Tuesday, August 10, 2010

J.B. Mauney

Hard on the heels of our Tulsa adventure, we trundled over to Livingston for the Touring Pro event on July 28. Concisely called “Murdoch's Presents The Northwest Dickies PBR Touring Pro Division,” the event took place at the Livingston fairgrounds, which is a far cry indeed from the BOK Center. But after all the noise and fanfare of the BFTS, a Touring Pro event outdoors, with the most spectacular view of Paradise Valley you could ask for, was a real treat, particularly considering that in Tulsa, we barely dared stick our heads outside at midday for fear of suffering heat stroke. We dragged some friends along with us, and we all had a good time.

I will spare you the details of the cowboys and the bulls and the rides and the wrecks, which at the time seemed less than awesome and by now is old news. What I want to talk about happened during the opening ceremonies, when a helicopter landed in the middle of the arena (just barely, I might add, clearing the power lines to the south), and out popped a handful of the top riders.

And suddenly, there he was, not 15 feet from where I was sitting—J.B. Mauney in the flesh! You might think that this picture is blurry because my hands were shaking, and I would not deny that.

I have never gone out of my way to meet the riders at the events because, after all, I’m there to see the bulls, not the boys, and it seems hypocritical of me to shake their hands and chat them up, knowing full well that I really want to see every last one of them hit the dirt—safely, of course. But I’m telling you truly, this kid has a lean and hungry look to him that does not bode well for his competition.

Mauney has been riding hot and cold for most of the season. Given the intense scrutiny he’s under, and the blatantly hostile treatment he’s gotten and continues to get from a lot of fans, it’s no wonder to me he is by his own admission “fighting my head.” It would be miracle if he weren't.

I don’t know whether Mauney will be able to salvage this season and win the world championship—there’s too much season left and too many balls in the air to predict who will take home the buckle this year. But if he is fortunate enough to avoid serious injury, he will one day be the PBR’s World Champion. You didn’t hear it here first, but you’re hearing it here now.


shannon said...

I agree that a WC is in JB's future, but I have to wonder how much of the problem is really in his head as opposed to his physical problems. True, it's gotta suck to be under that kind of scrutiny and fans certainly have a love him or hate him attitude towards him, but he seems like the type to be able to block that and has never seen like the type to cave under pressure. Of course, he could be having mental issues within himself about why he's bucking off and if he's going to buck off the next one. That's a tough mind game to get over.

With all the limping and other tells that I've seen from him over the past couple of seasons, I've always wondered if he should just bite the bullet, take the time off for whatever surgery he needs and some proper healing time, then come back at full strength. I think a physically 100% JB would be a force to be reckoned with.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I heard someone say that JB doesn't come out for autograph signings as much anymore because he's sick of all the fans telling him what they think he should do. Now, that's just hearsay of course, but I can certainly imagine many well meaning people saying "you need to just....etc, etc...." and I can certainly see where that would get old after a while.

shelia said...

If JB doesn't come out for autograh signings, then why do sooooo many people post pictures of him with them at events? I'm sure he doesn't want to hear what the fans think his "problem" is, but if I were him, I'd be mighty upset that after giving my all, I ended up second last year. True, JB didn't strat the year with a bang, but then NOBODY ever did or ever will ride EIGHT bulls at the finals!
I hope he can pull offf some kind of miracle this season. I hope it's not too late. His resume is sterling. This is JB's year. He may not win this season, but he will win again and again. Still, the momentum has brought him to 2010 and he HAS to win NOW or he may never win....
JB's stats:
2005 – fractured ribs, lacerated liver, bruised kidney and spleen – out 4 months
2006 – finished 25 BFTS, Won Challenger Season Title, Won Daisy Rookie of the Year
2007 – finished 3 BFTS, Won Brent Thurman/Lane Frost Award for highest individual score at the World Finals
2008 – finished 2 BFTS, Won 4 rounds in World Finals Event, Won Brent Thurman/Lane Frost Award for highest individual score at the World Finals
2009 – finished 2 BFTS, Won World Cup MPV, Won Calgary Stampede, Won World Finals Event Title (only man in PBR history to ride 8 bulls at the Finals) and Won Brent Thurman/Lane Frost Award for highest individual score at the World Finals -- 3rd time and only three-time winner
2010 – Won Challenger Series Season Title--even though Guilherme won the "event" and was lauded over, JB WON THE FINALS FOR THE SEASON!
I'm one of the Mauney's Minions--the people who whis, hope, pray, support, and hold their breath for JB's success!

Stockyard Queen said...

I can't tell that he's limping any worse than Valdiron, who always seems to need help getting out of the arena. I do think it's mostly in Mauney's head, by which I mean he frets when he doesn't ride well and he forgets to just go with the flow, but I think the constant ragging he gets can't be helping. The PBR should really put a stop to that abusive crap, at least on the official site.

Black Boots said...

My visit with him was brief, but I came away thinking he's a good guy with a lot of folks pulling at him and not exactly supporting him in the way that someone who has his head set on winning a world championship should be supported. I agree, once he gets his head set correctly and his body as healed as a bull rider's can be, he can win a World Championship--but he's got to do it his way, not someone else's. I do think conditioning would help (look at what it's done for the season that Austin Meier and McKennon Wimberly have had) but he's got to make himself get into the gym and I don't think he's there yet. He's young, of course, and next year could be a great one for him. The nasty comments on the PBR Board piss me off and I can hardly read them because inevitably, no matter the topic, they bring it around to either JB's "arrogance" or "our boys need to beat them Brazilians." Gag me with a bullrope.

shelia said...

You're right, Black Boots! But, did Justin McBride ever work out? He was a h e l l raiser and rumor has it he got into barroom brawls at times, and drank too much. Still, he won 2 World Championships and turned out to be a pretty nice guy!
Maybe if Shane and Brian get into the gym thing, JB will follow. Maybe we could line up a cute, young, personal trainer!

bullridingmarketing said...

My crystal ball says JB Mauney will be the World Champion--just you wait and see. Maybe not this year, but soon.

Because he's young and headstrong, he probably thought he could overcome his injuries by sheer will power. That iron will power will propel him to the top, but a busted-up knee is a busted-up knee, and if he'd had the surgery and rehab early in the season, he'd be just fine now. F that "cowboy up" stuff.

Yep, fighting his own head is what's going on now. Every buckoff adds to the negative mindset. When he was just riding one bull at a time and it was fun, that's when he stayed on.

JB is WAY too hard on himself. No one can ride his best when his body isn't at its best, but he seems to think he should be perfect all the time. It's a self-fulfilling/self-defeating prophecy: if you think about bucking off, you will.

If you can shut out everything else and just stay in the moment, reacting to the animal under you, you'll stay on. Too much pressure on JB--from inside and outside--is what's bucking him off. He can ride those bulls. He just forgot he can.

bobuckshot said...

i love to see jb mauney bull ride he is way good