LAS VEGAS Four years ago, Mooresvilles J.B. Mauney won the Professional Bull Riders World Finals average, meaning he finished the event with in the highest aggregate score.
Though he went 8-0 against the worlds rankest bulls, that record feat alone wasnt enough to claim the gold buckle. A PBR world title is based on points from both the regular season and the World Finals, and Mauney finished behind Kody Lostroh in a close race.
But history did not repeat itself on Sunday afternoon when Mauney finished the World Finals with the highest aggregate tally, going 6-0 against the bovines. He also clinched his first world title and received the coveted $1 million bonus that went with it as the 20th PBR World Finals concluded its five-day run at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Like the 2009 World Finals, the 2013 world race was close throughout and it was undecided until the last performance.
It was a dog fight, Mauney said.
In the PBRs Built Ford Tough Series world title point race, Mauney, 26, edged two-time world champion Silvano Alves, a Brazilian who lives in the North Texas town of Decatur, 15,695.50 to 14,717.75. He finished the year with $1,810,710 in PBR earnings.
By snaring the gold buckle, Mauney became the second North Carolina cowboy to clinch a world bull riding title. The first was Jerome Davis of Archdale, who finished No. 1 in the 1995 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association race after competing in the Las Vegas-based National Finals Rodeo.
Mauney is the only cowboy to win the World Finals average twice by staying on every bull each time. Throughout the 2013 World Finals, Mauney appeared to be unfazed by the pressure.
I tried to put it out of my mind, Mauney said. When I would get down on my bull, thats when you do it by reaction from that point on. It was like a person going to the office, sitting down at his desk and going at his work.
For Mauney, a 5-foot-10, 140-pound athlete, winning the world title been a long road. In 2006, he finished as the PBRs rookie of the year. Three years later, he won a coveted World Finals event title and then set his goal to claim the world buckle. But the gold buckle eluded him until this year, when he won six out of the past 10 PBR tour stops.
Mauney said one reason he won the world title is because he took time to rest more often, which helped him stay healthier.
I got really hard-headed in past years, Mauney said. They say bull riders are supposed to be tough. So, I wouldnt take a break.
In mid-July, Mauney won the Calgary Stampede bull riding title and he earned more than $100,000 at the famous Alberta rodeo. A month after winning in Calgary, Mauney clinched the title at the PBRs tour stop in Tulsa, Okla., after turning in a stunning final round score of 95.25 aboard Bushwacker, the 2011 and the 2013 World Champion Bull.
The Tulsa tour stop was the first top-tier show after a three-month hiatus. Mauney entered the Aug. 16-17 Tulsa show ranked No. 10 in the PBR Ford Series world standings.
During the time I was off, I forgot about bull riding and came back with a new attitude, Mauney said.
While competing at the final tour stop of the season on Oct. 11-13 in Hollywood, Fla., Mauney clinched the title and moved within striking distance of Alves. At the beginning of the World Finals, Alves was ranked No. 1 with 10,917.75 points and Mauney was ranked No. 2 with 10,379.25, a 538.5 point margin.
But that was a slim lead considering a rider can earn up to 5,500 points at the World Finals. During the Las Vegas championships, Mauney and Alves ran neck and neck. Each man covered all three bulls during the first three performances. But during Round 4, Mauney got a big break when he won with a score of 90.5 and Alves was disqualified after touching his bull with his free hand.
During Round 5 on Sunday, Alves attempted to rally by turning in a score of 88.25. But Mauney countered by winning the round with an 91.5 and actually clinched the world title at that point.
In the 15-man finals (Round 6) which also was on Sunday, Alves turned in an 89 and Mauney posted a 93. In the final aggregate standings, Mauney edged Alves, 546.25 (six qualified rides) to 430 (five rides).
I just took it one bull at a time, said Mauney, who earned $380,000 at the 2013 World Finals. When it came time to ride, Id get down on my bull, look over to my wife (Lexie) and would smile.
Asked which ride was his best at the Las Vegas championships, Mauney said with a smile: The last one. At that point, it was all over.
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