MAUNEY READY FOR THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF VEGAS

MAUNEY READY FOR THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF VEGAS

By: Justin Felisko October 21, 2015@ 02:00:00 PM

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mauney begins the 22nd edition of the PBR World Finals second among active riders (minimum 10 ride attempts) with 38 qualified rides and a 64.41 percent riding average.
  • The 2013 World Champion is in prime position this week to become the fifth rider in PBR history to win multiple world titles. He begins the World Finals on Wednesday night with a 1,315-point lead on No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira and a 1,322.5-point lead on No. 3 Kaique Pacheco.
  • Mauney leads the PBR with four event wins, 14 round wins and four 90-point rides.

IN THIS ARTICLE


LAS VEGAS -- J.B. Mauney whipped his arm with every ounce of strength he had left in him 10 more times last year at the World Finals when he capped off his 2014 season with a 94-point ride on Percolator.

It was the 2013 World Champion’s 14th career 90-point ride at the Finals and the ride wound up giving him his 14th career World Finals round victory.

Mauney leads all active riders in both categories and his home run capabilities at the Finals makes the No. 1 bull rider in the world standings that much more of a favorite this week inside the Thomas & Mack Center.

It is a style that Mauney has well been known for. He is third all time with 62 90-point rides and his free arm motion has helped him repeatedly light up the scoreboard for major points.

Yet it has been Mauney’s dominance at the World Finals that has been so memorable.

Mauney begins the 22nd edition of the PBR World Finals second among active riders (minimum 10 ride attempts) with 38 qualified rides and a 64.41 percent riding average.

Guilherme Marchi has 46 qualified rides, while Silvano Alves has an 83.33 percent riding average.

Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray asked Mauney what it is about Las Vegas that brings out the best in him during a Tuesday CBS Sports Network television production meeting.

Murray paused before looking at Mauney, “I have seen a couple of the best Finals from anybody I have ever seen come from you. Do you feel like it is something about Vegas? I see you sometimes when you are unstoppable and you try so hard and that is when you seem unstoppable.”

Mauney replied, “It is all in my head. Every bit of it. I like (Vegas). I had to keep telling myself not to think. Don’t think, don’t think. That is where I always mess up.”

The 2013 World Champion is in prime position this week to become the fifth rider in PBR history to win multiple world titles. He begins the World Finals on Wednesday night with a 1,315-point lead on No. 2 Joao Ricardo Vieira and a 1,322.5-point lead on No. 3 Kaique Pacheco.

Mauney leads the PBR with four event wins, 14 round wins and four 90-point rides.

If not for missing five BFTS events because of a torn left ACL, Mauney likely would have also led the BFTS in qualified rides after posting a 58.06 percent (36-for-62) this season.

It is Mauney’s best riding percentage since 2009 when he went 63-for-99 (63.64 percent on the BFTS).

That was the first year Mauney won the World Finals event title by going a perfect 8-for-8 at the Finals. He recorded two 90-point rides and averaged 89.38 points per ride.

The 28-year-old said Tuesday that he believes 2015 is the best he has ridden, including his 2013 historic championship run.

In 2013, Mauney had eight 90-point rides – highlighted by his 93-point ride on Wipeout to clinch the championship and $1 million.

“I feel like I am riding better than I ever have,” Mauney said. “I feel more confident. I feel like I am riding bulls easier. Like bulls are going both ways and I feel like I am picking them back up the way I am supposed to.”

When asked if he was surprised by how good he has ridden this year, Mauney admitted at times he has been.

“Riding bulls you always have to have that confidence you can do it,” he said. “There are some times when you make moves that you shouldn’t have been able to make and you think, I can’t believe that worked. There are always times like that.”

PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert said in a Wednesday morning CBS Sports production meeting that Mauney’s career is beginning to look very similar to two-time World Champion Justin McBride’s.

“It is time we start having the conversation of J.B. Mauney being one of the greatest all time,” he said. “His career is right up there with Justin McBride’s.”

Lambert and McBride are hosting the World Finals Pre-Show on CBS Sports Network starting at 5:30 p.m. ET Wednesday night.

Mauney has drawn Wicked Stick (1-1, BFTS) in Round 1 on Wednesday night.

He also said he hopes to get another crack at World Champion Bull contender Jared Allen’s Air Time this week after being twice bucked off this season.

“Hell yeah, I would like to get on Air Time,” Mauney said. “If you ride him, you are going to be 92 or 93 on him.”

Mauney’s career record (38-for-59) at the World Finals certainly makes him the leading favorite in the race for the 2015 world title, but the Mooresville, North Carolina, native wasn’t ready to anoint himself the 2015 World Champion.

“I will let you know Sunday,” Mauney said. “I still approach it the same way. If you slack up those behind you will catch up to you. You can’t put too much thought into it.”

The best way to winning it all is to literally win it all, Mauney concluded.

“Well, the way I look at it is if I win every round and place first in the average that leads no question. That is what I am going for. Win every round.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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