2005 Bareback Riding Champ

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Will Lowe's second world bareback championship came in different fashion than his first, but the feeling was just as sweet for the 23-year-old cowboy from Canyon, Texas.

"It feels just like it did the first time," Lowe, who was also the 2003 world champion, said after clinching the title at the Wrangler National Finals at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. "It's something that you won't ever be able to describe and know how special it is."

Lowe, who came into the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in the No. 1 position in the bareback world standings, finished the season with $185,485. He earned $57,674 of that at the NFR and needed a solid effort in the 10th round to clinch the title.

"The field of competitors this week was so tough," he said. "It goes to show if you look at the standings, how close everyone was. It wasn't like one guy walked away with it. It was a tough field of competitors and I was just happy to be among them."

Lowe finished fourth in the average standings, riding all 10 of his broncs for a total of 826.5 points. 2004 Bareback Riding World Champion Kelly Timberman and Cimmaron Gerke shared the average title, each scoring 837.5 points on 10 head. Wes Stevenson finished third in the average.

Though Lowe didn't win a go-round, he placed in six of the 10 rounds. He was sixth in the first round, fourth in the third round, fifth in the fourth round, third in the eighth round, second in the ninth round and fourth in the 10th round.

"I tried to stay patient," he said. "It's just something you have to go at the horse you have and not worry about where everything is going to fall. Just worry about riding and let the mathematics take care of the numbers."

Timberman, who edged Lowe for the title last year after a stellar NFR performance, was disappointed with his 10th-round score on the PRCA's bareback horse of the year, Real Deal. He was marked 83.5 points.

"I had a great Finals, but when you set your goals and aspirations and do everything you can and they don't award you for it, it is very disappointing. I did split it with Cimmaron, and that is a great thing."

Gerke, who finished fourth in the final world standings behind Lowe, Timberman and Stevenson, was thrilled to split the win in the average - the first time since 1983 that riders had tied for the average at the NFR.

Lowe said the camaraderie between all the bareback riders makes winning the world title all the more special.

"Every one of the guys in the locker room are riding for first place every night," he said. "Nobody is riding for second place. Kelly and I are great friends. It wasn't a competition between me and him. We're just all trying to do our best on the horses that we draw."

Lowe came into the Wrangler NFR in first place in the world standings after a strong regular season that included a victory at the Pace Picante ProRodeo Challenge in Omaha, Neb. He's won five Pace series bareback titles in his career.

Lowe, who has qualified for four consecutive NFRs, said he is eager to get back on the road and try to qualify for another. He has long said his rodeo idols are bareback riders Clint Corey, Bruce Ford and Mark Garrett, all former bareback world champions, who qualified for the NFR numerous times.

Lowe said he has the same motivation as his heroes.

"You have to love it and I love it," he said. "That's the reason I keep going because I love riding bareback horses."