By Amanda Eggert EBS Senior Editor
LAS VEGAS and BIG SKY – On Nov. 5, a 20-year cowboy from Volborg, Montana, became the youngest PBR World Champion in the history of the professional bull riding circuit, and the only rider from Montana to hold that distinction.
In the process, Jess Lockwood, who’s been competing in PBR events for just two years, amassed more than $1.52 million dollars, racking up 4,862 points and hanging on for 49 eight-second rides.Just shy of a quarter of the points he collected this season—and $1.19 million of his total earnings for the year—were won during Build Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas Nov. 1-5.
PBR public relations representative Andrew Giangola noted that by winning the first three nights of the finals, Lockwood further secured his name in the record books—it’s a PBR first.
“Jess is viewed by many Western sports pundits as a young Bryce Harper or LeBron James: a tough, talented, dedicated and driven phenom whose star will rise high and far,” Giangola said.
It was an impressive showing for the recently injured cowboy. On Sept. 23, Lockwood suffered four broken ribs, a lacerated kidney and a punctured lung at a PBR event in Uniondale, New York. As can be common with rib and lung injuries, Lockwood endured further complications in the form of a bout of pneumonia that required IV fluids.
Lockwood couldn’t be reached for a comment following his precedent-setting finish, but in a June 2016 interview with EBS, he described his early immersion in rodeo. His mother competed in barrel racing events and his father, a saddle bronc rider, won the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Championship in 1992.
“I’ve always grown up in the world,” Lockwood said. His family members were in Las Vegas to root for him during PBR Finals week—and then celebrate his victory.
Lockwood has indicated that he’s going to invest some of his winnings in livestock, something he did in 2016 as well. “I’ve been saving my money, being smart with my money,” he’s said. Now the young gun from Montana will have a lot more to save.