SAN ANGELO, Texas – Sage Kimzey didn’t need any more motivation, but he found it anyway.
Kimzey, the reigning four-time world champion bull rider from Strong City, Okla., was sidelined for more than a month after suffering a fractured pelvis. He returned Sunday afternoon with a vengeance, matching moves with Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Lonesome You for 91 points to take the first-round lead at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo.
“Being away refreshed my outlook on the sport,” said Kimzey, who earned more than $1 million riding bulls in 2017, with $436,479 coming in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. “Nobody likes being away from something they love.
“When you are hurt, there are those little voices of doubt that come into your head. But to get on a bull that bucks really hard and ride it like the injury never happened, it did worlds for my morale and my attitude toward the sport of bull riding.”
Kimzey has been outspoken that his primary goal in rodeo is to surpass Don Gay with the most bull riding world championships in ProRodeo history. Gay, who rode in the 1970s and ’80s, has eight. Kimzey is already halfway there and just celebrated his 23rd birthday in December.
He spent five weeks on the injured list and is excited to be back in the game he loves. His ride Sunday guarantees his spot in Friday’s championship round, which will feature only the top 12 contestants in each event from the preliminary rounds.
“That bull had a really good trip today,” he said of Lonesome You. “I was really glad to have him. He definitely bucked hard. If you’re in the right spot, he’s the kind of bull that you can make a good ride on. He has a lot of up and down, so if you stub you’re toe, he’ll definitely make you pay for it.”
Now in just his fifth year, Kimzey has ridden 66 percent of his bulls. Compare that to other world champions, and it is a big number. Four-time champ J.W. Harris has a 52 percent riding percentage in his career, and PBR world champion J.B. Mauney is at 55 percent.
Not only was his return to competition key, but so was finding success. He hasn’t always been at the top in this west Texas town.
“I’ve always done terrible here,” said Kimzey, who was one of four contestants to move into the lead Sunday – he was joined by barrel racer Tyra Kane, who has a two-run cumulative time of 30.41 seconds; tie-down roper Blane Cox, a two-run time of 15.7 seconds; and Wade Sundell, who scored 88.5 points on Powder River Rodeo’s Morning Tea. “I’ve been knocked out once and had ribs separated here. This gets the ball rolling. This is only the second bull I’ve been on since m injury, so it’s good to come out here and ride well.”
He will compete Tuesday-Thursday in San Antonio, then return to San Angelo for the championship night, where all the winners will be crowned for 2018.
“The short-go is where everybody wants to be,” he said. “This not only locks me into the short round, but it also gives me a really good shot to win San Angelo. That’s when all the chips will be in.
“All the bulls will be good. The rodeo’s always good because the contractor always has good bulls for us, and the people really get into the rodeo. It’s a lot different than most rodeos we go to. The people in San Angelo have a Western background, and they love the sport of rodeo.”
After five weeks on the shelf, Sage Kimzey has returned to the sport he loves, too.
San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo
Feb. 2-4, Feb. 9-11, Feb. 14-16
Bareback riding leaders: 1. Luke Creasy, 86.5 points on Lancaster and Jones’ Total Equine’s North Country; 2. David Peebles, 85.5; 3. (tie) Will Lowe, Tanner Aus and Justin Pollmiller, 85; 6. Richmond Champion, 84; 7. J.R. Vezain, 83.5; 8. Kaycee Feild, 82.5; 9. (tie) BoDell Jessen and Wyatt Denny, 82; 11. (tie) Jake Brown and Tilden Hooper, 81.
Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Dakota Eldridge, 3.1 seconds; 2. (tie) Brandon Harrison and Cameron Morman, 3.5; 4. (tie) John Kloeckler, Jarret New and Rowdy Parrott, 3.7; 7. (tie) Clayton Hass and Bridger Anderson, 3.8. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Dirk Tavenner, Clayton Hass, Jacob Talley and Cody Devers, 3.4 seconds; 5. Chason Floyd, 3.5; 6. (tie) Sam Powers and Cade Staton, 3.6; 8. Denver Berry, 3.8. Average leaders: 1. Dakota Eldridge, 7.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Clayton Hass, 7.2; 3. Jacob Talley, 7.5; 4. Sam Powers, 7.7; 5. Blake Mindemann, 7.9; 6. Denver Berry, 8.2; 7. (tie) Tyler Waguespack, Blaine Jones and Cameron Morman, 8.5; 10. Scott Guenthner, 8.6; 11. (tie) Tyler Pearson and Will Lummus, 8.7.
Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Steven Duby/Evan Arnold, 3.6 seconds; 2. Tanner Green/Cody Hogan, 3.8; 3. Brock Hanson/Ryan Motes, 3.9; 4. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, (tie) Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins II, J.B. James Jr/Cesar de la Cruz and Bobby Baize/Justin Fox, 4.1. Second round leaders: 1. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 3.6 seconds; 2. Bubba Buckaloo/Joseph Harrison, 3.8; 3. Luke Brown/Jake Long and Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp, 3.9; 5. (tie) Tom Richards/Jake Smith, Tyler Mangus/Truman Leo Mangus, Colby Lovell/Ty Arnold and Colby Lovell/Ty Arnold, 4.0. Average: 1. Steven Duby/Evan Arnold, 8.2 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Clay Smith/Paul Eaves and Tom Richards/Jake Smith, 8.3; 4. Brock Hanson/Ryan Motes, 8.4; 5. (tie) Paul David Tierney/Tanner Braden and Dustin Egusquiza/Kory Koontz, 9.5; 7. (tie) Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter and Tyler Wade/Trey Yates, 9.0; 9. (tie) Logan Olson/Matt Kasner and Tyler Waters/Britt Bockius, 9.2; 11. Tate Kirchenschlager/Tyler Worley, 9.5; 12. Lane Ivy/Buddy Hawkins II, 13.1.
Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Wade Sundell, 88.5 points on Powder River Rodeo’s Morning Tea; 2. Ryder Wright, 85.5; 3. Audy Reed, 84.5; 4. (tie) Sterling Crawley and Clay Elliott, 84; 6. Rusty Wright, 81.5; 7. Lefty Holman, 80.5; 8. (tie) James Greeson and Shade Etbauer, 80; 10. Layton Green, 79.5; 11. (tie) Isaac Diaz and Troy Crowser, 79.
Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Weldon Watson, 7.1 seconds; 2. Scott Kormos, 7.3; 3. (tie) Cory Solomon and Westyn Hughes, 7.7; 5. (tie) Blane Cox, Zack Jongbloed and Cody Huber, 7.8; 8. Cody Craig, 7.9. Second round: 1. Tuf Cooper, 7.0 seconds; 2. Trevor Brazile, 7.4; 3. Michael Perry, 7.7; 4. Cade Swor, 7.8; 5. (tie) Blane Cox and Garrett Jacobs, 7.9; 7. (tie) Trent Creager, Hunter Herrin and Ryan Watkins, 8.0; 8. Brent Walden, 8.2. Average: 1. Blane Cox, 15.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Scott Kormos, 16.2; 3. Hunter Herrin, 16.3; 4. Timber Moore, 16.9; 5. (tie) Weldon Watson and Zack Jongbloed, 17.42; 7. (tie) Michael Perry and D.J. Parker, 17.52; 9. Marcus Theriot, 17.6; 10. L.D. Meier, 17.7; 11. Brice Ingo, 17.8; 12. Garrett Jacobs, 18.0.
Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Teri Bangart, 14.21 seconds; 2. Cindy Smith, 14.27; 3. Carman Pozzobon, 14.28; 4. Tyra Kane, 14.30; 5. Kaycie Teague, 14.35; 6. Sissy Winn, 14.39; 7. Alex Lang, 14.40; 8. Callahan Crossley, 14.41; 9. (tie) Kelli Barichello and Madeline Dickens, 14.44. Average leaders: 1. Tyra Kane, 30.41 seconds on two runs; 2 Cindy Smith, 30.50; 3. Kim Coleman, 30.53; 4. (tie) Sissy Winn and Alex Lang, 30.54; 6. Carman Pozzobon, 30.56; 7. (tie) Teri Bangart and Kimberly Cockrell, 30.59; 9. Callahan Crossley, 30.62; 10. Katy Petska, 30.66; 11. Lindsay Sears, 30.68; 12. Carley Richardson, 30.71.
Bull riding leaders: 1. Sage Kimzey, 91 points on Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Lonesome You; 2. Trey Benton III, 90.5; 3. Jordan Wacey Spears, 88.5; 4. Tyler Bingham, 87; 5. J.W. Harris, 86.5; 6. Ednei Caminhas, 85.5; 7. J.T. Moore, 85; 8. Austin Patterson, 84; 9. (tie) Colten Gardner and Garrett Tribble, 83; 11. Nate Perry, 82; 12. Dustin Muncy, 81.5.