LAS VEGAS ― In completing the most dramatic second-half comeback in the 20-year history of the PBR, J.B. Mauney is the 2013 PBR World Champion.
The 26-year-old from Mooresville, N.C., made history at the Thomas & Mack Center by becoming the first rider with two perfect performances ― 2013 and 2008 ― at the World Finals and also became the first rider in PBR history to win four consecutive events at the elite level.
Mauney, who was ranked 10th in the world standings and trailed two-time defending World Champion Silvano Alves by 3,056 points coming out of the summer break, claimed the title Sunday afternoon by 977.75 points.
“When I was standing out there with my family and my wife was standing beside me, I kind of got a little choked up,” said Mauney, who has ridden at 221 Built Ford Tough Series events over eight seasons before finally winning his first gold buckle and claiming the $1 million bonus that comes with winning the world title.
“There’s no better feeling. You dream of something all your life and to eventually get it, oh, I mean, it feels like you’ve done conquered the world.”
Mauney didn’t conquer the world, but he spent five days beating up on one of the greatest Brazilian riders, who just last year became the first and only back-to-back World Champion in PBR history.
Despite the pressure Mauney put on Alves by winning Rounds 2 and 4 ― and eventually Rounds 5 and 6 ― Alves would not simply give up his claim as the top rider in the world until all six rounds were in the books.
Mauney won the Finals average with 546.25 points, followed by Alves (430), while Claudio Crisostomo (346.25), Cody Nance (345) and Guilherme Marchi (343.75) rounded out the Top 5.
“It was a good competition and it was good for the PBR,” said Alves, as a crowd of cameras took pictures while he talked about Mauney’s memorable win. “He did a good job and congratulations. It was a good (race).”
“I kept telling myself before every time that I got on, 'Don’t give up and don’t quit until my head hits the ground,'” said Mauney of the epic, much-talked-about battle with Alves that has captivated fans throughout his three-month long ascent to the No. 1 ranking in the world.
Mauney will now be named alongside the likes of champions Adriano Moraes (3), Tuff Hedeman, Owen Washburn, Michael Gaffney, Troy Dunn, Cody Hart, Chris Shivers (2), Ednei Caminhas, Mike Lee, Justin McBride (2), Guilherme Marchi, Kody Lostroh, Renato Nunes and Silvano Alves (2).
Mauney joins Lee (2004) and Nunes (2010) as the only riders in PBR history to win the world title and event average in the same year. He also joins Dunn (1995, 1997) and Robson Palermo (2008, 2011, 2012) as the only riders to win the average more than once.
“I didn’t even think about that,” Mauney said. “I came here with a game plan of just one bull at a time and that’s what I stuck with and it worked.”
Over the past five days, there was a buzz and swell of support for Mauney, who twice finished second (2008, 2009) and twice finished third (2007, 2010) in the season standings. He’s now finished in the Top 10 for seven consecutive seasons.
The overwhelming support reached a crescendo in Round 5 after a re-ride flag was thrown when Mauney was unable to get out of the chute on Harlem Shake. As he moved from a left- to right-hand delivery, the crowd chanted his name.
Alves had moved to within 32.75 points one out earlier when he covered Cowtown Slinger for 88.25 points, but once Mauney rode Ford Hammer Down for a 91-point round win, he led by 573.75 points in the world standings.
More importantly, his 453.25 points in the average was 107 more than anyone else and assured him of his sixth event win of the season.
Coming in behind Mauney and Alves in the world standings were Joao Ricardo Vieira, who claimed the rookie title, Marchi, and Nance, although no one stood a chance by the final day of catching either of the Top 2 on the final day of the season. Bushwacker, meanwhile, brought home his second World Champion bull title.
“I’m tired,” said Mauney, as he was escorted from the arena to the media room for one final press conference and a round of individual interviews. “I’m worn out and I’m going to probably go home and try not to think about bull riding for a month or two.”
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @pbr_krc.
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