By: Justin Felisko
March 22, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Mason Lowe may have torn cartilage in his right riding hand, but that wasn’t going to get in the way of the 22-year-old from lifting up his first career Built Ford Tough Series event winning belt buckle Sunday afternoon at the Ty Murray Invitational.
Of course, that was the easiest task for the Exeter, Missouri, bull rider following a full-extension 90-point ride on Brutus during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round of the Ty Murray Invitational.
Lowe has developed a habit of immediately grabbing his wrist following every ride attempt since first hurting his wrist at RFD-TV’s THE AMERICAN Semi-Finals last month, but he was in full adrenaline mode once the 8-second buzzer went off inside WisePies Arena, aka The Pit.
He didn’t even need to hear his ride score before he used his opposite hand to fire his cowboy hat across the arena in celebration.
“If you don’t show a little bit of emotion, I mean you are not fully committed,” Lowe said. “You see me get mad and stuff, but on the next ride it is gone. It still hasn’t sunk in with this one. If you don’t get a little bit mad you are not doing it for the right thing.
“I know how good I am and how good I can be. When I get bucked off it kind of just fires me up.”
The anger Lowe was the disappointment he had shown in three previous heartbreaking runner-up finishes in his previous 28 BFTS events.
In fact, Lowe’s ride on Brutus was the second 90-point ride of his career and it came four days shy of the two-month anniversary of his highlight reel 91-point ride on SweetPro’s Bruiser in Oklahoma City.
Lowe had previously finished second at the Nampa, Idaho, last year and a few months later in Springfield, Missouri.
In each of those two events, Lowe was bucked off in the championship round and was an emotional cannonball.
Still, there was a different sense of disappointment for Lowe after he fell short of the victory in Oklahoma City despite going 4-for-4.
Some believed his ride aboard Bruiser could have been worth more points, which may have then been enough to have him overcome Fabiano Vieira for the victory.
Even after winning the Ty Murray Invitational, Lowe’s ride aboard Bruiser means the most to him.
“My ride on Bruiser is still my favorite,” he said. “That is the first 90-point ride I ever had in the PBR and this is my second.”
Lowe admittedly was still numb of the reality of his first event victory.
“Finally man. I am excited,” Lowe said. “I finally got the win.”
Both rides brought with them a massive eruption from the crowd and gave a glimpse of Lowe’s home run potential.
“It might as well be a Major because these fans are crazy,” Lowe said about Albuquerque. “You couldn’t even hear the buzzer when you got off. I hadn’t known if I made it or not, so it is awesome. I will be ready for next year coming back.”
Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray added, “He is relatively about as rookie as you can get. So that has got to feel really cool to him. He went at it like he had nothing to lose and I think that is kind of how you have to go at it. Whether you are talking about football or anything. I think an athlete is at his best some times when he lets go of all of that and goes for it.”
Lowe is only the third rider to have successfully ridden Bruiser and Brutus.
“That is going to make people step up and take notice,” Murray added. “Really before this, yeah Mason Lowe, he is a young guy, but we don’t know if he is going to be that good or not.
“You come here and win this event, I am not saying that makes a career, but now everyone is going to say he did make a great ride on Bruiser and Brutus and he has made great rides on both those big strong rank championship-round type bulls. Being able to notch this one in his belt, that is good on your resume.”
Lowe finished the weekend 3-for-4 and earned a total of 600 world points to move from 19th to 10th in the world standings.
Lowe selected Brutus with the fifth pick of the championship-round draft after bucking off Mister Mean in 3.74 seconds in the third round.
He had entered Sunday a perfect 2-for-2 following rides on Chiefin (79.25 points) and Movin On Up (86.75 points) in the opening two rounds.
Lowe was returning to the BFTS after skipping the Duluth Invitational to let his wrist, which will likely need be surgically repaired following the 2016 World Finals, heal some.
He had been mired in a 3-for-17 slump after finishing second in Oklahoma City.
“Man, every bull is different. Every ride is different,” Lowe said. “You take it with a grain of salt when you get bucked off and the next one you just try and stay on.”
Once he heard the score of his ride on Brutus announced over the in-arena loud speakers in Albuquerque, he eventually grasped at his wrist.
“Right now, it only hurts when I get off,” Lowe said. “My wrist hurts so bad I don’t even think about it. It is kind of a mental game really. You try to block it out really.”
Lowe finished 19th in the world standings last season and qualified for his first career Built Ford Tough World Finals and has a come a long way since he first started getting on milk calves when he was 3 years old on the family’s farm.
Mason, who is also the nephew of former PRCA bull rider Aaron Lowe, did not compete at any high school rodeos as a teenager. Instead, he competed in amateur bull ridings throughout the Midwest when he was 15 years old – just two years after getting on his first bovine.
He has since developed a similar flare to that of two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney.
Lowe is quick to point out that everyone has their own style, but he said it can’t hurt being compared to the current No. 1 bull rider in the world standings.
“Everybody has got their own, but I have heard a lot of people tell me that too,” Lowe said. “If I can say I ride like J.B. Mauney, or similar to that, that would be a big accomplishment right there.”
Lowe now hopes to build off his first career win and do something else Mauney is known for.
“Long John,” Lowe replied when asked which bull may be next on his bucket list. “That would be the next short rounder I could pick if I could get to.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko