(Editor’s note: PBR media release)
PUEBLO, Colo. – 2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood will finally be able to dust off his bull rope for the first time in nearly three months.
Dr. Tandy Freeman cleared Lockwood (broken left collarbone) on Thursday to return to competition this weekend at the Cactus Jack PBR Touring Pro Division event in Uvalde, Texas, after he met with him in Dallas.
“The bone is all hard and it is still going to get harder,” Lockwood said. “It is healed. Tandy would recommend waiting until Albuquerque (on May 17), but it will be fine to ride. He said if I get slammed on my side or with my arm out it will break again, but like him and I talked about, you run that risk every time.
“He would recommend waiting a couple more weeks, but I don’t have time for that. It is time to go riding.”
The 21-year-old was the No. 1 bull rider in the world before Wild Goose jerked him down onto his collarbone at the 2019 WinStar World Casino & Resort Global Cup USA on Feb. 9 in Arlington, Texas.
Lockwood has missed nine Unleash The Beast events because of the injury, for which he did not have surgery, but he has only fallen to No. 4 in the world standings.
The 2016 Rookie of the Year trails world leader Jose Vitor Leme by 654.16 points.
Lockwood has drawn Hospitality Tent (0-0, all levels) for Round 1 at the Uvalde County Fairplex.
“He is a small little bull that is supposed to be pretty good,” Lockwood said.
Also competing in Uvalde are No. 3 Joao Ricardo Vieira, No. 5 Cody Teel, No. 12 Mason Taylor, No. 17 Rubens Barbosa, No. 18 Alisson de Souza, No. 21 Eduardo Aparecido, No. 27 Danilo Carlos Sobrinho, No. 28 Taylor Toves and 2016 PBR Brazil champion Dener Barbosa.
Fans can watch all of the action from Uvalde on FloRodeo.
Lockwood‘s return is a long time coming.
The Volborg, Montana, native had originally hoped to return in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 22 only to learn that his bone had not fully healed.
Therefore, Lockwood had to miss an additional three weeks and use a bone stimulator to help speed up the healing process.
He then thought he would be able to return to his home state event in Billings, Montana, on April 12. However, he was still at risk for breaking it again and was told it would be wise to wait a few more weeks.
The wait is over now for Lockwood, and a second World Championship is still very much possible.
“I feel more motivated now because I have bene sitting out and I have been pissed for three months,” he said. “I was determined when the season started. Now I am pissed. I have determination still, but it is more of a pissed off fueling me after being out so long.”
A 2019 championship would make Lockwood the sixth rider in PBR history to win multiple gold buckles.
To do so, he will be trying to regain his dominant mojo from the start of the season.
At the time of his injury, he was the best rider going. He had won the first two events of the season and led the organization with a 68.42% riding average (13-for-19).
“Just getting back healthy, I have the fuel and the fire to win again, so all I have to do is be healthy to do it,” Lockwood said. “There are no hot streaks or cold streaks. How I rode at the beginning of the year is how I’ll ride all year.”
The fourth-year pro had a 967.5-point lead atop the world standings.
Lockwood actually thought he would have fallen further in the standings, so he is relatively pleased with being only a (UTB) event win back of the No. 1 ranking.
“I was thinking I would have my lead gone in two or three weekends, but it took four events,” he said. “Still at only nine events, I am one win away. That is crazy to me.”
Lockwood will not attempt any practice bulls this week.
He considered it at first, but said he does not want to risk getting hurt inside the practice pen if he were to land wrong.
“I have been working out every single day.” Lockwood said. “I just can’t work out my arms. I am in shape. My arms may not be, but they will get in shape quick. I have been riding the drop barrel and riding horses bareback. That helps me ride a bunch too, riding horses every day. It helps your timing.”
Lockwood has only competed in Uvalde once before, riding Johnny Cash for 89 points and a ninth-place finish in 2017.
He missed 12 weeks last season because of a groin injury before returning at the World Finals with a 4-for-6 performance.
He doesn’t expect to have any rust this weekend.
“I don’t think there is much difference now that I’m older,” Lockwood said. “If I was younger, like my rookie year and in 2017, I would let (being injured) get to me. Last year, I didn’t really get into a funk.
“Really it is just all in your head.”