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PBR mourns loss of rider

By Brett Hoffman | Published Wednesday, January 23, 2019
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The western riding sports world occasionally receives a stark reminder of how dangerous bull riding can be.

I witnessed the 1989 bull riding accident that caused the death of 1987 world champion Lane Frost at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming. Frost, 25, who lived in Quanah at the time, was hit in the back by the horn of a bull that he had just ridden for prize money.

Frost died from internal injuries. He was not wearing a protective vest. Shortly after Frost’s death, bull riders got very much into wearing protective vests. As a result, many lives have been saved.

Bulls can weigh between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds and they can hit a rider so hard that even a vest is not enough to prevent a serious internal injury or death. That was the case last week at during a Professional Bull Riders show in Denver. Former PBR World Finals qualifier Mason Lowe, 25, of Exeter, Mo., was killed by a bull that he had attempted to ride Jan. 15.

Lowe was bucked off of his bull, which suddenly stepped on his chest. He was transported to Denver Health Medical Centre where he died.

According to reports, Lowe was wearing a protective vest, which could not absorb the blow. Lowe suffered a “massive chest injury that caused damage to his heart,” PBR officials said.

“Mason was pulled under the bull during the buck off and the bull’s hind left leg struck him in the chest,” PBR chief executive officer Sean Gleason told FOX31 Denver. “The material inside is designed to disperse the weight. In this particular case, Mason took a shot that no vest probably would have helped.”

At the time of his death, Lowe was ranked 18th in the PBR’s world standings.

Lowe was bucked off of a bull named Hard Times, which will remain on the PBR circuit.

“The bull absolutely, unintentionally injured and killed Mason,” Gleason told the Denver Post. “In this particular case, he had no idea that Mason had been sucked underneath him. The bull did not do this with any mal-intent.”

NANCE WINS TITLE

Cody Nance of Paris, Tenn., won the PBR Denver Chute Out Velocity Tour event title during the National Western Stock Show Jan. 16, after finishing as the only rider who stayed on all three bulls. He earned $26,307.

Nance immediately dedicated the victory to fallen bull rider Mason Lowe.

Prior to the Wednesday night performance, Nance led the group of 30 bull riders competing, in a very heartfelt and moving prayer. Patches that said “Mason Lowe, PBR Cowboy 1993-2019” were distributed to each cowboy to wear on their vest, hats or shirts. A video tribute dedicated to Lowe, one of the most popular and successful riders in the PBR, was shown on the big screen before the introductions of the riders.

When the title was at stake in the final round, Nance was the only rider to make a qualified ride when he conquered Lorena’s Pet for 86 points.

Meanwhile, the PBR’s Unleash the Beast, the association’s top tier tour, stopped in Glendale, Ariz., last weekend. Veteran Joao Ricardo Vieira, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, clinched the title Sunday and earned $34,185.

Vieira is ranked sixth in the world with 460 points. Jess Lockwood, the 2017 world champion, is ranked No. 1 with 1,767.5.

This weekend, the UTB tour will stop in Sacramento, Calif. It will be in Oklahoma City at the Chesapeake Energy Arena Feb. 1-2. The PBR also will conduct a major show at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Feb. 9-10. The show is an international team competition called the Global Cup.

A CASH COW

A group of credentialed cowboys and cowgirls rode for big bucks at a Jan. 11 rodeo called the Windy City Roundup in Rosemont, Ill., in the Chicago area.

One of them was 23-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur who earned $25,000 as the result of finishing second in a very close tie-down roping title race. Shane Hanchey, the 2013 PRCA world champion, clinched the title with a blistering time of 7.46 seconds and pocketed $50,000. Brazile came in second with a 7.54.

Brazile said he would have liked to have won the title, but he added that he was impressed with the large amount of prize money that was paid to competitors.

“I wish I would have been a few hundredths of a second faster,” Brazile said. “But then again, most of the time when I’ve wished I would have been a few hundredths of a second faster, I didn’t get to go home with $25,000 either.”

Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has reported on rodeos and horse shows for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for more than three decades.

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