owns a 3-1 record against Mauney on the Built Ford Tough Series. He also bucked Mauney off in 2 seconds at J.W. Hart’s annual summer event in Decatur, Texas, in 2014.
The 10-year-old bull just recently got Mauney’s number in San Jose, California, last season in a quick 3.78 seconds.
“I thought I got around the corner really good on him and next thing I know I was hitting the ground,” Mauney recalled. “He stepped ahead, raised me up and piled me up.”
Mauney then joked, “Just like any old timer, I guess I need a break every once and a while.”
The Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider posted the third best ride of his career in 2012 when he rode Asteroid for 93.5 points at the Built Ford Tough Series event in San Antonio.
Mauney still has a photo in his kitchen of the memorable ride where he had to raise his knees all the way up Asteroid’s neck to reach 8 seconds.
“He was kicking so hard, his nose was dang near on the ground and his back was almost touching mine,” Mauney said. “I was kneed up so far. My right knee was on top of his neck damn near.”
Outside of his San Antonio ride, Mauney has averaged 2.95 seconds per attempt against Asteroid.
The 30-year-old admitted it is quite frustrating knowing he hasn’t been able to ride Asteroid since previously covering him in the champion’s prime.
“It pisses you off more,” Mauney said. “I rode him in his prime. They retired him. Brought him out of retirement and he piled my ass up.”
It is no secret that Asteroid has lost a step in recent years.
However, the bull has relied on his experience and brain to remain 12-0 since reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger unretired him last year.
Asteroid bucked off Gage Gay in 4.68 seconds during his BFTS debut two weeks ago in Chicago.
“He kind of wanted to ball up in front of the box when I nodded and about took me off on the post,” Gay said in Chicago. “He pulled me right down there and I slapped him. Whenever he went back left, he just rocked me.”
2017 is the bull’s seventh-plus Built Ford Tough Series season.
He is 59-4 against BFTS competition.
“He is smart about it,” Mauney said. “He will squat in the bucking chute and squat to try and get that first jump on you. If you hurry up in there, you can get out on him pretty good. He will make him a cornered and step ahead and come again. He is constantly changing everything up.”
He later concluded, “But don’t worry about what happen last time, I will get on him in the 15/15.”
15/15 Bucking Battle Matchups
Derek Kolbaba vs. Stone Sober (39-3, BFTS)
Gage Gay vs. Jo Blow (4-0, BFTS)
Chase Outlaw vs. Big Cat (4-5, BFTS)
Paulo Lima vs. SweetPro’s Bruiser (25-6, BFTS)
Shane Proctor vs. Crossfire (30-3, BFTS)
Mike Lee vs. American Hustle (26-1, BFTS)
Stetson Lawrence vs. Cracker Breaker (3-0, BFTS)
Jess Lockwood vs. Spotted Demon (25-1, BFTS)
Eduardo Aparecido vs. Jack Shot (12-0, BFTS)
Guilherme Marchi vs. Smooth Operator (32-2, BFTS)
Joao Ricardo Vieira vs. Pearl Harbor (19-2, BFTS)
Ryan Dirteater vs. Fire & Smoke (29-10, BFTS)
J.B. Mauney vs. Asteroid (59-4, BFTS)
Kaique Pacheco vs. Chocolate Shake (4-1, BFTS)
Cooper Davis vs. Wonder Flyer (2-0, BFTS)
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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