PUEBLO, Colo. – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney has won essentially everything there is to win in the PBR during his 13-year career.
However, the 31-year-old has not accomplished everything when it comes to bull riding and the Western sports scene.
Mauney has never qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and he hopes to change that in 2019.
“Next year I’m going to try to make both, the NFR and the PBR Finals,” Mauney revealed during the 2018 PBR World Finals. “I figured I might as well. I always wanted to make it once. I’m not getting any younger.”
Mauney, who ranks second all-time with 31 PBR event wins, has not rodeoed, even on a part-time basis, since 2009.
Mauney only truly went on a dedicated rodeo run in 2006 – the same year he won the PBR’s Rookie of the Year title.
The soon-to-be 32-year-old bull rider called the PRCA office headquarters just before the start of the 2018 PBR World Finals last month to figure out how to renew his PRCA competitor card.
“It’s kind of funny, I called them the other day and I said, ‘Hey, I’ve got my contract personnel card last year, but I haven’t had a contestant card in about 10 years. Do I got to do anything?’” Mauney recalled. “‘No, just renew it.’ ‘Okay.’”
Mauney does not have any PRCA qualifications, so it will be hard for him to compete at the larger rodeos on the 2019 calendar.
Joe Frost (4-for-6) is currently leading the NFR this week in Las Vegas. Reigning PRCA champion Sage Kimzey is sitting in seventh place (3-for-6) but is still projected to win a fifth consecutive championship.
No Top-35 PBR riders qualified for the NFR this year.
There is a possible, clear pathway to the NFR for Mauney – as well as other PBR riders – that will attempt to make the NFR by riding at rodeos when the PBR’s premier series has no events.
The AMERICAN rodeo on March 3 is being sanctioned by the PRCA in 2019, and Mauney would help his chances of qualifying for the NFR significantly with a victory.
If Mauney can take home the bull riding title in Arlington, that would earn him $100,000. According to ProRodeo.com, $50,000 would go towards the world standings.
The last bull riding qualifier for the NFR this year was Trevor Kastner with $94,396 in earnings.
“So if you win the American, you’re almost there,” Mauney said. “And then they’ve got the deal at Cheyenne too, so you can rodeo while you’re there.
“If you’re making it, you’re making it. I think the 15th-place man this year was about $94,000.”
Mauney will have to qualify for The AMERICAN by riding at the American Semi-Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, on Feb. 27-March 1.
PBR riders can try to qualify for the American Semi-Finals by paying a $75 entry fee at each U.S. Unleash The Beast, Velocity Tour and Touring Pro event they enter. The highest-placing rider who paid the fee is awarded a spot in the Semi-Finals.
The Top 5 riders from the Semi-Finals Final Round (March 2 in Arlington) will then advance to The AMERICAN on March 3 to compete alongside the Top 5 riders from the 2018 PBR world standings (Kaique Pacheco, Jose Vitor Leme, Cody Teel, Claudio Montanha Jr. and Marco Eguchi) and the 2018 PRCA standings.
Mauney is also planning on competing at the Cheyenne Frontier Days PRCA event, as well as other summer events in 2019.
The PBR’s third major of the 2019 season – Last Cowboy Standing – is also taking place in Cheyenne on July 22-23.
It will be the first time a PBR Major has been held at the historic rodeo grounds.
Mauney is not only planning on competing at some PRCA events in 2019, but he is already qualified for the WCRA Windy City Roundup – a $1 million rodeo – on Jan. 11 in Chicago.
Other bull riders who qualified for the Windy City Roundup include Montanha, Joao Ricardo Vieira, Fabiano Vieira, three-time World Champion Silvano Alves, Derek Kolbaba, Wyatt Rogers, Chance Schott and Jason Mara.
WCRA earnings do not count toward PRCA standings.
Fans can watch the event exclusively on RidePass.
Health will be an ultimate factor in Mauney’s pursuit of a NFR qualification.
“Hell, I am feeling pretty good,” Mauney said. “I am not getting any younger so I better do it now.”
The Mooresville, North Carolina, cowboy is coming off the worst season of his career. Mauney went 18-for-53 (33.96 percent) with two fourth-place finishes and five Top-10s in 18 events.
Mauney missed nine events because of a torn groin and broken back, while also still struggling at times because of his surgically repaired right shoulder.
Mauney finished 28th in the 2018 world standings, but said in Las Vegas that he believes he can be healthier in 2019 and make a run at both Finals.
He enjoys the idea of being an NFR rookie.
“I thought it would be pretty cool,” Mauney said. “NFR rookie – 32 years old.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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