J.B. Mauney capped the greatest second half surge in the 20-year history of the Professional Bull Riders with his third consecutive Built Ford Tough Series win at the Cooper Tires Invitational presented by APEX-Brasil Sunday in Hollywood, Fla.
The 26-year-old from Mooresville, N.C., rode Shotgun Red (JK Rodeo Company) in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round to beat out Guilherme Marchi 343.75 to 341.75 points at the Hard Rock Live. Mauney is the first man to win three straight BFTS events since two-time PBR World Champion Chris Shivers did it back in 2000.
With this win Mauney moves within 538.5 points of No. 1 Silvano Alves, who could only stand behind the chutes and watch the championship round after bucking off his first two bulls of the event.
“I feel great,” said Mauney, who couldn’t help but watch the replay of his final ride on the big screen located above the backside of the chutes. “There is no better feeling.”
He added, “Hopefully it’ll roll into a couple weeks from now and I’ll win that one too.”
Mauney was speaking of the World Finals.
He’s won five of the past nine BFTS events, which is not only a personal best but also the best nine-week stretch of any rider in PBR history, and he has cut well over 2,000 points off of Alves’ lead since resuming the BFTS following a three-month long summer break.
“I don’t worry about what I’ve been winning or how I’ve been doing it,” Mauney said. “I’m just having fun and looking at one bull at a time.”
There are six bulls remaining between now and the crowning of this year’s PBR World Champion in Las Vegas, and there will be plenty on the line for Alves and Mauney.
Alves is attempting to accomplish what was once thought to be an unthinkable feat - winning three consecutive world titles; Mauney is looking for his first elusive gold buckle.
Mauney was one of four riders to go 4-for-4 this weekend along with Marchi, Joao Ricardo Vieira and Valdiron de Oliveira. Lachlan Richardson finished fifth in the average.
On Friday, Mauney was one of 23 qualified rides in the opening round when he covered Pull The Trigger (Rockin DC Cattle & Land) for 81.25 points. He followed that up with 84.5 points on Calico Kid (Grubbs Rodeo Adventures/Joes Boot Shop/Rockingra3 Cattle Co.) in Round 2. He started off Sunday with 89.75 points on KISS Animalize (Jeff Robinson Bucking Bulls) to win Round 3 and then won the championship round with 88.25 points after taking Shotgun Red with the first pick in the bull draft.
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Mauney has ridden eight bulls in a row, including Blurred Lines (Jeff Robinson Bucking Bulls) in the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night, and 13 of his last 16 bulls in making up nearly 1,700 points in the last three events of the regular season.
The World Finals is worth a maximum of 5,500 points. Both Alves and Mauney have a chance to make history, and it all comes down to five days in Las Vegas.
Surprise Package (Danny Reagan Bucking Bulls) won the Pabst Blue Ribbon Bull Award in Hollywood for being the high-marked bull of the event. He earned 44.00 out of a possible 50 points when he bucked off Stormy Wing in 2.68 seconds in the championship round. It is the first time he has been the high-marked bull of an event.
The PBR will take a one week hiatus before the 2013 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas, Oct. 23-27. All five days of competition at the world finals will be covered live on CBS Sports Network. After five rounds of competition and a championship round, the season’s overall winner will be determined, declared the 2013 PBR World Champion and awarded the coveted championship belt buckle and a $1 million dollar bonus.