PUEBLO, Colo. – When two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney last faced Pearl Harbor, he was no match for the current world No. 1 bull.
A ticked off, vulgar-incensed Mauney was heated over being embarrassed by Pearl Harbor inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, in just 2.79 seconds.
Mauney believed he should have ridden Pearl Harbor “all day long” if not for a lack of effort on his end.
The 30-year-old defiantly added in the heat of the moment, “Mark my words. I will pick him again.”
Well, reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger is tired of waiting.
He wants the rematch now.
The two PBR juggernauts are tied up at a 1-1 and a third showdown will take place on June 16 in Bismarck, North Dakota, following Round 1 of the Dakota Community Bank PBR Bull Riding Challenge Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event.
Berger confirmed on Monday morning that Mauney accepted a $25,000 challenge, which may be upped to $50,000, last week to come to his annual summer event and face off against his prized bovine athlete.
“You know J.B.’s mentality. If you challenge him, he is going to try,” Berger said. “You are talking about one of the best bulls in the world, and you are giving him a chance to make some money, so he is going to try him.”
Mauney is ready for the matchup.
“I would like to redeem myself. I didn’t feel like I tried him as hard as I should have last time. I always said if you see me get mad, that means you didn’t see me try as hard as I should have.
“I don’t back away from a challenge. And I want to get that $25,000.”
To earn his payday, Mauney will have to last the full 8 seconds on Pearl Harbor, which will be no easy task.
Pearl Harbor is 7-1 this season and is averaging a career-best 46.19 points per out. He is 37-4 at all levels of competition.
Last year, Mauney famously became one of those four riders to cover Pearl Harbor at any level of PBR competition when he did so to the tune of 94.25 points in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He completed the ride despite having no feeling in his riding arm.
Pearl Harbor, though, was most recently ridden in his last out by Shane Proctor for 93.5 points at the Tacoma Invitational three weeks ago.
It was the first time Pearl Harbor had been ridden since Mauney conquered him in Sioux Falls.
Pearl Harbor had bucked off 14 riders in a row.
“He looks good,” Berger said. “We will find out this weekend how he is doing.”
Matt Triplett (87.25 points at the 2014 PBR World Finals) and Mike Lee (89.75 points in Decatur, Texas, in 2015) are the only other two riders to have reached the 8-second mark on Pearl Harbor.
Mauney said he expects Pearl Harbor to stay to the right, with the slim possibility of him turning back to the left.
The Mooresville, North Carolina, cowboy knows he can’t get raised up again.
“He kind of steps out of there sideways and is usually around to the right,” Mauney said. “Last time I got on him, when he jumped sideways, he raised me up. When he wanted to turn back, I was a day late and a dollar short.”
Mauney and Pearl Harbor were supposed to have face off two other times in Springfield, Missouri, but in 2015 and 2016 Mauney was injured inside the bucking chute attempting to get out on the bovine athlete.
“He has a hair trigger and I get pretty rammed up in there and got to jumping around on him,” Mauney said. “It had a little to do with me and a little to do with him. Sometimes my motors gets to running too fast.”
Berger added it wasn’t too hard to convince Mauney to come to Bismarck despite Mauney’s normal preference of not competing during the Built Ford Tough Series summer break.
“It wasn’t really hard at all,” he said. “We have been friends for a long time and I told him what I wanted to do. $25,000 isn’t nothing to sneeze at for one ride for 8 seconds.”
Mauney last competed in Bismarck in 2009.
“It is a good time,” Mauney recalled. “Chad takes care of everybody there. It is always fun to go. I just like sticking around the house in the summer. Chad had been wanting me to come to his bull riding for a couple years now, and I had been working rodeos around here. He called me and I said, ‘Well, I think I can make that work.”
It will be a hectic 24 hours for Mauney, who is also scheduled to compete against 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis the next day in Vinita, Oklahoma, at Gene Owen’s Hometown Dodge Challenger PBR Touring Pro Division event.
Mauney has yet to select a bull for his Vinita showdown.
Regardless of their excitement for the June 16th showdown, Berger and Mauney both know each of them have business to take care of this coming weekend at Last Cowboy Standing.
Pearl Harbor is scheduled to compete at Last Cowboy Standing on Saturday night in Round 3.
It will be his last out before Bismarck, and it will be another opportunity to assert himself as the favorite alongside 2016 World Champion SweetPro’s Bruiser for this year’s world title.
Mauney is currently third in the world standings and only 1,028.76 points behind world leader Eduardo Aparecido.
There is a chance Mauney and Pearl Harbor could even square off in Las Vegas this weekend.
There is also the possibility Saturday night of Mauney joining Lee and 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi as the only riders in PBR history to reach the historic 500-qualified ride mark.
Mauney currently has 497 qualified rides on the PBR’s Built Ford Tough Series.
Last Cowboy Standing is a minimum of two rounds and a maximum of five. At least 25 riders will advance to Round 2, with any draw spots being filled by the current world standings heading into Last Cowboy Standing if there are less than 25 rides in Round 1.
If all riders buck off in Rounds 2, 3 or 4 then all riders that attempted a bull advance to the next round.
If there is more than one ride in the final round (Round 5), then the Last Cowboy Standing will be the rider with the highest-ride score in Round 5. If there are no rides in Round 5, then the Last Cowboy Standing will be the rider with the most round points that had competed in Round 5.
The event winner will earn a minimum of $100,000 and 625 points toward the world standings.
If they meet this weekend in Las Vegas, or when they certainly meet in Bismarck, who does Berger give the edge too?
His bull or Mauney?
“I would say it is right down the middle,” Berger said. “They are both great competitors. It is going to come down to who has the better day. I always want to give the edge to my bulls, but you never bet against J.B. I would also never bet against Pearl Harbor.
“If they had odds at the casino in Vegas, I wouldn’t bet on it because the odds are definitely not going to be in your favor whichever way you go.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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