DENVER (CBS4) – Officials with the National Western Stock Show and Professional Bull Riding held a news conference about the tragic death of professional bull rider Mason Lowe. Lowe died after a bull he rode bucked him off and the animal stepped on his chest.
PBR officials say Lowe was pulled under the bull. He was wearing a protective vest, but still suffered a “massive chest injury that caused damage to his heart” and was taken to the hospital where he later died.
He was a 25-year-old man in love with his job… a job riding 1,800 lb. bulls. In a Professional Bull Riders video Lowe is asked, “What’s the best way to describe you?” Lowe replied, “Handsome,” then laughs.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and everyone associated in this great sport in this very difficult time,” said Paul Andrews, the President of the National Western Stock Show.
Ranked number 18, Lowe was one of the those introduced at the National Western Stock Show professional bull riders “chute out.”
A witness said the bull threw Lowe, then its back legs stomped on him while he was trying to get up.
PBR officials say there was no malicious intent on the bull’s part, and the animal will return to competition.. They add this is the third death in a PBR sanctioned competition.
“Mason was a cowboy his entire life. He started riding milk cows when he was 3 years old with the help of his father. He joined PBR in October of 2011 shortly after he turned 18. By August of 2012 he made his debut in PBR’s premiere televised tour,” said Sean Gleason, CEO of PBR.
Payden Franks owns some of the bulls used in the rodeo and he was a friend of Lowe’s.
“He was great. He is from Missouri, but we did a lot together. Just a great young guy,” Franks told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.
CBS4 asked Franks how these riders can reconcile the danger with their attraction to the sport.
“Just a job, they love it. They know the dangers. I don’t know how they reconcile it,” he said.
Lowe’s friends and family were not at the news conference, however Gleason read a statement by Lowe’s wife:
“Mason was the love of my life, and he was my best friend. He loved the sport of bull riding and his PBR family. He was loved by his family and friends. (He) Had a kind soul and a heart of gold. He was always willing to help someone in need. I appreciate all of the kind words spoken about Mason. He will be dearly missed.”
Officials with the National Western Stock Show said there would be a tribute to Lowe at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Coliseum, during the PBR Finals. The Finals are a ticketed event.
The National Western Stock Show, a 501c-3 nonprofit entity, in conjunction with the PBR, will be accepting donations for Lowe’s family online or by mail. All funds received will be sent to the family of Mason Lowe.
Officials said they’ve already collected $80,000 in donations.