A record-setting performance
J.B. Mauney might not have won the world title, but he accomplished something no other bull rider ever has. Mauney rode all eight of his bulls at the World Finals, becoming the first man to do so in the present format. With the World Finals moving to a five-day event in 2010, Mauney will also be the last and only man to accomplish the feat.
"I came out with the mindset to ride every bull," Mauney said in the post-event press conference. "I drew well, I rode well, and it all worked out."
Mauney's highest scored ride was also his last one a 93.75 on Black Pearl in the short go that brought the crowd to its feet. Also worth noting is that in four career World Finals, Mauney has won the short round three times, including this one. And Mauney said he has no plans of stopping.
"I'll try for it (the world title) next year, I don't think I'm ready to retire just yet," he said. "I really don't care about the money, I just like the buckle."
World champion bull crowned
Sunday was a day for world champions, and not just of the human variety. The world champion bull was also crowned. Berger & Struve's Code Blue. Code Blue maintained his perfect record, bucking off all comers during this year's World Finals, including Austin Meier in 6.5 seconds in the championship round for a score of 47.5.
2007 world champion bull Voodoo Child finished in second, 1.25 points behind Code Blue, and Big Tex rounded out the top three. It was the latter bull who was thought to be the favorite coming into the event, however.
"Coming in, I thought Big Tex would win it," said stock contractor Chad Berger, who owns both bulls. "But Code Blue was definitely the best bull here this weekend."
Berger was also named stock contractor of the year for the second straight time in 2009, a fitting honor for the only contractor with two bulls in contention for the world champion bull title.
"We work hard at it, and when you work hard you get rewards," said Berger.
Last year's world champion bull, Bones, doctored out of the short go after fluid was found coming from the bull's nose. In a report on the PBR's Web site, Boyce Knox, who handles Bones for owner Tom Teague, said he decided not to buck the bull on the chance that he has a stomach virus. Bones will not buck again until he has seen a veterinarian. In his previous two outs, Bones was scored 45.75 and 45 points respectively, and was in fourth in the competition.
One other trophy was handed out at the Thomas & Mack Center on Sunday the PBR World Cup, which was awarded to the team from the United States after they won the event in Brazil earlier in the year. Coach J.W. Hart and rider Ryan McConnel, who clinched the title for the U.S. on his final ride, accepted the trophy from PBR CEO Randy Bernard.
"When I took these young guys down there, the only thing that made me nervous was being too overconfident," Hart said. "We had all the odds stacked against us, but I knew we had a group of guys who could get it done."
The U.S. won the title for the second straight year over the team from Brazil, who had the advantage of an 80,000-strong home crowd. In the end it came down to Colgate, Oklahoma's Ryan McConnel on the final ride.
"I knew the weight of every single person here in the Thomas & Mack Center and in the United States was on my shoulders, waiting for me to bring home the gold," said McConnel from the arena floor.
After presenting the trophy, Bernard also announced that the 2010 World Cup would be held in the United States for the first time since its inception and back in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center, no less. The event is set for April 16-18 in conjunction with the Country Music Association's annual award show. Tickets go on sale Dec. 4th.
It certainly wasn't the week Chris Shivers or anyone else, for that matter, - expected. The two-time world champion failed to ride a single bull at this year's World Finals, despite entering the event among the top riders in the world. He was joined by Georgia rider Sean Willingham who, like Shivers, was in the top 10 before the event began but failed to make the eight-second whistle. The two have one event left in 2009 to redeem themselves the Challenger Series finale in Atlanta, Ga. later this month. The event will also count as the first Built Ford Tough Series event of the 2010 season.
Make sure to follow ESPN Rodeo + Bull Riding @ www.twitter.com/espnrodeo for live updates from inside the Thomas & Mack Center.
Check back with ESPN.com and pbrnow.com all week long for continuing coverage of the 2009 PBR World Finals in Las Vegas.