PUEBLO, Colo. – Stetson Lawrence has never had to sit out for more than six months at a time before in his career, so his most recent recovery from offseason reconstructive left shoulder surgery was a new experience.
Lawrence is now ready to see the fruits of his dedicated rehabilitation when he makes his return to action this Friday night at the Kalispell Automotive Group PBR Touring Pro Division event at the Flathead County Fairgrounds in Kalispell, Montana.
“This is the longest I have sat out,” Lawrence told CBS Sports Network’s Kate Harrison last month in Billings, Montana. “It sucks. It seems like forever, but I have never been this healthy and this strong in my career, so it will be exciting to see what I can do.”
Lawrence has drawn Get Shorty (28-14, all levels) for Round 1.
Also tentatively slated to compete in Kalispell are world No. 9 Derek Kolbaba, No. 30 Austin Richardson, No. 32 Eli Vastbinder, No. 42 Dakota Louis and No. 60 Matt Triplett.
Two-time PBR World Finals qualifier Daylon Swearingen is also making his season debut following offseason shoulder and hip surgery.
A completely fluke incident at last year’s regular-season finale in Nampa, Idaho, led to Lawrence needing shoulder surgery following the 2020 PBR World Finals.
Lawrence was injured when Marquis Metal Works Red Clark, the current No. 2 bull in the YETI World Champion Bull race, bucked him off in 2.53 seconds and then kicked him in his riding arm while he was in the air inside the Ford Idaho Center.
“I am literally flying through the air, and he kicks it right out,” Lawrence explained last year during the World Finals. “It wasn’t even the normal me-landing-on-my-shoulder kind of deal. I was like, ‘What the heck?’ Like, what are the odds? It is what it is.”
Lawrence tested out his shoulder in the practice pen this past weekend in preparation for his season debut.
Last year was a rollercoaster of ups and downs for Lawrence, who ultimately finished 29th in the world standings. Lawrence, who went 10-for-47 on the Unleash The Beast, felt like he would be poised for a strong second-half push after he concluded the first half with back-to-back Top 5 finishes in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Lawrence then went 3-for-11 to help Team Cooper Tires go undefeated at the Monster Energy Team Challenge over the summer.
However, Lawrence then missed the start of the second half after testing positive for COVID-19 in August.
“I was riding good there and at the team deal,” Lawrence said. “Then I had COVID and couldn’t go for two weeks. Then this shoulder happened. 2020, man. You couldn’t have scripted being screwed over for next year any better, last bull before the Finals. I was like, ‘Hell, I can’t catch a break.’”
The forced six-month break for shoulder surgery may ultimately do Lawrence some good. He has been working out four days a week at Prime Performance and Physio in Bozeman, Montana, to make sure he comes back ready to salvage the remainder of his 2021 season.
Following Kalispell, Lawrence will compete on Saturday night in Great Falls, Montana, at the Dusty Gliko Bull Riding Challenge and then the Do Deadwood Presents The Deadwood PBR on June 11-12.
Lawrence will have five guaranteed UTB exemptions based on his finish in the 2020 world standings at his disposal when he is ready to return to the PRB’s premier series, which will likely be at Last Cowboy Standing in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on July 26-27.
Article Courtesy of PBR
Photo courtesy of Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media