By: Justin Felisko
April 07, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – Mason Lowe didn’t appear ready to slow down after adding a second-place finish in last weekend’s 15/15 Bucking Battle in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to his Ty Murray Invitational title from just two weeks prior.
However, Lowe wasn’t expecting to get hit with strep throat this week either.
The No. 11 ranked bull rider in the world standings informed the PBR competition department Thursday morning that he would not be competing at this weekend’s Bad Boy Mowdown after being diagnosed with strep throat on Wednesday afternoon.
Ben Jones (left shoulder) also informed the competition department he will not be competing in Little Rock, Arkansas this weekend.
They have been replaced by No. 41 Douglas Duncan and No. 41 Josh Faircloth.
The illness is a slight hiccup in Lowe’s recent surge to the Top 15 of the world standings.
Lowe had earned 90 points toward the world standings following his 89.25-point ride on Little Red Jacket in the 15/15 Bucking Battle after earning 600 points at the Ty Murray Invitational.
The 22-year-old’s effort on Little Red Jacket was his third marquee ride of the season. He had previously ridden Brutus for 90 points during the Built Ford Tough Championship Round in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and SweetPro’s Bruiser for 91 points in Oklahoma City.
Lowe doesn’t believe his mindset changes when he takes on a championship-round bull.
“I am not sure,” Lowe said in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “It seems to be those are the bulls I ride the best. I don’t know why. It just feels good to get them down.”
Lowe had previously gone 0-for-4 in 15/15 Bucking Battles.
The next 15/15 Bucking Battle is scheduled two weeks from now in Billings, Montana, which will be aired on CBS national television on April 17 at 1 p.m. ET.
Lowe was able to get not only his first career ride in the 15/15 Bucking Battle, but also avenge two previous buckoffs against Little Red Jacket. Gene Owen’s bovine athlete actually bucked off Lowe in 4.51 seconds at the Nampa, Idaho, 2015 BFTS event when Lowe nearly won his first career event.
“I knew when I was setting my rope, I wanted to set it back a little bit farther because he does get peoples feet,” Lowe said. “When you set that rope back, it is a little bit easier to set your hips.”
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert believed Lowe could have easily been marked above 90 points.
“Mason made a really good ride,” Lambert said. “I thought he was two points lower than he should have been. I thought he should have been 91 on Little Red Jacket.”
Lowe’s 15/15 Bucking Battle performance was just the latest of a little hot streak he had been on before getting sick.
The Exeter, Missouri, bull rider had recently bought a new pickup truck after winning $20,000 playing Blackjack at a casino in Miami, Oklahoma, a week after winning $36,070 at the Ty Murray Invitational.
“Man, it was an all-night ordeal,” Lowe said, laughing about how he had never won that much money playing cards. “I sat from there about 11 p.m. until 8:30 in the morning. I guess it was why my week to win or something because I couldn’t lose that night either. I had nothing to do, so I decided to go out there and play cards. I got some buddies that are dealers and what not.”
Lowe is an avid card player and has grown to enjoy it as a side hobby since he began learning how to play when he was 18 years old.
“They have a book on what you hit on and what you have to stay on and I haven’t perfected that book, but it kind of sounds like it,” Lowe said.
While very different than bull riding, Lowe said he does like how each involve a sense of strategy.
“Oh yeah,” Lowe said. “You always have a strategy of what you are supposed to do. When you don’t have 21 and you want 21 and when you want to win you want to win. Really, you just use the same strategy every time and hope it works out.”
Lowe knows that his biggest payday could come later this season at the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals at the state-of-the-art T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Nov. 2-6. The PBR World Champion will win a $1 million bonus and the World Finals event winner can take home over $250,000.
Lowe is on pace to qualify for his second World Finals with his 12-for-34 (35.29 percent) start to the BFTS. He only needs four more qualified rides to set a new career-high following a 15-for-44 (34.09 percent) campaign in 2015.
“I am enjoying it,” Lowe said. “That is for sure. If I can win at anything. I always kind of had a winning mindset. I hate to lose. That is where I think I need to be anyways.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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