As the chase for the Professional Bull Riders 2013 World Championships speed to their conclusion, there are some key numbers to consider.
30.75. That's the difference between new number one ranked cowboy J.B. Mauney and the two-time and reigning champion Silvano Alves. After a full season of competition, both cowboys have accumulated over 11,300 points each but only a scant margin currently separates them.
"I didn't know I was ahead until they told me on the way up here," Mauney confessed during the round two press conference. "It doesn't matter until after Sunday. Thirty points is like a grain of salt. Just to get two bulls down, to ride them, that's the main thing."
93.75. That's how many points J.B. Mauney posted aboard World Champion Bull contender Smackdown during round two of the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas on Thursday night, October 24. He won the go round 24 hours after taking second in round one. A win in a round here at the Finals is worth your ride score plus 400 bonus points so Mauney earned 493.75 points last night, almost as much as the difference that separated him from Alves when the World Finals started.
"I've had a problem with that my whole career . . . I ride a Bushwacker and then fall off 84 point spinners," Mauney said. "I guess on those bulls that didn't buck that hard, I would get too relaxed. The way I've been going at it the past couple of weeks and before we came here was to look at every bull like they're a Bushwacker. Take the fight to them."
89.5. Alves isn't about to give up his World title just because Mauney's on an incredible roll. He brought his own great ride on a bull that was tough to ride in round two, earning 89.5 points from the judges for fourth in the round and an addition 250 bonus points.
19.25. Mauney is of course leading the average standings for the finals at this point and Alves is fifth, 19.25 points behind him. Alves has stuck to his strategy throughout his short four year career in the PBR, never taking points earned off the board and figuring he who rides the most bulls will win. It's worked to the tune of two PBR World Championships and better than $3.5 million.
4. That's how many bulls are left in the PBR's 2013 season including rounds Friday and Saturday night along with a final round Sunday before the Championship Round. Only 15 cowboys will make the cut for the Championship Round based upon their total scores for the week.
.25. As tight as the cowboys' race is, the one for World Champion Bull is even closer. Only a quarter of a point separate Bushwacker and Asteroid after the first round of competition for the bulls. Bushwacker earned 46.50 points in the judges' books after Douglas Duncan slapped the bull right out of the chutes but went on to ride the full eight seconds. Although it was a no score due to the slap, it was an amazing effort by the Texas bull rider who will surely be looking for a chance to climb aboard the 2011 World Champion Bull again in the future.
Asteroid earned 46.25 points after a quick trip against Stormy Wing. Three bulls are knotted up at 46 points, Smackdown, Mick E Mouse who dispatched 2004 World Champ Mike Lee to remain unridden in his career and Shepherd Hills Tested, who matched up against Chase Outlaw.
The final two World Champion Bull contenders are I'm a Gangster Too, who was ridden for 86.75 points by Jory Markiss, and Lightmaker's Rango who also produced a score after being ridden by PBR rookie Brant Atwood. Atwood won third in the round with 90.75 points.
1,575. Leading rookie Joao Ricardo Vieira made up for ground he lost after bucking off in round one with a huge 91 point effort on Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey. He won second in the go round behind Mauney and pushed his lead over his closest competitor, Eduardo Aparecido, back to 1,575 points.
Round four of the 2013 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals begins at 6 p.m. Pacific time on Friday night. The duel between the top two cowboys will likely continue but Alves may have a slight advantage over Mauney this round though it's not likely either man will hit the dirt.
Alves has drawn Showboat, a bull that has produced three qualified rides this season including a 90 point effort with Ben Jones at the Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque and an 88.75 with Guilherme Marchi in Sacramento.
Meanwhile, on paper anyway, Mauney looks to have a lesser draw in JW Hughes Excavation. Although the bull has not been ridden this season, he has not run into J.B. Mauney with the kind of momentum he has right now. The bull's average score is just over 43 points.
Other match-ups to watch in round four are Stormy Wing aboard Nitro Carrilo Cartel and Jory Markiss aboard King of Hearts. Both bulls will be retired after their trips in Las Vegas this week. As for possible round winners, along with Alves look for L.J. Jenkins to have a chance with Delco and Shane Proctor aboard the electric Speckled Ivory.