What makes a great bull rider is a long list of things, discipline, training, focus, we could go on and on about all the things that make a guy great.
What separates a World Champ in the eyes of the fans is a little different, tonight at the Caterpillar Classic the huge Kansas City Crowd witnessed what makes Jess Lockwood special. After putting up a monster 90.50 on Suns Up in round 1 he came back determined to get some points in the 15/15.
His first draw was the well-known bull Bill the Butcher. This Bull has gained a great PBR following and has handily bucked off some great cowboys. When Jess nodded his head it all went wrong, Bill the Butcher made his customary huge leaps and made his quick turn at the latch. During these jumps, Bill managed to run into the gate. This instantly drew the re-ride flags, in the meantime, a couple jumps later Jess found himself in a tough spot and ended up landing hard on the arena dirt.
With championship implications, Jess had no choice but to accept his re-ride and take another shot at getting points. In his re-ride, Texas Gangster would be the dance partner and would be the final out of night 1. As Jess got himself situated in the chutes Texas Gangster made a handful of big jumps that thrashed Jess around in the chute. After being banged around the crew had to lift Jess out of the chute and lay him to the platform behind the chutes.
Over the next few minutes, the Kansas City crowd was nearly silent. During this silence, not a soul left their seat. You could feel the hope in the stands that Jess would be able to gather himself together and take one more shot at the 15/15 title and more points toward the championship round.
In the spirit of a true champion and crowd favorite, Jess rallied himself together and slid his helmet on. The fact is there is plenty of question if it was worth attempting this bull. The 2020 season is still young and there will be plenty of opportunities to gain points and position himself at a run for another title.
Like a real cowboy, Jess ignored the risk and the easy way out. He tied in and made a run at Texas Gangster. In the end, the decision did not pan out, but the Kansas City crowd witnessed what makes Jess Lockwood a great champion and an ambassador for the sport of bull riding.