ESTES PARK, Colo. – Bull rider Quentin Vaught has learned over the years to never doubt his buddy and mentor Mason Lowe.
The 19-year-old Vaught had gone to plenty of junior, amateur and now professional bull ridings in and around Missouri and watched Lowe come through with a qualified ride whenever many others expected this year’s Rookie of the Year contender to buck off.
Regardless, Vaught thought Lowe was crazy when he cast his fishing line with a red and yellow, sour gummy worm tied onto his hook into an Aurora, Missouri, pond two months ago.
Lowe had struggled all day to get any bites, and eventually disappeared to a nearby store and returned with a pack of sour gummy worms.
The 21-year-old then tied his sugar-coated worm onto to his hook and casted out into the pond.
A few minutes later, Lowe was laughing his tail off with a two-pound, largemouth bass hanging from his fishing pole in front of Vaught, Luke Bradley, Ryan Hillis and Lowe’s girlfriend, Abbey Cooper.
“They were like, ‘Oh, whatever, you are not going to catch anything with a little red and yellow gummy worm,” Lowe recalled on Monday night at the Bulls in the Rockies. “That was the only fish I caught all day.”
Vaught added with a laugh, “He is the only person I have ever seen catch a largemouth bass on a red and yellow sour gummy worm. That ain’t no joke.”
Lowe may have improvised with his fishing technique a few months ago, but one thing the Exeter, Missouri, bull rider has stuck with since making his Built Ford Tough Series season-debut in Seattle in March has been his determination to fight his way to the front of rank bulls in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
The 21st ranked bull rider in the world standings finally came through with a qualified ride on a Built Ford Tough Championship Round-caliber bull this year when he rode Cooper Tires Brown Sugar for 89.5 points this past weekend to win the Binford, North Dakota, Touring Pro Division event.
“He came out and faked left,” Lowe said. “I don’t know if he was lost or something, but he went a few more jumps than what he usually does. When he went right, he tried to bow me down a little bit and I spurred him a little bit. That sat me down and the buzzer rang.”
Lowe has failed to record a ride in a Built Ford Tough Series Championship round this season (0-for-4) and he is 0-for-5 in his career in the rankest PBR round. He had also bucked off championship-round bulls Redbone and Beaver Creek Beau at the Dakota Community Bank & Trust BlueDEF Velocity Tour event in Bismarck, North Dakota, two weeks ago.
It is why he views his ride on Brown Sugar as a major confidence booster heading into the stretch run of the Built Ford Tough Series as he looks to qualify for the Built Ford Tough World Finals for the first time in his career.
“It has been kind of frustrating because I know I can ride those bulls,” Lowe said. “I finally got one and I think I will carry on from there.”
Lowe had an opportunity to win his first BFTS event in Nampa, Idaho, before being bucked off by Little Red Jacket in 4.51 seconds in the championship round.
He then went 2-for-8 in his next two BFTS events, and Lowe quickly learned you can’t let past mistakes eat at you on the BFTS level.
“When I didn’t win Nampa, I got real frustrated there,” Lowe said. “When you get frustrated, stuff doesn’t really work right. You just have to have fun. It will come to you.”
Lowe’s ride on Brown Sugar was also his first in the championship round of any bull riding event since he rode 3-of-4 bulls in the championship round of the Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Touring Pro Division event in March where he placed first, second and third.
Vaught said Lowe was clearly pumped up when he re-told the story this week to him, Jimmy Tubbs and Luke Bradley on their drive to Estes Park.
“I saw the video and it was awesome,” Vaught said. “You could tell he was pumped up about it. You could just tell by the way he was telling the story. He felt good that he got that sucker rode.”
Lowe was bucked off by Gangster Roll on Monday night at the Bulls in the Rockies TPD event.
Lowe is currently third in the Rookie of the Year race with 812.5 points. He trails Kaique Pacheco by 1,275 points. He has ridden 6-for-19 on the BFTS and has posted a career-high three Top-10 finishes.
When the BFTS kicks back up in Biloxi, Mississippi, on Aug. 7, Lowe will hope to lock down his first BFTS championship round ride.
Until then, Lowe plans on going to as many BlueDEF Velocity Tour and Touring Pro Division events in July to add to his already growing confidence.
“There is no reason to take a break when you are riding good,” Lowe said. “My confidence is real high right now. It is about as high as I can get it because I have been riding so good.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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