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Volborg bull rider Jess Lockwood involved in PBR Team Series trade

Posted at 12:54 PM, Jul 18, 2023

(Editor's note: PBR press release.)

PUEBLO, Colo. — Less than a week before the start of the 2023 PBR Teams season, the Nashville Stampede and Oklahoma Freedom agreed to a blockbuster preseason trade, sending two-time PBR world champion Jess Lockwood of Volborg to Nashville for Brazilian sensation Thiago Salgado.

As part of the trade, in addition to Salgado, the Freedom received Nashville’s 2024 first-round draft pick and future considerations.

“Jess is only 25 years old and has already won two PBR world titles,” Nashville general manager Tina Battock said. “Our program is built around team culture and hard work — Jess will fit right in with a roster of champion-caliber athletes focused on winning. In pairing Jess with Justin McBride, we believe he will be another dynamic Nashville Stampede rider in and out of the arena.”

“We think Thiago has a great future ahead of him, and we appreciate his work on the Stampede. We wish him all the best,” Nashville Stampede coach Justin McBride said. “Jess Lockwood can take a team to a new level. He has been one of the best the PBR has ever seen. It’s time for him to return to that.”

“It was an honor to have Jess Lockwood on the Oklahoma Freedom team last year,” Oklahoma Freedom coach Cord McCoy said. “We felt like we struck gold with him. Right now, we are planning the future and feel like Thiago has the youth and the ability. You look at his stats, and the guy has done it all. We wish Jess Lockwood the best of luck with Nashville.”

While Lockwood, who was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 PBR Teams supplemental draft, did not compete for the Freedom last season due to injury, his name is firmly etched in the organization’s record books.

The Montana native, who was a high school wrestling champion at Broadus, made his PBR premier series debut in 2016, winning his home state event in Billings en route to being anointed the 2016 PBR Rookie of the Year.

In 2017, Lockwood put the western sports world on notice. Winning the season-launch PBR Major in New York City, the surging bull rider, then 19, was world No. 1 for the first time and held that ranking for six weeks, also winning in Sacramento, California.

While Lockwood battled numerous injuries throughout the season, backed by a strong 3-for-6 showing at the World Finals, he became the youngest world champion in PBR history.

After a groin injury limited Lockwood in 2018, he roared back to his winning ways in 2019. Then 21, Lockwood again won the season-launch Major in New York City, as well as the tour stop the following weekend in Chicago, to take hold of the world No. 1 ranking, which he held for the first nine weeks of the season until late March after sustaining a broken collarbone during the 2019 PBR Global Cup USA in February, which sidelined him for three months.

Slipping to No. 4 upon returning in mid-May in Albuquerque, Lockwood mounted one of the most dominant summer campaigns in PBR history, winning five Touring Pro Division events in both the United States and Canada to enter the first event of the second half in Tulsa No. 3 in the world. He then swept both the main event and the 15/15 Bucking Battle, soaring to the top of the world rankings, and solidified that spot by winning the following weekend in Houston.

Lockwood won two additional 15/15 Bucking Battles in the remainder of the regular season and entered World Finals No. 2 in the world, 749.66 points behind the No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme. He went 5-for-6 at the World Finals, including four 90-point rides, to win both the World Finals event and World Championship. Lockwood became the fifth rider to win both the world championship and World Finals event title in the same season.

In the four years that have followed, while Lockwood has shown glimmers of his past championship form, including a world No. 5 finish in 2020, he has been plagued with injury, including to his hamstring, shoulder and pelvis.

Lockwood joins the Stampede as the team looks to defend its title as PBR Teams champions. In 2022, coached by two-time PBR World Champion Justin McBride, the Stampede proved how patience, timing and staying true to the game plan are key to winning a championship. While the Stampede finished the regular season 7-20-1 to enter the 2022 Teams Championship seeded last of the eight teams, they went 4-and-0 in Las Vegas, beating the top-three seeded teams to win the inaugural Teams Championship.

In addition to being crowned league Champions, McBride and the Stampede’s General Manager Battock were voted Coach and Executive of the Year by their PBR Teams peers.

Lockwood will compliment the Stampede’s protected roster, which already includes the likes of 2018 PBR World Champion Kaique Pacheco, three-time PBR World Champion Silvano Alves and annual contender Mason Taylor.