DUNCAN, Okla. – One season ago, Sage Kimzey was making quite a statement in his tryout season in professional rodeo.
Kimzey, a 19-year-old bull rider from Strong City, Okla., set a standard for permit-holders’ earnings in a single season with $47,726. Now a rookie in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, he’s setting the rodeo world on fire. Through late June, he has earned more than $86,000.
Of that, $15,109 has come in the Prairie Circuit, the ProRodeo region made up of contestants and events in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. That means he holds an overwhelming lead in the circuit standings and is on pace to repeat another feat he earned a season ago: Finishing the year as the Prairie Circuit Champion.
He’ll get his chance to do that and much more at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for Oct. 16-18, at the Stephens County Fair and Expo Center in Duncan.
“One of my goals this year was to try to win the circuit again this year,” said Kimzey, whose next closest competitor in the region is Brennon Eldred of Purcell, Okla., who is more than $10,600 behind. “The city of Duncan and the Chisholm Trail committee do an outstanding job hosting the circuit finals. The expo center is a great place to ride.”
The Prairie Circuit Finals also serves as a qualifier for the National Circuit Finals; the year-end and circuit finals average winners in each event advance to the national championship next spring, which will take place in Kissimmee, Fla.
Each championship is just another goal for Kimzey, who already this season has earned a share of the bull riding title at nine events, four of which came in the Prairie Circuit. He shared the title in Guymon, Okla., with a 92-point ride; the same weekend, he scored 91 points at the regular-season PRCA rodeo in Duncan. He also won titles in Tulsa, Okla., and Lincoln, Neb.
“Momentum is the most important thing in bull riding ad rodeo in general,” said Kimzey, who earlier this month finished second at the College National Finals Rodeo. “It’s such a mind game. You can fail 50 percent of the time, and you’re still a good bull rider in today’s world.”
He certainly is one of the best in the game this season, but he’s not alone. Three-event cowboy Trell Etbauer of Goodwell, Okla., leads the Prairie Circuit’s all-around standings, holding a $1,200 lead over the No. 2 man, 2005 all-around world champion Ryan Jarrett of Comanche, Okla. Etbauer won the steer wrestling title in North Platte, Neb., which concluded June 21.
Other standings leaders are bareback rider Caine Riddle of Vernon, Texas; steer wrestler Cole Edge of Durant, Okla.; team roping brothers Andrew and Reagan Ward of Edmond, Okla.; saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell of Coleman, Okla.; tie-down roper Bryson Sechrist of Apache, Okla.; barrel racer June Holeman of Arcadia, Neb.; and steer roper Chet Herren of Pawhuska, Okla.
They are well on their way to that coveted year-end championship, but they know it all rests on qualifying for the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo first.
“The circuit finals is the goal of almost everyone in our circuit,” Kimzey said.
So are championships.