PUEBLO, Colo. – It may be surprising to some, but the rider with the most 90-point rides through the first five PBR 25th: Unleash The Beast events is none other than Stetson Lawrence.
Lawrence’s 90-point ride on Wild Goose at last weekend’s Anaheim Invitational was his second of the year, but it was also only the second 90-point ride of his career.
The 29-year-old began his sixth season on the PBR’s premier series without a single 90-point ride on his resume prior to his career-high 92.25-point ride on Cochise last month at the Express Employment Professionals Invitational.
“I had been 92 on Cowtown Slinger in Bismarck (North Dakota) before, but nothing ever at this level,” Lawrence said.
In Anaheim, Lawrence, who has eight 90s at non-premier series events, once again flashed his 90-point ride potential aboard Wild Goose.
Lawrence kicked his outside foot and made sure to not quit on the ride until 8 seconds despite falling behind around 6 seconds.
“The bull felt good and he just got better and better,” Lawrence said. “I fell a little bit behind and got in a little bit of a bind at the end, but I didn’t let go.”
It was the second time in three weeks that Lawrence bucked off in the long round and rebounded with a 90-point ride in the championship round.
Lawrence split the Round 1 win in Anaheim with Ryan Dirteater following his 87.5-point ride on Red Sails In The Sunset. He then failed to build off his first round victory of 2018 by bucking off Hurricane Hustler in 5.48 seconds in Round 2.
“The first one, I knew he was going to step forward like he did, but not as hard and fast as he did,” Lawrence said. “I learned my lesson. I hesitated and got behind, and kind of did the same here, and it worked out in my favor.
“But I need to work on getting back from the front and stay honest with them.”
Lawrence bucked off King Arthur in Oklahoma City before finishing with rides on Pick-It Construction’s Find Jesus (88 points) and Cochise (92.25 points).
He is 7-for-16 (43.75 percent) with two Top-5 finishes through the first five events.
Lawrence is seventh in the world standings heading into the Caterpillar Classic this weekend in Kansas City, Missouri, but he knows he could have done that much better so far this year.
“I just get freaking pissed,” Lawrence said. “It all boils down to me showing up and doing my job. That is the main thing. It is on me.”
Lawrence and his wife, T.K., who is a barrel racer, moved to PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert’s Bowie, Texas, ranch last month to be closer to the majority of TK’s rodeo schedule. It also gives Stetson the chance to fly out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport instead of North Dakota.
Stetson hasn’t received coaching ala Jess Lockwood from Lambert, but some of his brief conversations with the PBR co-founder are sticking with him as he hits the road for the second month of The PBR 25th: Unleash The Beast.
“I talked to Lambert (last) week,” Lawrence said. “He said you have to expect yourself to ride every damn bull, and if you don’t. Figure it out. I bear my ass down and go to them.”
Lawrence was one of the popular choices heading into the 2018 season as a dark horse World Champion contender. He has since begun to show flashes of that potential this year.
Lambert pegged the Williston, North Dakota, bull rider as a dark horse contender during his pre-season predictions. Lambert said he wanted to see Lawrence have a full, healthy season after Lawrence showed glimpses of his skillset last year despite fracturing his pelvis and tearing his groin.
Lawrence still competed in 25 Premier Series events in 2017 despite the two injuries, going 24-for-78 (30.77 percent), and he finally won his first Premier Series event of his career when he went 2-for-3 in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
“I hope Stetson can have an entire year where he does not get hurt,” Lambert said at the time. “I have always been high on Stetson because I see the talent and I see the effort. He has a feel and a rhythm on bulls. I saw the work ethic because I saw the physical shape he got himself in.”
Lambert added that he earned a tremendous amount of respect for Lawrence last year after the veteran bull rider offered to drive Lockwood home across the country following the 20-year-old’s four broken ribs, punctured lung and lacerated kidney in Uniondale, New York.
“I saw his character,” Lambert said. “I have a great respect for him. I have a great respect for guys that would step up and do stuff like that for their friends.”
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