PUEBLO, Colo. – Reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger and his partners are upping the ante for the Dakota Community Bank PBR Bull Riding Challenge Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Berger confirmed on Tuesday morning that two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney will square off against world No. 1 bull Pearl Harbor for $50,000 following the first round of competition inside the Bismarck Civic Center on June 16.
The matchup has been officially named The Cooper Tires Battle in Bismarck.
“Cooper Tires has been sponsoring my event for 11 years now,” Berger said. “Ever since I got associated with them in 2007. They keep promoting bull riding and they love the sport. Without Chris Pantani, I may not have a few of those Stock Contractor of the Year awards.”
Pantani, the Director of Event Marketing, Sponsorships and Motorsports, for Cooper Tires, is a close friend and business partner of Berger’s.
The West Haven, Connecticut, native said sponsoring the matchup of Mauney vs. Pearl Harbor was a no brainer.
“This is all about activating,” Pantani said. “We have done well with our athletes and Flint. This is just a marquee matchup that should be called out. This is a grudge match. Who will take the lead? It is either going to be Pearl Harbor or J.B.”
The Cooper Tires Battle in Bismarck was originally going to pay Mauney $25,000 if he could find a way to ride Pearl Harbor for the full 8 seconds.
Now the stakes are going to be that much higher.
Is Berger nervous that the added money will motivate Mauney even more?
“I really don’t care,” Berger said. “If he rides him then that will blow the roof off. It will be the talk of the town for a year.”
Mauney said he needed no further incentive to try and make the whistle, but that he wasn’t going to complain about having the opportunity to win even more money.
Pearl Harbor is 8-1 this season and is averaging a career-best 46.13 points per out. He is 38-4 at all levels of competition.
The 6-year-old bull most recently wiped out Derek Kolbaba in 2.34 seconds at Last Cowboy Standing.
Pearl Harbor has bucked off five of his 2017 foes in less than 3 seconds, including Mauney in 2.79 seconds in Anaheim, California.
Mauney famously became one of those four riders to cover Pearl Harbor at any level of PBR competition when he did so to the tune of 94.25 points in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, last year. He completed the ride despite having no feeling in his riding arm.
“They are tied at 1-1,” Pantani said. “J.B. rode him for 94.25 points and Pearl Harbor has bucked him off. Pearl Harbor is really on the top of his game right now and is a true contender for World Champion Bull. J.B. is always in the title hunt to be a World Champion and you can never count him out. This is a marquee matchup with a bull in his prime.”
Shane Proctor rode Pearl Harbor last month for 93.5 points in Tacoma, Washington.
The Cooper Tires Battle in Bismarck is the first of two big-time showdowns for Mauney.
Mauney heads to Vinita, Oklahoma, the next day to compete against 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis at Gene Owen’s Hometown Dodge Challenger PBR Touring Pro Division event in a $25,000 showdown.
The 30-year-old will have to ride Cochise and score higher than Davis, who is scheduled to take on Seven Dust.
This isn’t the first time, nor will it probably be the last, that Berger has brought high stakes to his famed Bismarck event.
In 2014, J.W. Harris attempted to ride three-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker for $100,000. Bushwacker dumped the four-time PRCA champion in 3.04 seconds.
Berger placed a $10,000 bounty on 2012 World Champion Bull Asteroid last year in Bismarck. Jess Lockwood was bucked off by Asteroid in 1.78 seconds.
Berger was hoping to up this year’s Mauney vs. Pearl Harbor matchup to $100,000.
He also hasn’t ruled out another financial bump in the next three weeks.
“Well, it took a lot of talking and a lot of campaigning to get this,” Berger said. “I was trying to get (my partners) to go to $100,000, but I couldn’t get them there. Who knows, maybe we aren’t done. We know we are at 50 now.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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