Leading the world standings can be a daunting and tiresome task, but teenage bull rider Sage Kimzey seems poised and at ease with the challenge.
Kimzey was relaxed and content while talking about his season on a rare day off on Tuesday. He was with traveling partners enjoying the beauty of Yellowstone National Park after riding in the Cody-Yellowstone (Wyo.) Xtreme Bulls stop on Monday night.
He didn’t have any luck there, but feels good about how his season has progressed.
“It’s still been good coming into the summer run,” said Kimzey, who led the world standings with $86,881 through June.
Kimzey took a week off from pro rodeos to compete in the College National Finals Rodeo, June 15-21, where he finished second to Joe Frost of Oklahoma Panhandle State University. Sometimes it’s easy to forget Kimzey is a 19-year-old college kid who’s still taking classes at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
His stellar season has continued in the past month-and-a-half, and Kimzey has picked up some solid checks along the way. A 91-pointer on Four L & Diamond S Rodeo’s bull Highway at the Southwestern International PRCA Rodeo in El Paso, Texas, in early June netted him a winner’s check for $2,623, and he pocketed another $2,589 for tying for second at the Redding (Calif.) Rodeo in mid-May.
“That bull is really good, and I’ve seen him a couple times,” Kimzey said of Highway. “He’s just one of those good bulls (you want).”
Since then, he took some time off to rest a sore riding arm and then went to nod his head at the collegiate crescendo.
“I’ve only been to three pro rodeos in the last three weeks,” Kimzey said. “You can get a little run down when you’re getting on as many as I am, that’s for sure. I’m just getting healthy for the summer run and making sure everything’s perfect.
“Everything’s back to normal and back to healthy.”
The rest has done him well, and Kimzey is ready for a busy Fourth of July run for Cowboy Christmas.
“It isn’t crazy, but it’s pretty busy,” Kimzey said of his travel schedule. “I’ll go to St. Paul, Livingston, Red Lodge, Cody, Prescott and Belle Fourche. It’s not crazy, but it’s not calm either, that’s for sure.”
Even though he’s atop the world standings, the temptation to take it easy and go to only the big rodeos is one that Kimzey has not let deter him from his overall plan. He still expects to compete hard and often in the coming months as he builds his bank account.
“I’ll try to find a real good middle point of keeping my body healthy, but also getting on a lot of bulls to win as much money as possible,” said Kimzey, who led four-time World Champion J.W. Harris by $17,179 heading into July. “I’ll just try to find some common ground there and balance it out, and we’ll see where it comes.
“One of the reasons I’m successful is that I ride a high percentage of them, and it’s not that I’ve got the flashiest style or anything. I’m going to go to as many (rodeos) as possible. I’m not going to do the Cody Ohl thing and just go to 40 rodeos, that’s pretty special what he does.”
Considering Kimzey is still a hungry teen riding the crest of a great and powerful wave this season, it should come as no surprise that he’s raring to go hard in July and August. That hunger – not to mention raw talent – is what has gotten him to the top, and he’s bound and determined to stay there for the foreseeable future.
This is the third 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.