BILLINGS, Mont. - In 1969, the New York Mets overcame midseason
difficulties and eventually defeated the Baltimore Orioles to win
the World Series. More than 40 years later, they're still called
the Miracle Mets.
Eleven years later, during the Winter Olympics, Al Michaels asked, "Do you believe in miracles?" as the U.S. Men's Hockey team defeated the Soviets.
Prior to Friday night's 15/15 Bucking Battle in Billings, Mont., nine-time World Champion Ty Murray said the chance for a miracle is what makes sports compelling.
The sport of bull riding certainly was compelling last night.
Using his right hand in the rope while his usual left hand swung free in a cast, J.B. Mauney covered RMEF Gunpowder & Lead for 89 points.
Prior to the ride, Murray said he thought Mauney had "zero chance" to ride the bull, but that if any rider using his off-hand could defy the odds, it would be the 25-year-old Mauney.
Eight seconds after nodding his head, Mauney brought the crowd at Rimrock Auto Arena to its feet, finishing second in the round behind Guilherme Marchi, who scored 90 points two outs earlier on Pandemic.
"That's not the reason I came back," said Mauney, referring to the doubts of others, "but that fueled it.
"When somebody tells me I can't do something, I really want to prove them wrong. You have to be confident riding bulls no matter what happens. That's the way I look at it. When I show up, it doesn't matter - I'm trying to ride everything."
When asked how he felt at the moment he heard the whistle blow, Mauney laughed.
'When somebody tells me I can't do
something, I really want to prove them wrong.'
"I was scared because I was under the son-of-a-gun," he said, "and I was happy at the same time. I opened my hand and went in the well, but I don't ever dismount very good. You have to make it exciting all the way around."
In Kansas City, Mo., last month, Mauney broke a bone in his left riding hand when Ragin JT stepped on it. He missed two Built Ford Tough Series events and slipped from first to second before returning last week in Uncasville, Conn., as a right-hander.
Still, he went 0-for-4 at Mohegan Sun and fell two more spots in the standings. But world No. 1 Valdiron de Oliveira, Mauney's season-long rival for the top spot, fractured his left eye socket and suffered a concussion in Uncasville, and is not competing this week.
Mauney vowed to work on his mechanics before arriving this week.
"I felt good," he said. "I felt like I was doing everything right. He was getting me out of there and I was making the right moves and getting back, getting in there and I was holding him. I couldn't ask for anything better.
"It didn't feel new. It didn't feel weird to me. I felt like I was in sync with him."
He later added, "It feels weird that the first bull I got on (Stanley Bostitch Hurriquake) I fell off, and then I ride this bull that's in the short round everywhere and the 15/15 deal. It's kind of weird, but that's exactly what I needed. I needed to get on a bull that bucked hard and gave me that confidence."
Earlier in the night, Mauney said several riders behind the chutes reminded him to keep his elbow down, and asked if he had been practicing that particular part of his fundamentals.
He simply said, "Nope."
He said, "I was thinking about too much what I needed to do, and that one there, I just let it all out the window and just let it all hang out."
While in the sports medicine room to ice down both of his hands, Mauney admitted that had he come to Billings and gone 0-for-the-weekend, he would likely have sat out the remaining two events leading into the summer break.
"I was getting down on myself," he explained. "I tried it last week and didn't ride a bull I got on, and everybody said, 'Well, you're doing good.' But if I'm not making the whistle, that's not doing good no matter if it's with my left hand or my right hand."
He then proclaimed, "Good thing I stayed on."
NEWS & NOTES
DAD'S DONATION: The PBR and DAD'S Pet Foods
announced that they are donating 1,000 pounds of dog food and cat
food to the Rimrock Humane Society, helping abandoned animals in
the Musselshell and Yellowstone counties of Montana.
The Official Pet Food of the PBR, DAD'S Pet Foods looks to donate 1,000 pounds of pet food product to a local humane society, animal rescue, or animal care center in each city the BFTS visits.
The Rimrock Humane Society is a foster-home based shelter and is in desperate need of new foster homes. The goal is to have healthy, happy dogs and cats in a home environment rather than a kennel, where people can get an understanding of their true character. This allows the society to find the perfect new family. RHS strives to reduce animal euthanasia rates through our low-cost spay and neuter program while also promoting animal welfare with services that mutually benefit animals and people. Their mission is to alleviate needless suffering of animals and to bring a higher level of compassion to the region for the creatures who share our planet with us and otherwise have no voice.
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