<
>

Tug of War

Will Lowe rides every bareback horse as if it's his last. His passion, determination and raw talent have made him a fan favorite since joining the PRCA in 2001. It's also led him to two world titles in the last three years.

Lowe (Canyon, Texas) matched his championship season of 2003 with a title-winning campaign last year, finishing nearly $20,000 ahead of 2004 World Champion Kelly Timberman. His pair of gold buckles fit nicely alongside a record five crystal cups earned at Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Finales since 2003.

The light-hearted Lowe has a simple and straightforward approach to competing, an approach that has produced top-notch results.

"The biggest thing I've learned in the last couple years is that you've got to take the entire season just one horse at a time," Lowe said. "You've got to have fun on that one horse and do as good as you can. If things don't work out, they don't work out, but if they do, that's awesome, and you go to your next one."

Lowe has been in a back-and-forth battle for most of the season with friend Andy Martinez, who won the season's first two Tour Finales in Tulsa, Okla., and Omaha, Neb. He's also been fighting to keep up with his traveling partners, Royce Ford, Tom McFarland and Wes Stevenson, who all qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

"The guys I travel with, Royce, Wes and Tom, are right up there near the top 10, and everyone in the top 25 motivates me," Lowe said. "They all ride so well, and any day one of those guys can jump out there and win. When they do win, it motivates me. They're all my buddies, and I'm happy for them, but it also gives me something to shoot for."

In addition to that friendly, yet fierce, competition, Lowe has enjoyed traveling the country as the reigning World Champion. He said this season has been the busiest of his career, but he's enjoyed every minute of it along the way. The beloved Lowe has relished the interaction of the sport's fans, whom he praises without hesitation.

"Rodeo fans are the greatest," Lowe said. "You can be having a bad day, but they're always behind you and are always super nice to you. You don't have fans who heckle the contestants like you do in baseball and all those other sports. It just seems like all the fans support everybody, and they just love to watch rodeo. It's great to have people like that following us."

Fans, no doubt, would be quick to say that it's great to have cowboys like Lowe to watch week-in and week-out.