PUEBLO, Colo. – Reigning World Champion Jess Lockwood has his sights focused on a second world title, but the 20-year-old’s bucket list of goals for the remainder of the season contains one task that lies north of the border.
Lockwood hasn’t forgotten how close he came to winning the 2017 Calgary Stampede, and he is thrilled to have a second opportunity this summer to try and finish what he failed to accomplish last year.
“It is the greatest and most fun thing I’ve ever competed in,” Lockwood said on Wednesday. “It’s a rodeo and it’s about one of the biggest ones in the world.”
Lockwood was one of 20 bull riders announced Wednesday as invited contestants for the upcoming 2018 Calgary Stampede on July 6-15.
Last year, Lockwood was making an impressive ride aboard Johnny Ringo in the championship round of Showdown Sunday before coming up just short of the 8-second mark (7.42 seconds).
Sage Kimzey has won two of the past three Calgary Stampede championships, and Lockwood is hoping to put an end to Kimzey’s reign this year.
A Calgary Stampede title would be a prestigious victory to add to Lockwood's growing resume of accolades.
“That’s right up there with another world title, I like to think,” Lockwood said.
Kimzey was also extended an invitation to compete at “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
Lockwood was impressive in Calgary and won Pool A by going 3-for-4 with three round victories. He also rode Evil Genius for 89 points in the long round of Showdown Sunday.
The Volborg, Montana, bull rider won last weekend’s 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast event with a 91-point ride on Big Dutch to move up to No. 7 in the world standings.
The format for the Stampede, which has a combined $2 million worth of prize money up for grabs for the nine rodeo events, is different than a PBR event.
Riders battle it out for four days in highly-contested pool play with the goal of advancing to Showdown Sunday as one of the pool’s top-four money earners. If they don’t make it, they can then jockey with the remaining riders on Wild Card Saturday for the final two spots.
However, once Sunday arrives, the slates are wiped clean and the Calgary Stampede champion will be the rider who posts the single highest-marked ride in the championship round, featuring the top four riders following Sunday’s long round.
Lockwood enjoys the change-up from the PBR pace.
“PBR’s are all the same every weekend, so it can get old and not interesting,” Lockwood said.
2018 CALGARY STAMPEDE BULL RIDING INVITES
Trey Benton III
Ramon de Lima
Luciano De Castro
Sage Steele Kimzey
Riders have not been split into Pools yet.
Seven PBR riders were invited based on finishing in the Top 10 of the 2017 PBR world standings – Derek Kolbaba, Eduardo Aparecido, Cooper Davis, Chase Outlaw, Fabiano Vieira and Stormy Wing.
Aparecido informed the PBR competition department that he will not be attending the Calgary Stampede. A replacement has not been announced yet.
Current world leader Ramon de Lima and No. 2 Luciano de Castro were invited as replacements for Dener Barbosa and Kaique Pacheco, who turned down the invitation.
No Brazilian-born rider has won the bull riding at the Calgary Stampede since three-time PBR World Champion Adriano Moraes claimed the 1994 title.
Kimzey was invited this year as the reigning Stampede champion.
Zane Lambert was extended an invitation for his 2017 PBR Canada championship, while Garret Smith earned the nod for his 2017 Canadian Professional Rodeo Association championship.
The Stampede also invited additional bull riders from the PRCA and CPRA – Trey Benton III, Todd Chotowetz, Joe Frost, Marcos Gloria, Jordan Hansen, Cole Melancon, Scott Schiffner and Ty Wallace.
Riders will earn points toward the PBR world standings in the PBR-sanctioned bull riding. Official point allocations have yet to be finalized by the PBR competition department.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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