Tulsa, Okla. ― "It's about time," proclaimed an elated J.B. Mauney, who said he's never felt as great as he does Saturday night in Tulsa, Okla., where he won his first Built Ford Tough Series event of 2013 with a ride that will go down as one of the most memorable nights in PBR history.
It took nine times, but finally the 26-year-old from Mooresville, N.C., made a full 8-second ride on Bushwacker.
After bucking off a PBR-record 42 consecutive riders at BFTS events, and 56 overall, Mauney made the whistle on a bull that has done everything he can to establish himself as the greatest, to the tune of 95.25 points.
Kent Cox and Mauney, whose skin was completely covered in goose bumps, embraced one another immediately afterward.
"If it had to be anybody it had to be J.B.," said Cox, who has hauled Bushwacker his entire career for owner Julio Moreno.
Mauney said throughout his career Cox has always come up to him prior to the Built Ford Tough Championship Round and told him "to put my chin down and always be a cowboy and don't be a girl."
Mauney came into the final round Saturday night second in the average. After making his second qualified ride he said he was sticking to his original game plan, which he boldly stated would be selecting Bushwacker.
Though some wondered whether or not he'd change up his plan between then and the draft, Mauney explained, "Everything's going great right now."
"When you feel good, you ride good," he continued. "I'm picking the way J.B. picks."
And for Mauney that means big picks in big moments.
He had tied for fifth in the average during the opening round Friday night and then moved into first in the average for most of the second round after riding Razorbuck for 89.25 points early in the long round. However, Round 1 winner Brendon Clark reclaimed the average lead with 86 points on Home Brew.
Clark took Showboat with the first pick in the championship round draft followed by Mauney's crowd-rousing selection of Bushwacker.
"Those first two bulls, I knew nothing about," said Mauney, who added that was how he had to approach his matchup with Bushwacker. "I have to just go at him jump for jump."
Determined to finally make the whistle, Mauney did just that in matching his every move.
Afterward he said it was a dogfight every second of the way.
With every other rider, including Markus Mariluch, who was the last rider to make a qualified ride on Bushwacker in 2009 when he was only 3 years old, and every stock contractor cheering him on from the back of the bucking chutes, Mauney threw caution to the wind and disregarded every basic fundamental of bull riding.
"I was just hanging on," he admitted.
Mauney won the Express Employment Professionals Classic with a three-bull total of 268.5 points. He was followed by Clark, who finished with 174.75 points. Jory Markiss was third and Sean Willingham was fourth, while Ben Jones and L.J. Jenkins rounded out the Top 5 by splitting fifth and sixth in the average.
Mauney had said earlier this week that he needed to make a move up the standings in Tulsa. He did just that with Saturday night's victory, jumping from 10th to sixth in the world standings in a matter of only two days.
However, following the event all the talk was less about the race for the 2013 world title and more about celebrating the moment.
It's about Mauney and Bushwacker.
Bushwacker is the frontrunner for this year's World Champion Bull title and has dominated the PBR storylines all season.
He was named the Pabst Blue Ribbon high-marked bull with 46.75 points Saturday night.
Bushwacker's been all over the national news, including ESPN the Magazine and "CBS This Morning," and this marquee matchup will certainly be among the most-watched PBR video clips of all time.
"I feel so good," concluded Mauney, whose thoughts understandingly came in short spurts.
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC
Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series
Express Employment Professionals Classic
BOK Center, Tulsa, Okla.
Final Results (Round 1-Round 2-Round 3-Event Total Points, Money Earned) ...
1. J.B. Mauney, 84-89.25-95.25-268.50 points, $46,605.00
2. Brendon Clark, 88.75-86-0-174.75 points, $17,005.00
3. Jory Markiss, 84-87.25-0-171.25 points, $11,125.00
4. Sean Willingham, 85-85.75-0-170.75 points, $7,070.00
5/6. Ben Jones, 83.5-86-0-169.50 points, $4,375.00
5/6. L.J. Jenkins, 83-86.5-0-169.50 points, $4,660.00
7. Joao Ricardo Vieira, 0-88.75-0-88.75 points, $5,150.00
8. Stetson Lawrence, 0-86.5-0-86.50 points, $2,975.00
9. Chase Outlaw, 86-0-0-86.00 points, $4,150.00
10. Kasey Hayes, 85.75-0-0-85.75 points, $2,900.00
11. Guilherme Marchi, 0-85-0-85.00 points, $400.00
12. Silvano Alves, 0-84-0-84.00 points, $400.00
13. Douglas Duncan, 83-0-0-83.00 points, $585.00
14. Austin Meier, 77.5-0-0-77.50 points, $400.00
Agnaldo Cardozo, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Billy Robinson, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Brant Atwood, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Cody Coverchuk, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Cody Nance, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Eduardo Aparecido, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Emilio Resende, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Fabiano Vieira, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Jared Farley, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Jordan Hupp, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Lachlan Richardson, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Luke Snyder, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Marco Eguchi, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Markus Mariluch, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Mike Lee, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Nathan Schaper, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Renato Nunes, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Shane Proctor, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Stormy Wing, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Valdiron de Oliveira, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
Zac Peterson, 0-0-0-0.00 points, $400.00
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