By: Justin Felisko
March 01, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – Mason Lowe may have come up just short of an event victory in St. Louis, but Lowe’s 3-for-4 showing last weekend has the 23-year-old up to sixth in the world standings.
Lowe ready to build off St. Louis; Jacksonville draw notes (3-1-17)
Lowe is third in the PBR with 13 qualified rides on the Built Ford Tough Series and he is well on his way to breaking his career-high ride mark of 22 that he set last season.
He has ridden two or more bulls in three consecutive events and has a 46.43 percent riding average.
“I quit being a sissy, I guess,” Lowe joked about his career-best start. “I just have been healthy really. I ain’t hurting no more. That was a mindset deal for me last year. I was expecting to be hurting when I was getting on. Once I realized I am not hurting anymore, I just really stepped up.”
Lowe dealt with an on-going wrist/hand injury for the majority of last year’s first half.
The Exeter, Missouri, has been healthy in 2017 and will face a familiar foe this weekend during the Jacksonville Invitational when he takes on Whiskey (3-0, BFTS). The bovine athlete bucked off Lowe in 2.61 seconds at the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden in January.
It is one of four matchups taking place this weekend inside Veterans Memorial Arena.
Two of the rematches will involve last week’s event winner Kaique Pacheco.
The No. 3 rider in the world standings has drawn Trick Shot (2-1, BFTS) for Round 1 and Cowboy Phil (12-5, BFTS) for Round 2. Trick Shot bucked off Pacheco in 7.23 seconds in New York during the season-opener, while Pacheco covered Cowboy Phil for 88 points at the 2015 Built Ford Tough World Finals.
The only man to have finished better in the PBR than Pacheco last season was 2016 World Champion Cooper Davis.
Davis is set to return to competition this weekend after tending to a family matter last weekend.
The 22-year-old has drawn Mighty Man (0-0, BFTS) for Round 1.
Gage Gay (clavicle injury) Joao Ricardo Vieira (shoulder separation) and Tanner Byrne (groin/hamstring) are joining Jess Lockwood (torn groin), Nevada Newman (shoulder surgery), Lachlan Richardson (bicep surgery) and Aaron Roy (leg) on the riders out of commission because of injuries list.
Gay said he had yet to send X-rays to Dr. Tandy Freeman to determine if he has a broken clavicle, while Vieira and Byrne said they were taking a precautionary week off and didn’t expect to be out long term.
Meanwhile, Dakota Buttar (concussion) and Paulo Lima (fractured ribs) are both returning to competition.
Buttar has drawn GAH’s Lil Man (3-2, BFTS) for Round 1 and Lima takes on Sunburn (0-0, BFTS).
Lima has two exemptions remaining and is one of four riders competing with exemptions.
Wallace de Oliveira (four), Fraser Babbington (one) and Robson Palermo (three) need to crack the Top 35 soon or else they will be relegated to the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour.
No. 34 Troy Wilkinson is making his season debut after going 4-for-14 in PBR Australia and earning 136.25 points toward the world standings. The 26-year-old has never earned a qualified ride on the BFTS and is 0-for-15 in his career.
Wilkinson takes on Backfire (11-1, BFTS).
The Top 35 may be set for this weekend’s draw, but some shifting is certainly on the verge of happening if riders ranked 30-35th don’t earn some points this weekend.
No. 35 Sonny Schafferius (132.5 world points) only leads No. 36 Robson Aragao and Cody Ford by 12.5 points.
In fact, any of the riders ranked between No. 36 to No. 65 could mathematically bump Schafferius out of the BFTS if he doesn’t’ earn any points in Jacksonville.
Schafferius will look to earn his first BFTS qualified ride when he takes on Whiskey Trip (2-0, BFTS).
World leader Eduardo Aparecido takes a 337.5-point lead atop the world standings into Jacksonville.
Aparecido faces Power Trip (2-0, BFTS).
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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