Sage Kimzey’s hot start has blossomed into a breakout season this year.
The 19-year-old from Strong City, Okla., blazed through April and into May, picking up big checks along the way to widen his world standings lead over four-time and reigning World Champion J.W. Harris. Kimzey split first with Jason Beck at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo with a 92-pointer on Carr Pro Rodeo’s Line Man, and also won the Chisholm Trail Stampede in Duncan, Okla., with a 91 aboard Rafter H Rodeo’s Seeing Red the same week.
Kimzey enjoyed his ride aboard Line Man.
“I’ve actually seen him around a bunch, so I knew he was a good bull,” said Kimzey, who is looking for his first career Wrangler National Finals Rodeo berth. “He went to the right and was into my hand, so it worked out pretty good. Whenever I got my draws for that weekend, I knew there were going to be some chances for some big scores and hopefully a couple wins, and that’s what happened.”
The Duncan victory wasn’t Kimzey’s first triumph on Seeing Red.
“I actually won Hill City, Kan., on him last year,” he said. “I knew he was going to be really good too, and if I could ride him for eight seconds, I knew I’d have a chance to win that one, too.”
Those two finishes added $4,185 to his pocket and helped push his season earnings to $79,883 through mid-May, further delighting the talented teen.
“The last month was awesome,” he said. “Everything’s still clicking the way it has been all year, so I couldn’t be more happy with it. I’m healthy, and everything’s going perfectly right now.”
He preceded that week with a tie for third at the Buc Days ProRodeo in Corpus Christi, Texas, with an 89 on Frontier Rodeo’s Jumping Jack, and he also picked up a check at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Guthrie, Okla. The score in Corpus Christi was a nice surprise for Kimzey.
“He actually exceeded my expectations,” he said. “I saw my traveling partner, Garrett Smith, get on him in Montgomery, Ala., so I knew there was a chance for a big score there.”
As of May 19, Kimzey led Harris by $17,203 in the world standings. He has a full summer schedule planned and is having the time of his life hitting the rodeo trail hard.
“I couldn’t be looking toward the summer run more or be more happy with how my season’s been so far,” Kimzey said. “June and July are going to be absolutely crazy, and we’re going to try and go to as many as we can and try to qualify for the NFR.
“There’s no better life to live than living the rodeo life on the road. Experiencing everything at such a young age, it’s crazy and is the most fun life I could imagine.”
This is the second in a series of monthly articles featuring Sage Kimzey and his path toward the Wrangler NFR. Each month, NFR Insider Neal Reid will catch up with Kimzey to talk about his progress, successes and setbacks as the rodeo season marches on. Stay tuned for more about Kimzey.