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'Ridin' with Mason Lowe' Memorial bull riding event this weekend

The fifth annual Ridin’ with Mason Lowe Invitational bull ride event will be Saturday, May 25, at the Bill Hailey Arena located on Farm Rd. 2160, Cassville.

 

The annual tribute honors Missouri native rider Mason Lowe, who grew up in the Exeter community near Cassville. Top athletes in the sport make the trek to Cassville each year to raise money for charity in honor of Lowe, who passed away on January 15, 2019, as a result of injuries sustained during a PBR event at the Denver Coliseum. The first event was held in May 2019. After COVID-19 restrictions prevented a 2020 gathering, one has been held annually since 2021. Thanks to community support, generous sponsors, and attendee and fan support each year, more than $80,000 to date has been donated for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

 

“Our entire community here in Cassville knew Mason,” said event producer Stu Crowe. “We want to keep his memory alive.” Crowe, who often rides as a pick-up man during bull riding events, says it just took a few phone calls to friends in the rodeo community to get the plans underway. “Everyone we talked to wanted to pitch in,” he said. “Stock contractors donating use of stock, businesses donating raffle items, so many generous people.”

 

Brady Sims grew up knowing Mason from youth bull rides and youth rodeo, all the way up through PBR competition where some of the fiercest competitors often also become the closest of friends; Sims’ appearance in the Denver event was just a few rides after Mason’s fatal injury. The dangers of rodeo, involving large animals and fast action, are no secret, and cowboys often have a tough reputation, but both Sims and Crowe said they are also some of the most kind-hearted and loyal people around. Along with the athletic challenge, many want to honor the legacy of farmers, ranchers and cowboys, and nearly all also have a strong faith in God.

 

“Mason was as rough and tough as they come,” said Sims, “but he also wanted to help people and donate to good causes as much as he could.” As Crowe reached out to friends in the western sports community, it was important that the memorial event celebrate not only Mason’s accomplishments in his too-brief life and career, but also his desire to show kindness. Since Mason’s niece, Blazi, had been a St. Jude’s patient, helping families going through a distressing time with a child’s health seemed like a great fit.

 

Along with Brady Sims and Stu Crowe, organizers of the first memorial included Cindy O’Neal and stock contractor and former bull rider L.J. Jenkins. “For all of us that come to Cassville each year, being able to join together and continue Mason’s legacy while supporting children and families in need makes this event monumental,” said Jenkins. 

 

Gates for the Saturday event open at 5 p.m., and the bull-riding action starts at 7 p.m. Each rider will face one bull during Round 1, and the 10 riders with the highest scores will advance to the championship round. The overall winner will be the rider with the highest combined point total from the two rounds. Riders are coming from across the four-state area of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas but also as far away as Texas, Indiana, Ohio and even Maine. Many cite Mason’s popularity and kindness to younger riders, sharing things like “I’m here because he took the time to talk with my son,” or similar recollections.

 

Along with the ride, there will be other fun attractions: Freestyle bullfighting demonstrations during intermission, and HLRA drag racer Scott Palmer, who is from the Cassville area, will have his PBR top-fuel dragster on display.

 

Tickets are available at www.ridinwithmasonlowe.com, or can be purchased at the gate. Prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children age 12 and under; age 3 and under are admitted free. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for hillside seating. Check the Facebook page if inclement weather seems a possibility; rain date is May 26.

 

Thanks to the generosity of title sponsor McClarty Daniel Buick GMC and other generous community donors, all ticket proceeds will go to St. Jude’s, along with proceeds from an auction held during intermission and raffle tickets for a Yeti cooler, a Monster mini-fridge, and an antique baker’s cabinet. Organizers are hoping for another $20,000-plus year, to put the total donations over $100,000 given to St. Jude’s families to date.

 

Anyone who can’t make it in person but would like to honor Mason with a donation can mail a check directly to Ridin’ with Mason, 15277 Farm Rd. 1090, Cassville, MO 65625. Also, check out commemorative merchandise at https://screenmastersart.com/ridin-with-mason-lowe, with a portion of proceeds going to St. Jude’s.

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