By Robert Shaw
Photos by Keith Brake
Friday night The Professional Bull Riders opened the Mason Lowe Memorial at the Enterprise Center. Opening night crowd may have been thinned in numbers by the raging winter storm, but their enthusiasm and excitement for the action taking place in the Enterprise Center was undiminished.
The opening ceremony was special even by the grand standards of the PBR. The prayer and the opening video of Missouri’s own brave bull rider Mason Lowe who lost his life in an incident while competing in an event in Denver on January 15, 2019. Lowe, 25, of Exeter, Missouri, was ranked 18th in the world and according to the PBR website had earned about $9,900 on the tour this season.
Add to this the Border Patrol’s unit of Special Operators dropping into the event by fast-roping from the rafters, the immaculate color guard and a rousing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner and the mood was set for this raucous event.
The first three riders of the night failed to make 8 seconds. The fourth rider, Eduardo Aparecido made the first qualifying ride on the back of the bull Switch Hitter. The performance earned Edaurdo a score of 82.75 and lit-up the Enterprise crowd. The next rider Kaique Pacheco a crowd favorite (who won last year’s event going 4 for 4 and went on to be runner-up for the season) opened with an 8 second ride that scored 85.5, taking over the lead. This brought the crowd still buzzing from Aparecido’s successful ride up another level of excitement. Pacheco was riding Roll of the Dice.
Three more riders gave it their all before what was to be our next qualifier, Keyshawn Whitehorse who was opening Section 2 of the event. Keyshawn Challenged his ride as the bull had trouble exiting the Shute lowering his score to 73.25. Whitehorse was granted a re-ride only to be thrown at 3.60 seconds.
Ezekiel Mitchell followed Whitehorse with a successful ride on Getting Hammerd. Mitchel scored a respectable 85.0 for his effort. Shortly following Mitchell’s ride Emilio Resende was atop a Massive bull named Cartman when the big bull flipped tail over head on top of Resende. The crowd let out an audible gasp as the big bull struggled to rise, grinding his rider into the dirt. As both bull and rider struggled to their feet it appeared both were going to leave the ring of their own accord.
Cody Nance followed aboard Big Show. Cody was treated to a very rough ride. Nance stuck to Big Show like glue and made 8. Cody Nance earn a 77.5 for his valiant effort.
Not to be outshined the next rider up set the number to beat, 86.25 was granted to Cooper Davis for his pretty ride on Mac’s Barbeque. Davis’ ride ended the second section. The second rider up in section 3 (Junio Quaresima) riding Sitting Bull, matched the night’s best ride scoring 86.25 to tie Cooper Davis for the lead. Junio was the only rider in section 3 to hit the magic 8 second mark.
Next up were the big boys of the 2019 season in sections 5 &6 Section 5 opened with rookie of the year contender Allison De Souza on Moto Moto. The young rider proved to be no match for Moto Moto as he was dumped into the dirt at 3.78 seconds. Next up the 13th ranked rider of the season Lucas Divino made 8 and scored 81.75. Rubens Barbosa and Silvano Alves (ranked 9 & 10) respectively failed to make the grade.
Claudio Montanha the 8th ranked rider had a nice ride on Runnin’ Rough Through the Jungle scoring 84.25. The last of the ranked riders to make the cut on Friday night 3rd ranked Jose Vitor Lerne riding Lonesome scored 81.0 earning last year’s rookie of the year a spot in Saturday’s Championship round.
Saturday Night’s Action
Saturday night’s lack of a winter storm and the excitement of the Championship round filled the stands with PBR fans. 13th ranked Allison De Souza was the first to break 8 on Saturday with an 82.5 on the back of Willow’s Warrior qualifying him for the Championship round. The next rider Jose Vitor Leme added to his Friday night total with a 74.75 ride to take the overall lead. Sean Willingham followed with a qualifying ride on American Gangster, scoring 85.5. Claudio Montanha was up next and hung on to a sloppy bull to score a lowly 68.5, Claudio was granted a re-ride. Unfortunately, the already qualified rider did not make 8 on his re-ride.
Section 2 was up. Keyshawn Whitehorse’s last chance to make the finals had to weigh on him. Keyshawn’s fan base was strong in the Enterprise Center and he did not fail them as he rode Bottom’s Up for 8 seconds and in to the Championship round scoring 85.75. Keyshawn was the only rider from section2 to ride for the full 8 seconds.
Section three started with Cooper Davis who came into Saturday night tied with Jumio Quaresima for the lead at 86.25. Cooper followed his Friday night ride with a solid 87.25 on Rockafeller. Alex Marcillo (Black Rose, 87.25), 17th ranked Cannon Cravens (Get Shorty, 87.0), and Colton Jesse (an Oklahoma rider and friend of Mason Lowe, Show Train, 86.0) were the last of the qualifiers in section 3.
Section 4 the final section before the Championship round had one qualifier, Chase Outlaw. Chase had a whale of a ride I thought might break 90 points, While Outlaw’s score of 88.75 didn’t quite make that mark it was a beautiful ride to watch as cowboy and bull danced the dangerous dance that is professional bull riding.
The Championship round gave the Enterprise Center crowd three memorable rides. Jose Vitor Leme had a rank bull jumping twisting and nearly unseating him. However, Jose cowboyed up and hung on to what appeared at first to be a good ride. In the end, the Judge’s replay showed the cowboy committing an illegal touch at the 4.9 second mark disqualifying this epic ride.
Chase Outlaw had the outstanding ride of the 2-night event. Chase scored 91.5, on Big Black (the only rider of the event to break 90). It was enough to win the Championship Buckle. Chase was joined atop the Shark Tank for the emotion filled Championship Buckle presentation, he was joined by Abbey Linn Lowe, wife of Mason Lowe. Chase left us all with lumps in our collective hearts when he dedicated the Buckle to Mason. Chase an Arkansas native and personal friend of Mason Lowe finished with two strong rides to decide the event as it should have been decided, won by a true friend of Mason. Abbey Linn shared a memory of the two cowboys always being in trouble together. Somewhere I am certain, Mason Lowe had to be smiling as his buddy took home the first buckle to bare his name.
Folks if I were writing this as a screen play, I would not have written it any differently. Godspeed Mason Lowe your cowboy brothers did you well!