LAS VEGAS — Two years ago, Jess Lockwood became the Professional Bull Riders’ youngest world champion at age 20.
But his gold buckle victory was pretty anticlimactic during the 2017 World Finals. He stayed on the first three bulls at the Las Vegas championships, but he was bucked off of his last three.
Though he was thrown off of his final round bull on Sunday at the 2019 PBR World Finals, Lockwood, 22, who has homes in Stephenville and Volborg, Mont., had stayed on his first five bulls going into the 15-man final at T-Mobile Arena.
After the dust settled, Lockwood clinched his second PBR world title in three years.
“It was a different finals for me for sure,” Lockwood said of the 2019 World Finals in Las Vegas where he stayed on five of the six bulls that he faced. “I was a different rider now compared to what I was then [in 2017]. I’m a lot more consistent now.”
Lockwood also earned coveted $1 million bonus that’s traditionally awarded to the PBR world champion for a second time.
During the Nov. 6-10 2019 World Finals, Lockwood turned in attention grabbing scores of 86.5, 91.5, 92, 91.75 and 91.25. The 91.25 was in Round 5 on Sunday afternoon.
During the final round (Round 6), which also was on Sunday afternoon, Lockwood was bucked off in 4.95 seconds. But he had the world title clinched as he readied himself in the chute to attempt to stay on his final bull.
It was clear that Lockwood had clinched the title when Jose Vitor Leme, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, was bucked off of his final round bull shortly before Lockwood made his last ride.
Lockwood stayed on five of the six bulls that he faced at the 2019 World Finals. Leme stayed on four.
Leme got off to a great start by turning in an 88 in the Round 1. But he was disqualified in Round 2 when he touched his bull with his free hand. He turned in an 89.5 in Round 3, an 89.75 in Round 4 and a 91 in Round 5.
He entered Round 6, the finals round, with a mathematical chance to clinch the title, but was bucked off in 4.59 seconds.
Leme earned $642,516 at PBR shows throughout 2019.
Lockwood edged Leme in the PBR's 2019 world title race that’s decided by points earned during the regular season and the World Finals.
He finished No. 1 with 8,495 points. Leme, who entered the World Finals ranked No. 1, finished No. 2 in the 2019 title race with 7,642 points.
Chase Outlaw, an Arkansas cowboy, finished third with 5,788. Joao, another Brazilian who lives in Decatur, finished fourth with 4,533. Cooper Davis of Jasper, the 2016 PBR world champion, came in fifth with 3,866.
Lockwood also clinched the World Finals event title by earning 2,265 points through the six-round competition. He received a $300,000 check for winning that coveted award.
All in all, Lockwood earned $391,550 during the 2019 World Finals, plus the coveted $1 million world’s champion’s bonus. Lockwood earned $1,873,731 throughout 2019 on the PBR circuit.
Lockwood turned pro in 2016 and his overall earnings over the past four years at PBR shows are $3,918,473.
Lockwood said he’s a much more mature bull rider today.
“I’m a lot different person period,” he said. “I’m older, I have my own place. I’m married. I have a lot more responsibility on my plate than I had in 2017.”
Lockwood was married on Oct. 25 to defending Women’s Professional Rodeo Association world champion barrel racer Hailey Kinsel at her hometown family ranch in Cotulla.
Lockwood said he and his wife divide their time between living on ranches in Stephenville in North Central Texas and in (his native state) of Montana. Generally speaking, they plan on spending the warmer months of the year in Montana and the colder months of the year in Stephenville, which can have a numerous warmer days even during the winter months.
Dalton Kasel, 20, a Farwell High School graduate who has homes in the West Texas towns of Muleshoe and McCamey, clinched the PBR’s Rookie Of The Year title.
Kasel stayed on only one of the six bulls that he faced at the World Finals. That was in Round 1 when he turned in an 88.5 and tied for second place in Round 1.
But Kasel rode well enough throughout 2019 to clinch the Rookie Of The Year title. He also finished No. 8 in the 2019 world title race.