A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to learn how to ride a bull from JB Mauney and the guys over at TZ Ranch and Sankey Rodeo School! It’s not every day that you get to sit down with the world’s greatest bull rider. So naturally, we had to ask him a couple of questions about how he got started and what it took to get to where he is today.
Most of us wouldn’t be surprised to find that JB has been riding bulls before he could walk. Although that might be a stretch, he has been doing it nearly his entire life!
“I started out riding sheep at about 3-years-old and just kept moving up from there. I rode my first big bull when I was 13-years-old. I’ve been riding professionally for 14 years now."
Since then, he has not only won the title of World Champion Bull Rider TWICE, but he also tied Justin McBride for the most televised wins in PBR history in 2019! JB is destined for the Hall of Fame and we were honored to spend the weekend with him in Central Colorado.
“To be a professional bull rider it takes a lot of heart and effort. You gotta be 110% into it. It’s not a sport where you can go at it weak-hearted or halfway do it. When you climb into that chute and nod your head, you better be all in, because if you’re not, it could be the last time you nod. I’ve had friends die and seen people get paralyzed riding bulls, so you have to commit.”
Although that makes it sound pretty terrifying, JB did give us a little hope when he said that “it’s something where once you start doing it, it gets into your blood. You do it once and you just can’t stop. Even when you’re sidelined and stuck at home for 6 months, waiting to heal, you’re not even home a week before you’re ready to be back. You just sit there and crave it.”
JB made it clear that bull riding takes an extreme level of commitment. Being away from your family and risking your life every night is the price you pay to be a professional bull rider.
Bull riding is an inherently dangerous sport, so naturally there will be some broken bones along the path to becoming the best. So we asked JB if he had any major injuries in his career. Here’s what he said:
“Well, my career started a little slow because of one. Right after I turned 18, a bull stomped me in the stomach and lacerated my liver and broke all my ribs on the right side. It ended up putting me in the hospital for quite a while - they said it should have killed me.”
This was about a week before he was going to enter into PBR! Not only that but throughout his career he also...
Needless to say, he’s had his fair share of injuries! But hey, there’s a reason why his go-to saying is “if you can’t deal with pain for 8 seconds then you might as well not ride bulls.”
Could you imagine working in the cubicle next to JB Mauney?! Yeah, neither could he…
“When I had that bull stomp me that first time and put me in the hospital, I had a real job for a little bit after that. Let’s just say it didn’t take long for me to get out of there and go back to riding bulls. When I was layin’ in bed and trying to put in eight hours, all I could think about was my next ride.”
“Well, first I stretch before getting on. Then once you’re in the chute, you just ease up there on the bull and get ready for him to be moving out of there fast. It’s easy to want to let yourself get hunkered down and get set, but if you let yourself try to settle into a good seat you’re just gonna lose that seat as soon as you nod your head. That bull is gonna leave in a forward motion no matter what, so you gotta be ready for it whichever way it goes.”
“The worst thing people can do is to get advice from someone who has no idea what they’re doing. There are a lot of misconceptions about bull riding, but as long as you’re learning from someone who knows what they’re talking about that can minimize the bad habits and the risk you’re taking.
“If you’re gonna do it, pay the money to go to a really good school and learn to do it the right way the first time.”
Good thing we learned from the best over at Sankey Rodeo Schools out in Colorado!
When we finally got around to asking JB why he chose to wear a Groove Ring over all the rest, he said, “It’s just an awesome ring, and for my lifestyle it works out perfectly. And they have a No BS Lifetime Warranty, so I never really have to worry about it.” And we couldn’t agree more! So next time you find yourself riding a bull like JB Mauney, take a hint from JB and get yourself a Groove Ring! (If you’re curious, he wears the Mossy Oak Bottomland Camo Original!)
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