Behind the Chutes: Injured Riders are Ready to Make their Return

By: Justin Felisko
March 16, 2016

Mason Lowe returns to competition at this weekend's Ty Murray Invitational. Photo: Andy Watson/

Mason Lowe returns to competition at this weekend’s Ty Murray Invitational. Photo: Andy Watson/

PUEBLO, Colo. – He may have missed the Duluth Invitational because of a right riding wrist injury, but 22-year-old Mason Lowe has no plans of skipping the 20th anniversary of the Ty Murray Invitational.

Ty Murray Invitational Draw (3-16-16)

“Oh, I have always heard it is the loudest places to go to and The Ty Murray Invitational is one of the bigger events there is,” Lowe said in an upcoming episode of the Clint Adkins Show, which airs Thursday on PBR LIVE at 8 p.m. ET. “I took a weekend off last week because of my wrist and I was feeling a little sore, but I am pretty excited and ready to go this week.”

Lowe has never competed at WisePies Arena, aka The Pit, before.

Lowe said he sustained the injury during THE SEMIFINALS for RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN when he went 2-for-2. However, the 19th ranked bull rider in the world standings is 1-for-6 on the BFTS since the semifinals.

“It feels good right now,” Lowe said. “It is just when I get off it hurts. I went and got some X-rays done last week and have to take them to (Dr.) Tandy (Freeman) and see what he says and go from there.”

Lowe has drawn Chiefin for Round 1.

He is not the only rider returning from injury in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this weekend. Also returning is Robson Aragao, Brady Sims andAlexandre Cardozo.

Aragao (broken jaw) has two injury exemptions remaining, including this weekend, and is 50th in the world standings. The 36-year-old went 3-for-3 at the Bangor, Maine, BlueDEF Tour event last weekend a week after going 0-for-1 in Hampton, Virginia, BlueDEF event.

He has two events to try and make up the 75 points he trails No. 34 Lindomar Lino by.

Aragao will face Finding Jesus (1-0, BFTS) in Round 1. Finding Jesus bucked off Kasey Hayes in 6.87 seconds in Kansas City, Missouri, last weekend.

No. 35 Kurt Shephard did not qualify for the Ty Murray Invitational because of the three riders, as well as Matt Triplett, competing because of exemptions.

Sims heads into Albuquerque 88th in the world standings with 32.5 points. He hasn’t competed since Jan. 31 in Anaheim, California, because of a groin injury and is using his final BFTS exemption.

“Feels like I am fixin’ to win,” Sims said Wednesday.

The Holt, Missouri, bull rider is slated to take on Lil’ Z (3-4, BFTS).

Meanwhile, Cardozo is making his BFTS debut with the first of five BFTS exemptions courtesy of his 34th-place finish in the 2015 world standings. Cardozo sustained a broken neck (C6-7) and back (T5) during Round 3 of the Built Ford Tough World Finals.

Cardozo returned to competition on Feb. 13 at the Laurel, Mississippi, Touring Pro Division event. The 26-year-old has gone 0-for-6 in four non-BFTS events in 2016.

“I feel good,” Cardozo said. “I don’t feel any pain anymore.”

Cardozo faces Born In The USA (4-1, BFTS) in Round 1.

Aragao, Sims and Cardozo have replaced No. 23 Cody Heffernan (visa issues), No. 28 Cody Nance (torn right MCL) and No. 29 J.W. Harris (elbow surgery) in the draw.

Triplett is coming off a fresh seventh-place finish in Duluth and earned 80 world points to rocket up to 55th in the world standings. He has drawn Page Break (7-0, BFTS).

He is tied with Reese Cates, who responded with a vengeance after being cut from the BFTS by going 3-for-3 to win the BlueDEF Tour event in Hampton, Virginia. The win gives Cates an automatic spot in the draw for Albuquerque. Cates will take on Boomer Town (2-0, BFTS).

Triplett and Cates trail Shephard by 90 points.

Spud Jones has been invited to the Ty Murray Invitational as a Native American invite. This will be his fourth appearance at the BFTS event in Albuquerque and his first since 2011. Jones finished 10th in 2009.

Jones faces Dirty Bourbon (0-0, BFTS) in Round 1.

World leader Paulo Lima will take on Mister Mean in Round 1, while defending World Champion J.B. Mauney has a matchup with Oklahoma Bandit (0-0, BFTS).

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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