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Professional bull rider dies of injuries at National Western Complex in Denver

Posted: 6:18 AM, Jan 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-17 15:50:24Z
PBR Kansas City Invitational Mason Lowe
PBR Kansas City Invitational Mason Lowe

DENVER, Colo. — Professional bull rider Mason Lowe died Tuesday evening after he was injured in competition in Denver, according to Professional Bull Rider CEO Sean Gleason.

Lowe, 25, had been participating in the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo at Denver's National Western Complex.

“We are deeply saddened to report that Mason Lowe passed away this evening following injuries sustained at the PBR event in Denver," Gleason said in a statement. "The entire PBR and National Western sports family extends our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to Mason’s wife Abbey and his family.”

During a news conference held at the National Western Complex Wednesday afternoon, Gleason said Mason was pulled under his bull during the buckoff, and that the bull's hind left leg struck him in the chest. Mason, who was wearing a required protective vest during the competition, suffered a massive chest injury that caused damage to his heart. Mason was taken to Denver Health Medical Center where he was pronounced dead after his arrival to the emergency room, Gleason said.

Heather Croze with PBR said a video tribute will play in the arena Wednesday at 7 p.m., when the finals for bull riding are scheduled. The NWSS and PBR will set up an in-arena fundraiser for the Lowe family, according to a release from NWSS. The groups have created a fundraising page for those who want to donate.

Gleason went on to say that the organization is focusing on helping Lowe's family and fellow bull riders, "who are gonna come out, strap it on and ride their bulls in honor of Mason at the final rounds here at the National Western Stock Show."

Kevin Ray was also in attendance Tuesday night.

"The bull obviously stepped on him, but we couldn't really tell where — his chest or his head — from where we were sitting," he said.

Ray said when Lowe stumbled over to the exit where the riders leave the arena, he collapsed.

"He just laid there motionless for a while," Ray said. "This is what brings it back to reality. Nobody wants that. That takes it from fun and exciting to heartbreaking."

Gleason also said during the news conference that Hard Times, the bull that Lowe was riding, will continue to compete during the remainder of the National Western Stock Show. '

“It’s difficult during a bull ride for the rider to control himself during the ride, but it’s also difficult for the bull," Gleason said. "In this particular case, he had no idea that Mason had been sucked underneath him. So the bull did not do this with any malintent.”

You can watch the full news conference in the video below:

One in 15 bull rides results in injury, according to PBR. Lowe's death is the second in PBR's 26-year history.

Lowe, who was from the small city of Exeter, Missouri, was ranked 18th in the world, according to PBR. He had been a professional bull rider for seven years.

His passion for bull riding kicked off early in life. When he was 3 years old, he would get on milk cows with the help of his father, according to a tribute video from PBR. That quickly led to a love for the sport.

He competed in his first PBR event on Oct. 21, 2011 at the Touring Pro Division event in Arkansas. Less than 10 months later, he made his premier series debut in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Aug. 10, 2012, where he posted his first qualified ride of his career.

That was the first of 69 premier series events for Lowe, according to PBR.

He went on to become a full-time rider on the PBR's highest tour in 2015, according to PBR. He qualified for his first of three PBR World Finals that year.

Throughout his career, he developed a reputation as a warm and welcoming — and sometimes sarcastic — rider who was fearless in competition, according to PBR. In the tribute video, Lowe said all the bull riders are very supportive of each other.

"No matter what, once you get on your bull, they're there to help you," he said in the video. "They'll help you once you get off your bull or if you get thrown off — they'll sure enough help you."

Lowe won one of the most prestigious bull ridings in PBR at the 2016 Ty Murray Invitational in New Mexico, where he clinched his first career victory with a 90-point ride. Two months beforehand, he reached a career high of 91 points, according to PBR.

He had his sights on returning to Las Vegas for the 2019 PBR World Finals.