PUEBLO, Colo. – An extremely muddy arena, temperatures in the mid-30s and a bull rope that had much more mud than rosin on it was not enough to slow down 2017 World Champion Jess Lockwood this weekend in Deadwood, South Dakota.
The No. 4 ranked bull rider in the world standings was the only man to reach the 8-second mark in the championship round Saturday night, doing so for an impressive, event-high 91 points aboard The Tickler to win the Deadwood PBR Touring Pro Division event, presented by Do Deadwood.
Lockwood was double-entered in the event, and he went a combined 4-for-6 to finish in first and ninth place.
The weather conditions made the event much more difficult than a standard Touring Pro Division event, Lockwood said.
“It sucked with the mud and rain,” Lockwood said. “Riding six bulls with a damn, muddy rope. I’m there so I might as well ride and win the damn thing.”
Lockwood did not appear to be fazed one bit by the adverse conditions, putting together another impressive performance as he continues his comeback from a broken left collarbone that kept him out of competition for three months.
In his 3-for-3 winning entry, Lockwood began the weekend with 89.5 points on Chaturanga to win Round 1 Friday night. He then followed that up with 88 points on the Big Show Saturday in Round 2 before sealing the victory with his 91-point ride.
Lockwood’s ride on The Tickler is his third-best ride at any level of competition this season.
The 2016 Rookie of the Year’s ability to handle the outdoor conditions may prove helpful when the Unleash The Beast resumes next month with Last Cowboy Standing at Cheyenne Frontier Days. The next PBR Major is an outdoor event on July 22-23 at the historic rodeo grounds.
Deadwood is Lockwood’s fifth event back at all levels of competition since breaking his collarbone at the WinStar World Casino & Resort Global Cup USA, presented by Monster Energy, in February.
Lockwood picked up 60 world points in Deadwood to cut world leader Jose Vitor Leme’s lead in the world standings to 614.16 points.
The 21-year-old has earned 745 world points since returning to competition on May 3.
Mason Taylor won Round 2 on Saturday with a 90-point ride on Chaturanga to finish in second place overall (2-for-3, 178 points). Taylor bucked off More Big Bucks in 3.46 seconds in the championship round. He began his weekend with 88 points on Gunsmoke.
The talented 19-year-old picked up 30 world points to move to within 11.67 points of Rookie of the Year leader Cody Jesus.
The 90 is Taylor’s first of his career at any level of competition.
Taylor – the No. 13 ranked bull rider in the world – won Deadwood last summer for the first victory of his career at any level.
“Deadwood has been great to me,” Taylor told Joe Kavanaugh of the Rapid City Journal. “This event just fires me up so much. When I won here, I had just turned 18 and this was my first PBR event win, so to come here and ride is a whole different atmosphere for me.”
Dalton Kasel went 2-for-3 as the Howard College bull rider looked to show he has what it takes to compete alongside some of the PBR’s best.
Kasel had bucked off the first six bulls he attempted in his PBR career before riding Jose Quervo for 88.5 points and Free Wiskey for 89 points in Deadwood. Lonesome Fugitive bucked him off in 2.38 seconds in the championship round.
“Yes sir I was planning on doing well,” Kasel explained to Kavanaugh. “But then again, I never plan on losing really. I’d seen the bull before and I knew he was a good bull so I was excited to have him. I didn’t really know what he was going to do, but it worked out. And you can’t think too much anyway or they will get you.”
The 22-year-old is set to compete at the 2019 College National Finals Rodeo this month.
Rounding out the Top 5 in Deadwood was Cody Casper (2-for-3, 174 points, 15 world points) and Colten Fritzian (2-for-3, 169 points, 10 world points).
No. 3 Chase Outlaw rode Stars & Stripes for 89 points to finish in sixth place. He gained five points to the world standings.
Lockwood and Outlaw will next compete in Bismarck, North Dakota, at Chad Berger’s annual Dakota Community Bank & Trust Touring Pro Division event. They are competing on opposite teams during Berger’s $125,000 team challenge exhibition event following each night’s TPD long round.