BY BRETT HOFFMAN
Special to the Star-Telegram
Two years ago when the Professional Bull Riders’ world title was at stake, J.B. Mauney rallied at the end of the season in dramatic fashion.
The North Carolina cowboy clinched his first gold buckle after surpassing Brazilian Silvano Alves, who had won the championship the previous two years.
This year, Mauney again is stepping up his game as the season winds down. After finishing second at last weekend’s PBR Built Ford Tough Series stop in the southern Oklahoma border town of Thackerville, Mauney jumped ahead of Brazilian Joao Ricardo Vieira in the 2015 world standings.
“I guess I get lazy at the first part of the year,” Mauney said. “But when it gets down to [the end of the season], I bear down and try hard. When it gets down to the last five or six events, you better make your move.”
Mauney began his move last month when he won back-to-back tour stops in Biloxi, Miss., (Aug. 7-8) and Tulsa (Aug. 14-15).
Asked if he naturally rides well under pressure, Mauney said: “I like it. The more people tell me that I can’t do something, the more I’m going to try to do it. I’m here to ride bulls and have fun, but I also want to win. When I show up, I think I should win. When you back me in a corner, I just come out swinging.”
Mauney is ranked No. 1 with 3,887.5 points. Vieira, a Decatur resident who finished 11th at the Thackerville-based WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational, is No. 2 with 3,635.
Brazilian Eduardo Aparecido won the Thackerville tour stop after finishing as the only cowboy to stay on all three bulls. He turned in scores of 87.25, 85.25 and 87.75. He earned 460 points during the weekend — 20 more than Mauney. Aparecido is ranked 15th in the world standings with 1,367.50 points.
Mauney won Round 1 on Friday with a 90.5-point ride on Red Moon (Holmes/Jackson/Flyin S). He was bucked off in Round 2 on Saturday, but he rebounded later in the performance by winning the Built Ford Tough Championship Round with a 92.25-point ride on SweetPro’s Long John (D&H Cattle Company). Mauney also finished second in the average race.
After earning 440 points, Mauney is 252.5 ahead of Vieira as the two head into this weekend’s tour stop in Springfield, Mo. The Springfield show is the first of four remaining regular season tour stops that can help competitors qualify for the October 21-25 PBR World Finals in Las Vegas.
“The first one was great,” Mauney said of winning the 2013 world championship. “That is what I dreamed of my whole life. Once you accomplish that, you set the same goals again. I didn’t retire after the first one, so you don’t give up and let off the gas pedal. You keep it floored as far as you can and win as many as you can until you can’t do this anymore.”
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s top competitors were in Ellensburg, Wash., over the Labor Day weekend to compete in the traditional Ellensburg Rodeo.
In tie-down roping, six-time world champion Cody Ohl turned in a final-round time of 7.8 seconds on his way to clinching the title. Ohl finished with a three-run time of 24.4 — a half-second faster than runner-up Timber Moore, a former Ponder resident who lives in Aubrey.
In steer wrestling, eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier K.C. Jones of Decatur finished No. 1 with a three-run time of 14.3.
High school update
The North Texas High School Rodeo Association’s 2015-2016 regular season begins Friday with the Northwest Rodeo, which will be conducted at the NTHSRA Arena in Fort Worth. For more information, call 817-232-2855 or visit nthsra.org.
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