World class bull riding comes to Cassville
It has been said the only thing certain about life is that it is uncertain.
Nowhere is that statement any more true than in the world of professional bull riding.
“We know that this sport is dangerous, and each ride could be your last,” said Matt West, PBR announcer. “These guys are competitors, but they have so much respect for each other and for the sport. They are a family, and not many people get to see that aspect of their lives.”
West will be handling the public address duties on Saturday night as 40 of the best bull riders and aspiring bull riders take to the dirt of Bill Hailey Arena in Cassville for the inaugural Ridin’ with Mason Lowe event, presented by the PBR Touring Division.
Lowe, who hailed from Exeter, was killed earlier this year in Denver, Colo., at the National Western Stock Show.
West and Lowe grew up together in the PBR, with West honing his craft behind the microphone and Lowe winning ugly on the backs of dynamite that weigh nearly a ton.
“When you think Mason Lowe, all I can say is heart,” West said. “He didn’t have the prettiest style, but what he had was the heart to never back down. He had no fear, and he wasn’t going to be beat.”
West said Lowe always loved to make people laugh, and he counted the bull rider as a true friend.
One of his favorite memories of Lowe was a trick he would play to break the ice or to get a quick laugh.
“Mason had a false tooth,” West said. “He could use his tongue and push that tooth out and over his lip and it gave him an item that always drew a chuckle. Even if the only person laughing was him.”
West said that during one media session, Lowe was sitting in front of the camera and was ready for the interview to be over before it began.
“Mason was being a squirrel,” West said. “Every answer was short. He wouldn’t cooperate or open up like he was supposed to. Finally, I stepped in and told him to knock it off. I re-enforced the point that we could stay there all day if that is what it took to get the interview in. The cameras were then brought back in and started rolling. Mason was asked another question. He began to answer, then turned and looked right at me, and out came that tooth.”
West remembers the last time he was with his friend.
“I was standing on the stairs in Denver and Mason came up to me,” West said. “He put his arm around me and said ‘I love you, bud,’ In less than 24 hours, he was gone.”
West said the emotion will be high on Saturday, but that the professionalism of the group will be on display.
“We all know those risks,” West said. “I’ll be there to honor my friend, Mason Lowe.”
Brady Sims, of Holt, a small town just outside Jefferson City, will be one of the 40 riders mounting bulls on Saturday.
One thing that Sims stressed is that this ride is different. Unlike other PBR events where circuit riders follow a particular series and work their way up the competition ladder, this event will feature a list of riders coming to honor a brother.
“Every rider at this event is coming because they wanted to be a part of the ride,” Sims said. “They are coming to honor Mason. This isn’t just a series stop. I’m so glad the PBR picked it up. I rode with Mason and I was coming regardless, but with the PBR name, some of the best riders in the world will be in Cassville.”
Sims said Lowe was a mentor to many young riders, including himself.
“Mason would help guys out and give pointers,” Sims said. “We all know the risks of our sport, and we know what can happen. That’s why you have to be riding for the right reasons. Mason knew that and he tried to pass on his knowledge. I’m riding for my friend on Saturday.”
Ridin’ for Mason Lowe will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Bill Hailey Arena gate upon entry and will be $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.
Because of title sponsors Heald Pro Bulls and Motiv8 Sports Group, all proceeds from the event honoring Lowe will be donated to St. Jude’s Research Hospital.
The Touring Pro Division of PBR allows riders to earn points toward qualifying for the premier tour or adding to their existing world points rank.
Each rider will face one bull during Round 1 before the 10 riders with the highest scores advance to the championship round. The overall event winner will be the rider who has earned the most points over two rides.
Some of the best bull riders in the world including current No. 2 ranked rider in the world standings and best friend to Lowe, Chase Outlaw, will compete alongside rising stars of the sport.