The Ride

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J.B. Mauney, World Champion Bull Rider / PBR - The Players' Tribune

When you put your jeans on in the morning and grab your world champion buckle to hold your pants up, that’s what it’s all about. I’ve made a lot of money riding bulls, and I hope to make a lot more. But to me, it’s always been about the gold buckle.

There’s only been one other guy in PBR history to win back-to-back world titles. It’s not easy to do. So I try to forget last year and start off fresh. It’s easy to look back at what you’ve accomplished, but I want to look forward.

The new goal is to win another world title.

PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR at Madison Square Garden

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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PBR's 10th Anniversary Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden on Friday, January 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

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Roadtrip Rodeo

These photographs are part of a week-long odyssey assigned by Sports Illustrated involving a bunch of saddle bronc riders during what is affectionately known in rodeo circles as “Cowboy Christmas”–a stretch of time in early July in which there are so many rodeos, and so much money to be won, that every cowboy worth his salt endeavors to get to as many, and win as much as he can. I rode around in a 1997 Dodge Explorer van with Jacobs and Sterling Crawley, Jeremy Melancon and Dean Wadsworth, driving 3,981 miles in 82 hours, stopping only for gas and the occasional gas station soda. We went from Greeley, Colorado to Prescott, Arizona to Molalla and St. Paul, Oregon, to Cody, Wyoming before finally driving north to the Calgary Stampede. The rodeo life is not a glamorous one, but these guys certainly love it and I think that comes through in the pictures.

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