When the draw for the Wrangler Long Live Cowboys Classic Professional Bull Riders (PBR) was posted for the weekend of October, 12 and 13 inside the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC, a returning bull rider listed drew quite a bit of attention.
The rider was two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney, who had opted out of the Minneapolis Invitational the weekend before to allow his shoulder and knee injuries to heal, just a few dinged up body parts which have frequently interrupted Mauney’s 2019 season, relegating him to an un-JB-like position of No.29 in the world.
As is often the case when J.B. gets injured or swaggers back into PBR’s premier series after a layoff, keyboard warriors took to social media to prescribe with supreme confidence that J.B. Mauney, the cowboy with the most earnings of any western sports athlete in history (more than $7.4 million) should retire.
Make no mistake, a laundry list of injuries have sidelined Mauney throughout his career. And his riding percentage isn’t what it used to be. But he has always had the desire to come back and keep getting on the rankest bulls in the world. J.B. is a cowboy, and riding bulls is his passion He’s even admitted that riding bulls professionally from the age of 19 to 32 has taken a big physical toll, but he knows his physical capabilities better than anyone else.
JB is closing in on qualifying for his 14th consecutive World Finals inside T-Mobile Arena (Nov. 6-10) in Las Vegas. 2004 World Champion Mike Lee qualified for 16 world finals and Guilherme Marchi made 15 straight world finals, a number JB has said he’s shooting for.
“The keyboard warriors have not been shy about saying they know what’s best for a two-time world champion who will go down as one of the all-time-greats if not the greatest of them all,” said Andrew Giangola, who oversees communications for PBR, in an email. “It’s healthy for any sport when fans are debating things. J.B. is an honest realist about the toll that getting on the rankest bulls for 13 years has taken on him. He knows his body best. He’ll decide when it’s time to walk away, and until then fans should just soak in every second of every out and treasure watching a-one of a kind legend battered to the hilt trying his guts out”.
And also until then, for the fans screaming that J.B. should retire, the living legend will continue to tell the nattering naysayers to a kiss a certain body part allowed make contact with the bull.
J.B. does know his body better than anyone else. He also knows that 13 years of professionally riding the rankest bulls, ending Bushwackers historic buck-off streak and riding each of the past 7 World Champion bulls at least once does take a toll on his body.
JB Mauney, two-time world champion, who’s earned more money than any western sports athlete, the cowboy who’s conquered the past 7 World Champion bulls, and who sits in the second position, for all qualified rides is 100 percent cowboy.
As long as it’s in his heart to try and get on the rankest bulls in the world, hold on until his head hits the ground, and make more historic rides to stand “ten feet tall and bulletproof,” JB will continue. He’ll do what he loves until it’s no longer in his heart.
Every PBR fan has an opinion on J.B. Mauney, and that’s great for the sport. However, the choice to hang up the chaps and rope should be left to J.B. Mauney. The choice is his alone.