Despite being equipped with the latest in body protection, a young athlete lost his life in front of a dumbfounded audience. The crowd was left in utter disbelief when the champion bull rider was thrown off the animal he was riding - and the animal stepped on his chest.
Fox31 reports that 25-year-old Mason Lowe "was competing in the PBR Chute Out, a test of how long a rider can stay up and atop an out-of-control bull.
“Lowe was thrown from the bull and the animal came down on his chest. It's believed to be the first bull-riding death in the 119-year history of the stock show.
“Mason was pulled under his bull during the buck off and the bull’s hind left leg struck him in the chest,” PBR president Sean Gleason told FOX31. “The material inside is designed to disperse the weight. In this particular case, Mason took a shot that was -- that no vest probably would have helped.”
Officials issued a statement relating to the unfortunate series of events that led to the bull rider’s death.
"He was fully protected with chest protectors and face protectors, but just one poor placement of a bull coming down on you in a certain area can do great damage and obviously that's what happened in this instance," said Paul Andrews, president, and CEO of the National Western Stock Show.
"Our hearts are really broken today."
According to the report, Lowe suffered a “massive chest injury that caused damage to his heart.”
Raymond Lewis, who witnessed the tragedy, explained, “It looked like he had it handled,” Lewis recalled. “He got bucked off at the last second.
“Everyone got quiet, knew it was pretty serious.”
Lewis said rodeo clowns were quick to distract the animal and got it away from Lowe. The rider then stood up, “staggered toward the exit and collapsed down.”
According to Fox News, "Fans returned to Denver Coliseum Wednesday night and paid tribute to Lowe, who was ranked 18th in bull riding in the world at the time of his death. The announcer began the night by saying, “It is with extremely heavy hearts that we share with you we have lost truly one of our own.”
Lowe is survived by his wife, Abbey, to whom he was married for a short time. Please continue to pray for her during this difficult season.
PBR posted this touching tribute on Twitter - that says it all:
"In the end, Mason was exactly what he loved and exactly where he wanted to be. Mason Lowe was a cowboy."