NEW YORK — Montana cowboy Jess Lockwood added another line to his already impressive resume Sunday: Major Champion.
The reigning Professional Bull Riders' Rookie of the Year won the the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden at Madison Square Garden.
In becoming the toast of New York, the Volborg bull rider gritted out a dramatic 82.25-point ride on Naughty List in the Built Ford Tough championship round, hanging onto the bull rope as he was thrown, beating the 8-second whistle by a fraction of a second, to cap off a 4-for-4 weekend and claim the first event title of the season. The event was also the first major of the season.
The 19-year-old Lockwood earned $117,183 and 860 points toward the PBR world standings, and leaves New York the top-ranked bull rider in the world for the first time in his career.
Columbia Falls' Matt Triplett rounded out the Top 5 after a 2-for-4 performance. Triplett rode Otis for 86.75 points in round three and went on to be bucked off by Who Dey in 3.12 seconds in the championship round. Triplett earned 175 points toward the world standings.
Marco Eguchi, of Brazil, finished second after a 3-for-4 weekend. Eguchi won the third round after an 88-point ride on Machinery Auctioneer’s Little Joe, then rode Wicked for 88.5-points to finish second in the championship round. Eguchi picked up 550 points toward the world standings.
Ryan Dirteater, of Hulbert, Okla., and the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals event champion, finished in third place and turned in the first 90-point ride of the season when he covered Handsome Jeff for 90.5 points to win the championship round. Dirteater, who was banged up and extremely sore after being stepped on Saturday, went 3-for-4 and earned 378.3 points toward the world standings.
Brazil's Fabiano Vieira claimed fourth after his own 3-for-4 weekend. Vieira rode It’s Complicated for 83.5 third-round points, but was bucked off by Air Marshall in 2.68 seconds in the championship round. Vieira picked up 258.3 points in the world standings.
Hey Jack was named Top Bull after earning a 45.5-point bull score for tossing J.W. Harris (May, Texas) in 2.85 seconds in the championship round.
Following its eleventh trip to Madison Square Garden, the BFTS now shifts to the Windy City where the Top 35 bull riders in the world will compete at Allstate Arena for the Chicago Invitational Jan. 13-15.
The BFTS will be in Billings for the Cooper Tires Presents: Stanley Performance In Action Invitational April 7-9 at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. Lockwood is the defending champion, having pocketed $40,000 last year at Metra.