NAMPA, Idaho – Mason Lowe stormed through the out gate of the arena and hurried past the Bad Boy Mower’s Lead Dog chair before slamming his bull rope onto the concrete floor of the Ford Idaho Center and crouching with his head hung low.
The 21-year-old bull rider slowly let his fuming anger exit his body following his 4.51-second buckoff against Little Red Jacket in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round.
He was less than 4 seconds away from his first Built Ford Tough Series win.
“You just want to win,” Lowe said 10 minutes later. “I always grew up wanting to be a cowboy. I don’t come to win second.”
The relatively unknown Lowe with 12 BFTS career outs and two rides on his resume before this weekend had gone into the Built Ford Tough Championship Round leading the event average of the DeWALT Guaranteed Tough Invitational following an 87.5-point ride on Big Sky in the second round.
Lowe, who began the weekend as the No. 38th bull rider in the world, moved all the way up to 22nd in the world standings after his 375-point, second-place finish to Guilherme Marchi in Nampa.
He has jumped 71 positions in the world standings since beginning his climb with a BlueDEF Velocity Tour victory in Jacksonville, Florida, on March 7. Lowe began that week in an 11-way tie for 93rd in the world standings when the Fresno, California, BFTS draw was set.
“This is the best I have rode since I started riding bulls,” he said. “I am just getting on more bulls and staying consistent. The more bulls I get on, the more it becomes a reaction.”
The Exeter, Missouri, bull rider’s career all began when he was 3 years old on his family’s farm.
“We used to have a bunch of milk calves and my dad (Stacey) put me on them when I was 3,” Lowe said. “Then I started going to junior rodeos and stuff when I was a little older.”
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.
Therefore, Mason has still been trying to fine-tune his riding since turning pro at 18 years old. Mason had developed some bad habits in his early years and it had led to some right elbow issues on his riding arm.
“I used to ride really on the end of my arm and lean back,” he explained. “I need to be riding toward the front.”
Nampa was Lowe’s sixth career BFTS event and third this season. He had gone a combined 0-for-4 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Seattle.
He had ridden Bootdaddy.com for 86 points in the first round Saturday night, and his 87.5-point ride on Big Sky led to his first BFTS round victory.
Lowe now has a guaranteed spot in the draw for next weekend’s Stanley Performance in Action Invitational in Billings, Montana.
“I was a little upset after I got off, but in the end you just blow it off and go into next week,” Lowe said. “I was kind of waiting on a call every week and now I have a spot on tour. Hopefully, it will all work out and I will stay on there.”
Nine-time World Champion and CBS Sports Network color commentator Ty Murray said that while it is too early to get a true read on the young bull rider, the main thing Lowe needs to walk away with is the belief that he did get some smaller victories under his belt in Nampa.
“It is pretty cool that a young guy like that is able to go into the championship round leading it. Hey, that is a victory when you are a young guy – that is your first time in that position. You build on victories. He now has a pretty cool opportunity this weekend to grow from that and hopefully he does.”
Lowe recently made a name for himself on March 20 when he won first, second and third-place at the Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Touring Pro Division event by going 6-for-8.
He clinched the victory with an 88-point ride on Bawl Baby and averaged 85.33 points per ride.
Most importantly, Lowe earned 107.5 points toward the world standings and he went from 61st in the world standings to 37th.
“Everybody didn’t show up, so I entered four times and rode six out of eight bulls and that put me (as an alternate for the BFTS), Lowe said. “I was able to pick up a lot of points.”
Lowe is looking forward to the opportunity of competing on the BFTS full time.
The 5-foot-11-inch bull rider always looked up to two-time World Champion Chris Shivers despite their height differences and would love to one day have his name in the record books alongside Shivers.
However, Lowe knows he has much to accomplish before being held in the same breath as a PBR legend.
“I am hoping to fall into where he was, but I have a lot of making up to do,” Lowe said. “First, I need to knock out a win, and then I want a gold buckle. That is what I want.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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