LAS VEGAS — Jess Lockwood once again is the Professional Bull Riders world champion.
The Montana cowboy started the season with a win and ended the season with his second PBR world title on Sunday at the T-Mobile Arena.
Lockwood captured the Unleash The Beast Monster Energy Buck Off at The Garden championship, a Professional Bull Riders major, in the season-opening event.
On Sunday, he walked away with his second world championship buckle after winning the PBR World Finals.
The 22-year-old from Volborg also won the PBR world championship in 2017. According to the PBR, Lockwood is the youngest two-time world champion. When he won his first championship in 2017, the then 20-year-old became the youngest world champ in the history of the PBR and the first bull rider from the Treasure State to win the organization’s world title.
“It’s hard to compare them. You can’t pick or choose. The first championship means something different because you work your whole life for it,” Lockwood was quoted in a PBR news release. “That was all a blur. I don’t remember much about holding up that first trophy. This was the icing on the cake.”
Lockwood, the 2016 PBR Rookie of the Year, entered the Unleash the Beast World Finals as the second-ranked bull rider in the world, behind No. 1 Jose Vitor Leme of Brazil but overcame the 749.16-point deficit at the finals.
Chase Outlaw was ranked third entering the finals and trailed Lockwood by 703.33 points.
Outlaw, Leme and Lockwood entered the championship round third, second and first in the aggregate.
Following a 4.11-second effort by Outlaw aboard Smooth Operator, the championship would be won by either Leme or Lockwood.
Leme was bucked off by Lil 2 Train in 4.59 seconds, sealing the world title for Lockwood, who also came down early, bested by Canadian Mist in 4.95 seconds.
“Jose and Chase really stepped up. It was a dogfight, punch for punch, one of the coolest things I’ve ever been part of,” Lockwood said in a PBR release.
Columbia Falls bull rider Matt Triplett finished second at the World Finals. After a no-score in the first round, Triplett had scores of 89.25, 86.75, 89.25, 86.5 and 89.25. He wound up with 441 aggregate points and earned 720 points for his aggregate score and 1,000 total event points. Triplett was awarded a check for $172,166.
Lockwood is now one of six multi-time PBR world champions, joining three-time titlists Adriano Moraes (1994, 2001, 2006) and Silvano Alves (2011, 2012, 2014), and two-time champs Chris Shivers (2000, 2003), Justin McBride (2005, 2007) and J.B. Mauney (2013, 2015).
“It will take a while for this one to sink in. You work your whole life to become a world champion,” Lockwood said in a PBR release. “Now I get to have my name next to guys like Justin McBride and Chris Shivers. It’s what you dream about. To have it become a reality is that much sweeter.”
At the finals, Lockwood recorded scores of 86.5, 91.5, 92, 91.75 and 91.25 to cover his first five bulls before being bucked off on his final attempt. Lockwood had an aggregate score of 453 to win the finals. He earned 1,500 points for the aggregate title and 2,265 event points, along with $1,391,500.
Lockwood is now one of only five athletes to win the World Finals event title and world championship in the same season. He joins Mike Lee (2004), Renato Nunes (2010), Mauney (2013) and Alves (2014). Lee was born in Billings.
“I feel proud. It was tough bulls all week. I got good picks I thought I could win on. I knew Jose would pretty much stay on every bull,” Lockwood said in a PBR release. “I tried to keep it simple and ride pretty much every one I got on. Every bull I got on during the week, I felt better and better. Keep running them under you and your confidence grows each night.”
Leme, bucked on his second and sixth attempts, wound up fifth at the finals. He had scores of 88, 89.5, 89.75, and 91. Leme earned an aggregate score of 358.25 and 300 points. He accumulated 663 total event points and $119,333.
For the year, Lockwood finished atop the world standings with 8,495 points and earned $1,873,731. Leme wound up second with 7,642 points and collected $642,516 in winnings.
Triplett finished seventh in the standings with 2,533 points and had earnings of $263,457.
Outlaw finished in sixth place at the finals and wound up third in the final standings.
It was an amazing season for Lockwood, who won the first two top-tier events of the season.
Just seven days after winning at Madison Square Garden, Lockwood conquered the competition in the Windy City by winning the Chicago Invitational at Allstate Arena.
He missed nine premier series stops after breaking his collarbone on Feb. 9 at the PBR Global Cup USA stop in Arlington, Texas. He returned to the circuit May 17 when he scored 89.5 points on the bull Legit to share first place in the first round at the Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M.
On Aug 11, Lockwood reclaimed the No. 1 ranking when he won the elite series stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, moving from No. 3 to the top of the standings. He would follow that victory with a title in Houston for his second back-to-back wins of the season on the Unleash The Beast Tour.
Lockwood also came away with victories in the prestigious 15/15 Bucking Battles at stops in Albuquerque, Tulsa, Springfield, Missouri, and Minneapolis.
At two straight events in October, Lockwood tamed one of the rankest bulls in the series — Heartbreak Kid.
On Oct. 13 in Greensboro, North Carolina, Lockwood selected Heartbreak Kid in the championship round bull draft. Before being paired with Lockwood, Hearbreak Kid was on a 38-out premier-series buckoff streak. It turned out to be the right call as Lockwood posted the then high-mark ride of the season with 93.75 points to place second overall.
The following week, Lockwood topped that performance with a 94-point ride aboard Hearbreak Kid in the championship round at the Nampa (Idaho) Invitational.
Lockwood also won the Touring Pro Division title this year. He had three Touring Pro wins from June 8-22 at stops in Deadwood, South Dakota, Bismarck, North Dakota, and Binford, North Dakota. Lockwood would add another Touring Pro victory in Jackson, Wyoming, in mid July. The victory in Bismarck was at a Touring Pro major event.
Lockwood said he aims to defend his title next season. The first stop of the 2020 Unleash the Beast tour will be Jan. 3-5 at Madison Square Garden.
“If I don’t plan on another championship, I might as well not compete next season,” he said in a PBR release. “We show up to win.”