PUEBLO, Colo. – When J.B. Mauney slides up inside the bucking chute and nods for the gate at the American Legion Arena in Vinita, Oklahoma, on Saturday night, he is going to be handling a much different Cochise than he first saw two years ago.
When Mauney rode Cochise for 88.25 points at the 2015 Last Cowboy Standing event, Cochise was not nearly as big and powerful as he is this season.
At the time, Cochise was a young, 4-year-old that was a little wilder around the corner and much smaller compared to the larger, version that Derek Kolbaba rode for 89.5 points in Little Rock, Arkansas, this past March.
Stock contractor Gene Owen knows Mauney is one of the best home run hitters in the game, but he also understands the two-time World Champion will have his hands full with Cochise when he goes against Cooper Davis in a $25,000 head-to-head showdown during the Hometown Dodge Challenger PBR Touring Pro Division event.
Davis is set to take on Seven Dust.
The rider that reaches 8-seconds on their bull for the highest score will take home the money.
“Well, I am not taking anything away from when J.B. rode him before, but he rode him two years ago when he was 400 or 500 pounds smaller than he is now,” Owen said. “He was a young 4-year-old rather than a 4-year-old in December. He was a lot tougher in the chute at that time.
“He is a completely different bull now than he was then.”
Owen estimates that Cochise weighs roughly 2,000-2,100 pounds.
“He is a big, ole bull and bucks hard,” Mauney said last month. “He is good. I like him. Off the top of my head, I figured I could be the most points on him.”
It will be a grueling 24 hours for Mauney, who is taking on Pearl Harbor the night before for a chance at $50,000 at Chad Berger’s Dakota Community Bank PBR Bull Riding Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Davis is also scheduled to compete in Round 1 in Bismarck before heading south to Oklahoma with Mauney.
Only three riders have reached the 8-second mark on Cochise since Mauney – Justin Paton (86.25 points at the 2015 World Finals), Paulo Lima (90 points at the 2015 New York event) and Kolbaba.
Cochise is 24-4 in his Built Ford Tough Series career and 33-4 overall at all levels of competition.
Last year, the now 6-year-old bovine athlete was a World Champion Bull contender before flipping over inside the bucking chute with Wallace de Oliveira on his back.
Since then, Cochise has bucked off eight of his nine challengers, including five riders in less than 2 seconds.
Cochise’s last two outs he two-jumped the snot out of Cody Nance (1.66 seconds) and Kolbaba (1.35 seconds).
Cochise’s abrupt and powerful initial move out of the bucking chute is the key, believes Owen.
“J.B. has to get to the corner and hang on to his rope,” Owen said. “When you go back and look at video, at 2-2.5 seconds he bucks a lot of guys off during that second jump. He has a little bit of a roll. He has done it so much that he kind of has it perfected.”
Mauney got past that tricky roll the first time he attempted Cochise.
Then it is a matter of getting to the corner.
“If he gets to the corner, he has gotten past the hard part,” Owen said. “Then after that, it is just hanging on to his rope that has happened to a few guys. They will get him started real good and won’t hang on to their rope. I don’t know if he rolls it out of their hand before he turns back and then they don’t have it. But I am not sure how he does it. He does get the rope off from the guys that do get him started.”
Mauney added, “I just have to stay ahead of him and ride him jump for jump.”
The 30-year-old is fourth in the world standings and is 21-for-47 (44.68 percent) on the BFTS.
Mauney trails world leader Eduardo Aparecido by 1,128.76 points.
Owen believes if both riders have their best days and the bulls have their bests then fans in Vinita will be seeing the quite show on Saturday night.
“They both picked the two rankest bulls Jane Clark and I have,” Owen said. “I am sure they are both confident. The bulls have been rested. They are both in shape. I have really watched the weight of both of them. Both bulls will be outstanding.
“It is going to be good to watch.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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