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Jess Lockwood rides Mi Vida Loca

Jess Lockwood, pictured here riding Mi Vida Loca for 86.75 points at the PBR at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in 2016, claimed the title at the Professional Bull Riders stop in Sioux Falls, S.D., over the weekend. 

Gazette file photo

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Jess Lockwood is heating up as the Professional Bull Riders’ stop at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark approaches.

The 20-year-old Montana bull rider earned his first PBR elite series win of the season at the invitational event on Sunday.

The reigning PBR world champion from Volborg bucked to a 91-point ride on Big Dutch in the championship round. Lockwood, the PBR’s Rookie of the Year in 2016, was 3 for 4 at the event and earned 760 world points. He jumped up six spots in the world standings to No. 7 and earned $41,830.

Lockwood has battled injuries this year, including a torn MCL in his left knee and a sprained riding hand. 

“I feel good and I’m riding good so I can’t ask for much more right now,” Lockwood said in a PBR press release. “Everything’s going great. I got some good luck charms with me here this weekend and my family, and you couldn’t ask for a better weekend.”

Lockwood, who won The American bull riding crown for $100,000 at the Dallas Cowboys home of AT&T Stadium in late February, now sits 215 points behind PBR world leader Ramon de Lima of Brazil.

“He’s got that fire back,” said CBS commentator JW Hart, according to the PBR release. “You can see it in his eyes, you can see it in the step he takes when he gets off. He’s happy and ready to go back at them.”

Jose Vitor Leme, the 2017 PBR Rookie of the Year, finished second. The Brazilian bull rider also went 3 for 4 over the weekend, including an 89-point ride in the championship round. Leme collected 415 world points and $21,080.

Finishing third was Cooper Davis of Jasper, Texas, with a 2 for 4 performance. The 2016 world champion picked up 235 world points and $12,830. He is now ranked 10th in the standings. The top 10 bull riders are packed together in a tight bunch and are now separated by 615 points.   

With the victory, Lockwood clinched a spot at the Days of 47 Cowboy Games in Salt Lake City. The event is slated for July 19-21 and July 23-24.

The top 35 bull riders in the PBR world standings next ride in Tacoma, Washington, April 14-15.

On April 20-22, the PBR returns to Metra with the Stanley Performance in Action Invitational. Lockwood scored his first elite series PBR win at Metra in 2016 to become the first Montana native to win Billings since it became a PBR event in 1996.