PUEBLO, Colo. ― J.B. Mauney, J.W. Harris and J.W. Hart participated in a teleconference on Friday afternoon with members of the media for 30 minutes to talk about the upcoming J.W. Hart PBR Challenge, which is set for May 31 in Decatur, Texas.
Hart has put up $25,000 in a winner-take-all challenge between Mauney, the reigning PBR World Champion, and Harris, the defending PRCA champion bull rider.
Fans can watch the Touring Pro Division event exclusively on PBR LIVE, which will have Brandon Bates and two-time World Champion Justin McBride calling the action, along with Amy Wilson performing behind-the-chutes interviews. Click here to sign up.
Below are some highlights from the teleconference.
Mauney on competing against Harris:
“Well, it is what it is. It ain’t really we are pitted against each other. I have a job to do when I get there and he has a job to do. It ain’t like we have the easiest bulls to get on. We have a tough road ahead of us. Each one of us, to ride either one of them bulls, but it just adds some excitement. I don’t think we are really pinned against each other. We still have to ride the bull we have to get on and then the scores will fall into place.”
“The fans are going to like it. Each and everybody has their own opinion. Whether it is right or wrong, everybody has their own opinion. Some are for the PRCA, some are for the PBR. You got both sides interested in it and both sides weighing in on it, so the fans are going to be battling it out and we are just going to ride our bulls.”
“He has a gold buckle around his waist for a reason and I do too. The fans want to see it, so you give the fans what they want. J.W. Hart called me and he offered $25,000 to the winner. One bull for $25,000? I’m in.”
Harris on competing against Mauney:
“It’s not that I am going against J.B. It’s going to be another bull, another day. We always compete against the bull and I hope J.B. rides his bull and I ride my bull. We’ll let the judges sort it out after that.”
“I guess really the whole headline of it is me versus J.B., but that is what people want to see and so that’s what they are going to get. But, it’s not me going against J.B. I can’t control anything he does. He has to go out and control his own destiny and I control mine.”
Hart on how the matchup between Mauney and Harris came about:
“For everybody to know, there has always been, I don’t want to say a rivalry between the PRCA and the PBR, because I don’t think neither one of the organizations has made it a rivalry. I think the fans and the media have kind of made a rivalry of the two. I just thought, especially since J.W. has come over this year and made a debut of making the Built Ford Tough Series, and I think if it had been any other guy I probably wouldn’t of pursued it, but I think he is the guy that can compose himself with a guy on the PBR side. I think he is one of the only guys I’ve seen that rode good enough and I thought could really stand up against the best guys and against the best bulls in the world."
“In Decatur, we are always looking at doing something to sell tickets, of course, and I think with J.W. coming across this year and him being the reigning World Champion in the PRCA and J.B. being the reigning champ of the PBR it was a no brainer that to give the fans what they want to see and that’s to see those two guys go head-to-head.”
Hart on the historical importance of having the PBR World Champion square off against the PRCA champion:
“I think it’s the first time we have seen the PRCA and the PBR champs go head-to-head. Back in the early days of ’92, ’93 when Tuff Hedeman had his event there in Fort Worth, each year you would see a match of the top five or six guys. You would see Ty (Murray) Cody (Lambert) and Jim Sharp and all of those guys have a match one night. But, since then, there hasn’t been much head-to-head battles between guys and matches put on. I don’t know of one in the last 10 or 15 years that has been put together. There have been a lot of matches between guys and bulls, but never between the guys.”
Hart on having a favorite in the matchup:
“I don’t have a favorite in the deal. I have known J.B. longer, and have probably a better relationship with him, but as far as the fact as who is going to win on what day, on what bull, I am going to let them guys and the fans to pick and decide because at the end of the day I probably need both of them to hit the ground so I don’t lose $25,000.”
“I am kind of like both those guys. It is not between them. It is between them and their animal. Us as fans, we just want to see those two guys go at it. At the end of the day it is just guys getting on bulls, but I just want to see the best guy and the best bull win.”
Mauney on Harris as a bull rider:
“There is only a couple that standout in the PRCA that you think can ride these rank of bulls every weekend and he is one of them. He has kicked everybody’s butt in the PRCA I don’t know how many times. I have seen him at rodeos and he comes over (from) there and there were a lot of people running their mouths, fans, and stuff and saying he couldn’t handle it. He shut all them up pretty quick.”
Harris on Mauney as a bull rider:
“It’s out there for everybody to see, just look at the buckle that he wears on his belt, that tells you how good of a bull rider he is. You don’t get that by accident. You don’t get it because you got lucky that weekend or something like that. The guy rides good. He tries hard and he doesn’t gripe and complain about something. He just goes out there and does what he does.”
Mauney on preparing to face Asteroid:
“Last time I got on Asteroid he threw me over his head, so hopefully it goes a little different this time. I have been on him three or four times and rode him once.
