By: Justin Felisko
September 03, 2016
THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Justin McBride arrived at Cody Lambert’s Bowie, Texas, ranch shortly before 7 a.m. early on a recent late-summer morning.
The two-time World Champion headed into Lambert’s bunk house to make himself a cup of coffee while the PBR’s Director of Livestock was out working in the arena when he heard SpongeBob SquarePants blaring in the living room and a kid laughing.
Confused, McBride peeked around the corner to see who was laughing like a little kid inside the living room.
It was none other than 18-year-old Jess Lockwood.
Lockwood was balancing himself atop a rubber medicine ball and doing a series of workouts while watching his favorite television show.
“You want to talk about a little work ethic,” McBride said. “That little (one) works at it.”
And, no, this wasn’t a one-time deal.
Sunrise at Lambert’s ranch may be accompanied by a Lockwood laugh and an episode of SpongeBoB Squarepants on a frequent basis, but it is not about what is on the television.
Rather it is much more about the kid who’s own story is unfolding every weekend on nationally televised CBS television broadcasts.
“Every day,” McBride said. “It is not sometimes. He is working out three times a day. He doesn’t mess around. And it isn’t geared to having big muscles to show off. It is geared to riding.”
Lockwood, a little bit embarrassed, shakes his head and laughs when asked about his SpongeBob morning workout sessions.
Lockwood wasn’t even 2 years old when the cartoon television show first aired in 1999.
“I love SpongeBob!” Lockwood exclaims. “I will Snapchat my cousins and we will laugh about it and talk. It is nice to just be a kid and stuff.”
The Volborg, Montana, bull rider then gets serious and says his home workout routine is only the tip of the iceberg.
“Yeah. I was doing that, but I really turned it on these last (six) weeks,” Lockwood said. “I am getting in the best shape I ever have been. I am doing P90X every morning and I am doing hot yoga every single night now. I used to just do hot yoga one or two nights a week.”
Lockwood heads into this weekend’s WinStar World Casino and Resort Invitational 11th in the world standings, as well as second in the Rookie of the Year Race. He trails top rookie Wallace de Oliveira by 86.67 points.
Lockwood isn’t just working out two to three times a day, but he is spending two-and-half hours per day driving from Lambert’s ranch to Sumits Hot Yoga in Fort Worth, Texas. Depending on whether the next Built Ford Tough Series event is a two-or-three day event, Lockwood is using at least 10 hours of his week just driving to and from his hot yoga sessions.
Lockwood’s unyielding desire and commitment to the craft of professional bull riding has Lambert excited about Lockwood’s future and impressed with his current success.
Lambert even went as far to say Lockwood’s strength may be right up there with 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi.
“He is so dedicated,” Lambert said. “He is so dedicated to being physically ready and he works on his balance. He has a method to his workout. He is not a dumbass about his workout. It is based on balance. He is very, very strong. Pound for pound, he stays as strong as any of the bull riders. I would say he is as strong pound-for-pound as Guilherme Marchi.
“But his riding is not based on strength. His riding is based on a combination of strength, balance and timing. He works on that every day.”
Lockwood’s balance is one of his biggest strengths when it comes to the first-year rider’s early success.
He is 12-for-25 (48 percent) with one event victory, three 90-point rides and six BFTS round wins.
Lockwood has returned from a summer break that featured a heartbreaking defeat the National High School Finals Rodeo and a leg & hand injury to go 5-for-9 to open the second half of the BFTS season.
“When you are on the back of that bull, strength and talent is not going to cut it at all,” Lockwood said. “Your balance, you have to work for that middle. That is all it is. Balance really.”
Lockwood faces Play Girl (0-0, BFTS) and Brown Sugar (0-0, BFTS) this weekend. Lockwood has posted two or more qualified rides in three consecutive events.
He also has a 15/15 Bucking Battle matchup against Margy Time (18-0, BFTS) on Saturday night. Fans can watch the 15/15 Bucking Battle Sunday on CBS national television at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
McBride, pointing out two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney’s success, said balance truly is one of the most necessary traits needed to reach the pinnacle of bull riding.
“That is a great attribute to have to be able to ride rank bulls,” McBride said. “To have longevity doing it, you have to have great balance. You have to. You have to be strong enough, but you don’t have to be a body builder. You have to be flexible and have great balance. Once you understand how it works, there is no secret and no magic to it.”
It may not be magic, but Lockwood does want to enhance his balance and his overall ability.
It is why he is driving out of his way to go to a yoga studio that helps him work specifically on that attribute.
“Oh, it is helping a lot,” Lockwood said. “I think Yoga is helping me the most. You are doing all sorts of balancing poses the whole time pretty much.”
Though there is a much greater reasoning behind his recent diet and enhanced workout regimen.
“I don’t like being 15th in the world,” Lockwood said before Nashville. “Lambert and McBride give me shit enough for being 15th in the world.
“I want to be Top 5 at the least.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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