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Images from the Glendale Unleash The Beast PBR

Lockwood Trades One Event For Rest of Season

Mar 192021

Two-time World Champion Jess Lockwood felt better than he has since winning the 2019 world title.

He said it was the first time in more than a year that he felt like his old self.

 “I was aggressive again,” he added.

There is only one rather pressing issue, when the 8-second whistle sounded in the opening round of last weekend’s elite televised event, in Glendale, Arizona, the Monster Energy bull rider had no idea how in the hell he was going to get off the back of Rising Sun. The left-handed rider from Volborg, Montana, had just ridden him for 88.25 points, but his right free hand was in a cast after being stepped on the night before.

“That's a terrible feeling,” admitted Lockwood, who had no way of freeing himself from the bull rope. “You gotta get it sticky enough to know you're giving yourself a good chance to stay on, but if you can't pull your rope, I mean, you pretty much got to let Jesus take the wheel and just let them jerk the living crap out of you and hope your hand comes out."

Then just as important, perhaps more so, Lockwood had to hope he did not wind up underneath the bull once he came off.

Prior to Round 2, Dr. Tandy Freeman and his PBR sports medicine staff created a splint for Lockwood’s index finger and wrapped his hand in a cast-like material. When Lockwood told Freeman, he wanted to compete, the longtime orthopedic surgeon asked how he planned on getting off. Lockwood shrugged and Freeman looked at him as if to say, “You're an idiot buddy. You don't know how screwed you're going to be when that whistle blows.”


“It isn't too smart, but we're not too smart in general,” Lockwood joked.


Jokes aside, he added, “I can't even open a door or anything with (my right hand). I'd hate to go into the weekend, make a good ride and just let (the bull) have me and end up … getting the shit stomped out of me or really hurt myself even more when maybe just taking a weekend off to let that my hand get better—trade one event for the rest of the year possibly.”


As a result, Lockwood is not competing in Kansas City.


He finished second in Glendale and is now ranked 18th in the PBR world standings. He will likely return in Louisville, Kentucky, the weekend of March 27 and 28 with plenty of season remaining to reassert himself as a contender for a third-world title.

“A thought ran through my mind,” Lockwood explained, “now that I feel good and have been continuously getting on bulls now for a little bit and I got that feel back, should I really sit out a weekend?”


Ultimately, he answered his own question.


“I don't think ... as confident as I am right now,” he said, “it's not going to go away in a weekend.”


As much as Lockwood would love to be competing this weekend, he will let his right hand — namely the index finger — heal and then feel that much better about picking up his first event win of the 2021 season.


“It's not broke,” he said of his right hand, which he had Freeman examine at his office in Dallas, “so that's good. They got me in some stupid little splint deal, and I know I should wear it until it's healed, but it's going to be hard.”