Mauney about having any advantage after previously facing both Asteroid and Shepherd Hills Tested:
“I don’t change my game plan at all. Once I get there, I know he will go either way. I actually don’t pay attention to bulls a whole lot because once you get into that bucking chute you got to have that mentality like you have never seen a bull before because you will try and set a trap for him and when you set a trap you get caught in it. Once I get there and I put my rope on him he is a bull I have never even seen before.”
“J.W. rides rank bulls. I have watched him for a long time going to the NFR, and I don’t have no advantage from being on them. Sometimes that is a disadvantage, being on a bull so many times because you try to set traps for them and things like that. That’s why I always go at them thinking it’s a bull I have never seen before. There is no advantage.”
Mauney comparing Asteroid and Shepherd Hills Tested:
“You can’t really say there is one easier than the other. They have two totally different bucking patterns, but are equally as rank. Tested has a little more forward movement. He is bigger, stronger. Asteroid has a lot more kick, kicks higher and is a little faster than Tested."
"Either one you get on it’s going to be the same, you have to ride them a little different. I am happy with what I got and hopefully we don’t do what I did last time."
Harris on Shepherd Hills Tested and facing rank bulls:
“I have seen Tested for a long time; obviously he is a PRCA Bull of the Year. He is a kind of bull that I have always wanted to get on. I think he kind of fits my style. I ride bulls better away from hand better than I do into my hand.”
“I crave getting on them bulls that nobody else rides and nobody, frankly else, wants to get on. That is why you ride bulls, to ride them unrideables.”
Harris on the bull power in the PBR compared to the PRCA:
“There is just more great bulls going to the PBR then there is going to the rodeos. Every bull you get on is a good one there and if for some reason he is not, they give you a re-ride. Whereas you go to rodeos you might go a week without getting on one of them, or even longer, one of them really good bulls like a Tested or something like that. Shoot, you may not be able to get on a bull like that. It’s all part of the luck of the draw. The PRCA does have some good bulls, just not as many as the PBR does.”
Harris on making the switch to the PBR this year:
“They called me and offered me three exemptions, so it would be stupid not to take it. I took it and ran with it.”
“I am liking it for sure. It’s a little different transition then going to rodeos and stuff. All and all, to me, it’s just another bull riding, that’s how I try to treat them. It’s been a cool experience.”
Harris on competing in both the PRCA and PBR:
“With the Built Ford Tough deals, if you get on tour you have to go to them bull ridings and you are stupid if you don’t go to them because they pay so good. But with the rodeo deal you can pick and choose where you want to go and enter the rodeos that pay the most money and go to those. Really, it’s not going to any more than if I wasn’t going to a bull riding. I am going to about the same, but winning more money.”
Harris about having PRCA and PBR ties:
“I think I am just a bull rider. I am not representing the PRCA in this match. I am just representing the accomplishments that I have made as an individual. I don’t feel like solely a PBR rider with a PRCA gold buckle. I am just a bull rider that they wanted in this match.”
Mauney on his title defense this year:
“I kind of fell back off that hill. It’s been up and down this year. I have been beat up a little bit, but that ain’t no excuses. I need a little time off and I’m glad the break hit when it did. But, I feel good now. I have been riding some horses, been roping a little bit and I am ready to get on some bulls.”
Mauney on his late-season injuries:
“My treatment is to toughen up a little bit. I got sored up pretty good and that was about it. I shouldn’t of been such a big baby.”
“I haven’t been 100 percent since my bull riding career started. I feel good. I have been riding a bunch of horses and got my hip loosened back up. I guess I am going to start wearing my old elbow brace again.”
Harris on his right foot injury he suffered in Colorado Springs, Colorado:
“You don’t need a foot to ride a bull. We’ll live.”
Harris on his mentality heading into the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge:
“I feel like whenever I show up to any bull riding I feel like I show up to win. I don’t show up to lose. I feel like my confidence is always high and there is nothing that can throw me off.”
Mauney on his mentality heading into the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge:
“Mine is high. I am going to ride them bulls. Injuries, that’s part of it. The way I have always said is if you can’t deal with injuries you shouldn’t ride bulls at all. I don’t whine about the injuries and I don’t use them as an excuse when I get thrown off or anything like that.
“They talk about the World Champion slump – that is a bunch of a crap. If you are in a slump, you rode your way in there, you ride your way out. You just have to keep your chin up and know you can ride these bulls and keep going at it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it don’t. But you have to have the attitude that they aint going to go out there and throw you off.”
Hart on future matchups at his annual event:
“If that is what the fans want and enjoy and we will do something every year to make it special, that is one thing we will guarantee. Whether it be a match between the PBR and the PRCA or the PBR world champ and the PBR champion bull we will do something, we will do something big.”
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