PUEBLO, Colo. – Justin McBride understands that J.B. Mauney’s season-ending injury is part of bull riding, but the two-time World Champion is still just as disappointed as most fans about not being able to watch the PBR legend compete for the rest of the 2017 season.
“There is not another rock star in the PBR like J.B.,” McBride said last week. “They are irreplaceable. Those are the guys in the Ring of Honor and they are always remembered in the history of the sport.
“I know I sound like a broken record, but he is still head and shoulders above everybody else. There is not another guy in the world that can ride rank bulls the way J.B. Mauney can. There is just not. There may be some guys that are more consistent day in and day out. Mid-80 point bull riders. But when it comes to 45-point plus bulls, there is no one in his category.”
McBride had hoped Mauney’s wreck at the 2017 Calgary Stampede, and subsequent injuries, was going to be similar to the one McBride sustained at the 2007 Chihuahua, Mexico, Challenge and allow Mauney to still chase after a third World Championship this season.
However, Mauney’s injuries were much, much worse compared to those McBride sustained to his free arm 10 years ago.
McBride had sustained a dislocated left shoulder, as well as ligament damage, but the right-handed bull rider was able to put off surgery until the end of the season, which McBride concluded with a PBR World Championship.
Coincidentally, one of the rider’s McBride had to fend off for his second world title was a talented 20-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina, named James Burton Mauney.
McBride missed the first seven months of the following season (2008) after undergoing his own reconstructive shoulder surgery on his free arm with Dr. Tandy Freeman.
Seeing as McBride was able to put off surgery, he got a head start on physical therapy while finishing his run at the 2007 world title compared to Mauney, whose serious injuries needed to be repaired immediately.
“I hate it for him,” McBride said. “I was out seven months and it sucked. No joke. It really sucked. It was a long time getting back from it. It was three months before I could ever start doing anything. It was amazing how weak my shoulder got.”
McBride remembered how frustrating it was when he began his rehab with rubber bands that his now little boy could move with ease.
Of course their injuries are much different, but McBride said that coming back from shoulder surgery on his free arm was tedious, but once he graduated from physical therapy it was smooth sailing after only one bull.
McBride returned to competition on June 21, 2008, in Dallas and rode his first two bulls – Fish Creek Bandit (86 points) and Jefe (88.5 points) – before bucking off Billionaire (4.1 seconds) in the championship round.
He then won the next event by going 3-for-4, including a 93.75-point ride on Gnash and 94.5 points on Voodoo Child, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“The shoulder didn’t bother me at all when I came back,” McBride said. “It was done. I was stronger than I ever had been. It took just one bull. I felt like I had been riding better than I ever had been. It could be good for (Mauney). I know as bad as it sucked, it was really good. It got me in really good shape. When I came back and went to those handful of events that was as good as I felt physically.”
McBride went on to retire at the end of the 2008 season, but not because of his shoulder.
It was just time.
“I just realized being out 7-8 months that I hadn’t missed it,” he explained. “I realized that when I won Tulsa and rode Voodoo Child. I could care less.”
Current PBR riders Chase Outlaw, who is right behind Mauney in the PBR world standings, and Shane Proctor, who is the same age as Mauney, have both come back from reconstructive shoulder surgeries on both their arms.
Mauney has stated he is motivated to come back in 2018 and win a record-tying third world title, and McBride wouldn’t be surprised if Mauney returned rejuvenated, motivated and focused to live up to his word.
As he has done so many times in his career, just when you think Mauney can’t do something he turns around and does the unthinkable.
“If there is one guy out there, as long as he shows up and wants to ride, I won’t bet against him,” McBride said. “I will not bet against him. I have seen it to many times what he is capable of. He absolutely could be (better). He will be 31 when he comes back from this. You know, this would be a great time to get in great shape because it is going to start getting harder for him from here on out. At 31, stuff is going to start falling apart on him. Not that it hasn’t already, but it will get worse.”
If Mauney hits physical therapy as hard as he rides rank bulls, then that could be trouble for the competition come 2018.
“If he decides he wants to get after it, man he is going to be tough to deal with when he gets back,” McBride concluded.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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