It may well be a lower-level PBR event compared to the elite televised tour sponsored by Monster Energy, but the annual event featured a large number of the Top 35 ranked riders in the world and a bull pen assembled by reigning Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger.
“Chad has a record of 70-something bulls at an event,” Lowe said, “and he had those same bulls at Bismarck, so, like I said, getting two-for-two down, feels pretty good."
“Confidence is key in this sport and I think my confidence is getting higher.”
After three years of being on the outside looking in, Lowe had a three-year run beginning in 2015 in which he finished the season ranked a career-best 19th followed by 21st and, despite some issues that compounded one another last year, he finished the 2017 season ranked 20th.
The injuries – bone chips and spurs that needed to be cleaned out from his right riding elbow led to an issue with his rotator cuff – unfortunately, carried into this year.
Simply put, he was not as effective on the back of a bull.
“I had a good three-year run (at the elite level), but everybody gets in a slump at one point,” Lowe said. “Must have just been my time.
“If your confidence is down, you get to thinking about other stuff that really don’t matter,” he continued, “and when you get in a rhythm of winning your confidence gets higher. It’s all just one big even flow really. It can all go south with one bull or you could keep riding the bulls out for however many.”
He always knew he would eventually ride out of it.
He never – not one time – ever felt like he did not belong at the elite level—even when he was cut from the elite tour. He knew damn-well he had been riding conservatively and not like he was capable of.
Riding top-caliber bulls week-in and week-out, everything gets sore, but a sore rotator cuff had been made worse by trying to protect his elbow.
Now after a month away, Lowe said it is just a matter of getting in bull riding shape.
The win also lifted his position in the PBR world standings.
Lowe went from barley being inside the Top 100 to 61st and now he’s only 197 points from being ranked among the Top 35. With a full schedule of PBR events this summer, he expects to be in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when the elite televised tour resumes in August.
“Coming this weekend, hopefully I’m going to ride four more bulls of Chad Berger’s,” Lowe said, “and then confidence will be through the roof.”