Lockwood rides to the rescue: PBR star to help ailing infant

Star Staff Writer

A Miles City infant who is fighting for her life due to a rare combination of heart conditions will get a helping hand from a professional cowboy.

Jess Lockwood, the 2017 Professional Bull Riding world champion from nearby Volborg, will be the featured live auction “package” during a benefit for Phoenix Marie Burman, the one-month-old daughter of Ashten Gierke Burman and Cole Burman of Miles City.

The benefit is scheduled for Friday at the Miles Community College Centra starting at 5 p.m. It will include a hamburger dinner, a silent auction and a live auction, the latter starting at 7 p.m.

The live auction will include bidding for dinner for four with Lockwood at the Black Iron Bar and Grill in Miles City. Lockwood won his first title this year at the age of 20 after being Rookie of the Year in 2016 right out of high school.

The money raised will help pay ongoing medical expenses for Phoenix, who was born with a rare condition from the combination of four heart defects. She had open-heart surgery in Denver, where she was born, when she was three days old.

Another open heart surgery is planned at a date to be determined. She could outgrow her conduit, which replaced her pulmonary valve that didn’t form during fetal growth. She also had a hole in the aorta that was patched. Another hole in the top left part of the heart was left alone for now and doctors are hoping it will heal.

The Burmans also have a 4-year-old daughter, Perri.

“She’s loving being a big sister,” said her mother, who has followed the career of Lockwood and is happy he is part of the benefit.

“I think it’s amazing, the fact that he’s such a young kid and goes above and beyond to be a role model,” she said. “It meant a lot to my family.”

The operator of Studio Ten salon and day spa at 1600 Main St. for 10 years said she is also impressed by the support of family and friends, including those helping with the benefit.

“Oh my gosh,” she said, “that’s probably the most humbling and overwhelming part of this whole experience … the amazing love and support we’ve been shown.”

(Contact Abe Winter at starcity@midrivers.com or 406-234-0450.)