Mason Lowe, the bull rider from southwest Missouri’s Exeter, was 25 when he died Tuesday night from injuries after competing at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.
His death is only the third involving a rider at a Professional Bull Riders-sanctioned event since the organization’s founding in 1992. Lowe was ranked No. 18 in the world when a bucking bull threw him off and stomped on his chest. Lowe attempted to stand up, then collapsed and died of a massive heart injury at a hospital later on.
His name echoes through the halls of Exeter High School, where principal Tim Jordan says Lowe is well known and admired.
“He knew what he wanted to do with his life and he went out and did that,” Jordan says Wednesday. “All the people in our community are so proud of him. His life has given them pride in our school and our community.”
One of Lowe’s classmates was Kandace Koehler, who says she couldn’t help but see him as the funny kid from school.
“He was always the class clown,” she says. “If his name got brought up it would be like ‘Can you believe that he did that?'”
Koehler is now a first-grade teacher at the school where she and Lowe first met. She says his image is larger than life for kids growing up in and around Exter.
“He went to this school, this small school in a small community and he was in the big leagues,” says Koehler. “I mean he was awesome. It’s heartbreaking that we lost him so young but he’s like a hero to these kids.”
A tribute to Lowe was held at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.
(Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV contributed this story)