PUEBLO, Colo. – Reigning PBR World Champion, and current world No. 1, J.B. Mauney came into the Ty Murray Invitational last weekend looking up at the standings. He left Albuquerque, New Mexico, back atop the world standings after going 2-for-3 and winning his Built Ford Tough Series-leading seventh and eighth rounds.
Despite not winning the weekend, Mauney happily took the points and control of the driver’s seat in his push for a record-tying third PBR World Championship.
However, a return to the top of the standings has not done much to change his approach for the rest of this season.
PBR.com caught up with the Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider and asked him a few questions with the Built Ford Tough Series on break this weekend.
PBR.com: Do you think there is a different mentality when a rider is No. 1 in the world standings compared to chasing it?
MAUNEY: You try not to let it, at least I try not to let it, I don’t think about it anyways. But it always seems like every time I get to sitting in first, I kind of relax and that’s when I stumble a little bit. You got to keep riding like you’re still just in second or third.
PBR.com: You’re leading the BFTS is round wins, but have yet to win an event. When the goal is winning the World Championship, do you prefer winning rounds and banking points, or is going out and trying to win every event better?
MAUNEY: Both. When I show up, every bull I get on I want to win; every time I nod my head, whether it’s the event, whether it’s the round, whatever. Just so happens, unfortunately, I haven’t won an event this year, but hopefully that changes soon.
PBR.com: Are you trying anything new this season? Any new techniques or gear?
MAUNEY: I’m pretty old school. I never change a whole lot of stuff and I like to keep it pretty simple. Just keep it to one rope, one glove, one set of spurs and if they break I’m going to have to borrow some.
PBR.com: You recently had Stormy Wing move in with you in North Carolina. You’re great friends, but how has having Wing around helped you this season?
MAUNEY: It helps when you got a guy who has the same mentality you do - they want to win every time they nod - you feed off each other. I have somebody there I can ask, “What do you think I did wrong?” so I can know what I’m trying to correct and vice versa. He’s a younger guy and he’s wanting to win and he’s wanting it bad, so it helps me and pushes me just as much as I push him.
PBR.com: In Albuquerque you rode some bulls (Oklahoma Bandit, Shelley’s Gangster) that didn’t have much of a history on the BFTS. Over the course of a season, when you draw bulls like that, do you scout them or try to learn a little about their tendencies?
MAUNEY: I don’t ever pay attention to any of them and I like it like that. I don’t ever ask, I don’t care what they do, and I don’t want to know what they do. If you know what they do, you kind of think about it and you try to set a game plan, and, for me, that’s about the worst thing I can ever do.
PBR.com: So if you were to describe your riding style, you’d say it’s more based on instinct over technique?
MAUNEY: It’s just instinct. I always say you got to ride a bull one jump at a time, it doesn’t matter what he’s done the past 20 trips in a row. If you set a trap for him, he’ll do the exact opposite.
PBR.com: You have made it a goal this year to remain consistent, but when you get into a slump, no matter how long it is, how do you go about breaking it?
MAUNEY: You don’t let it bother you. You can’t let the buckoffs bother you. If you do, it’ll show up in your next ride. It took me a long time to figure that out. When I got thrown off, I always used to beat myself up and it’d show up the next day; but I always say you ride yourself into a slump (and) you can always ride yourself out of one.
PBR.com: You have been No. 1 in the world standings twice, and within striking distance of it for pretty much most of the first half of the season. Given that only two other riders (Silvano Alves & Adriano Moraes) have ever won three PBR World Championships, do you feel any pressure going for that third title?
MAUNEY: There’s not really any pressure. There are only a couple of guys who have won three times, and I’d like to be in that group, but I’m just having fun riding bulls.
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