By: Justin Felisko
June 17, 2017
BISMARCK, N.D. – It won’t go down as the best of his career, nor will it do anything for his pursuit of the 2017 World Championship, but Jess Lockwood demonstrated on Saturday night that he refuses to throw in the towel on a bull ride.
Lockwood became the first rider since 2014 to reach the 8-second mark on Asteroid when he rode the 2012 World Champion Bull for 65 points during the championship round of the Dakota Community Bank PBR Bull Riding Challenge Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event at the Bismarck Event Center.
Asteroid had bucked off 21 riders in a row.
The No. 4 ranked bull rider in the world standings should have been bucked off around 4 seconds, but the 19-year-old refused to let go of his bull rope as hung off the side of the 10-year-old bull.
It was pretty ugly, but reaching 8 seconds is always better than simply giving up because you are out of position.
“Grit and determination, as long as you have that, then the rides are going to come,” Lockwood said. “I am glad I didn’t quit. I finished it. That is all I can do at that point, and I did.”
Friday was a much different story compared to a year ago when Asteroid smoked Lockwood in 1.78 seconds during a $10,000 bonus matchup right here in Bismarck.
This year, Lockwood was still frustrated with himself in the immediate moments after the ride.
He knew he had just gotten on a legendary PBR bucking bull and his 8-second ride was far from a work of art or beauty.
“He is a legend and I only rode him for 65 points,” Lockwood said while shaking his head on his way to the locker room.
Lockwood laughed off any comparison of his ride on Asteroid being similar to Justin McBride’s 75-point ride off the side of Camo at the 2005 World Finals to win the world title.
The stakes were higher for McBride and his bull was harder to ride, Lockwood said.
“His bull was actually spinning,” Lockwood said. “Mine was going straight. His was a little harder.”
Lockwood, though, was quick to tip his hat to Chad Berger’s bovine athlete, who continues to impress despite competing in his seventh PBR season.
“I have been on Beaver Creek Beau, and honestly Asteroid is stronger than Beaver Creek Beau,” Lockwood said. “He drops so hard. When he kicks, he drops. For a little bull, he is strong as hell. He pulled me down. Luckily, he didn’t pull me down on his head. It was just past it.
“My hand was still in there so I was trying my ass off. That is all I can do at that point.”
Lockwood is the first rider to cover Asteroid since three-time World Champion Silvano Alves clinched the 2014 World Championship with an 87.25-point ride on him at the World Finals.
“Hats off to riding him,” Berger said. “Asteroid had him right away and had him bucked off. Asteroid is a little thin. He has been out on about 30 heifers and I just thought he would be strong enough to buck, and he was strong enough. Jess just got a spur caught in the rope and happen to hang on. Hats off, he didn’t let go.”
Asteroid was marked 41 points by the judges. The score was Asteroid’s lowest since he was awarded a 40.25-point score at the 2016 Iron Cowboy when he bucked off Shane Proctor in 3.68 seconds.
The only other riders to reach 8 seconds on Asteroid in 86 outs at all levels of competition are J.B. Mauney (93.5 points), Fabiano Vieira (87 points) and Elton Cide (76 points).
Lockwood was bucked off by Bad Moon Rising (6.29 seconds) in Round 1 on Saturday night and finished in eighth place overall. He was also bucked off by Flint on Friday night’s competition in 3.58 seconds.
Brennon Eldred won the Velocity Tour event on Saturday night with a 91-point ride on Cooper Tires Brown Sugar.
It wasn’t the kind of weekend, or ride, Lockwood wanted, but it is still something later down the road he may be able to look back on with a smile.
“It is cool to say I rode him,” Lockwood concluded. “It wasn’t many points, but I tried my ass off. That is all that matters.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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