For those that watch sports, some of the biggest stories every year revolve around the year’s crop of rookies. Will they live up to the hype? How will they perform?
Only two riders, Sage Kimzey (2014) and Clayton Baethege (2009) have won the CBR World Championship in their rookie season.
Being the new guy isn’t easy. It’s even harder when you’re entering a group as close-knit as bull riders who often live and travel together. It can be intimidating and challenging to make it on the professional tours, but these three top ranked CBR athletes did not let the rookie status stand in their way of success on this year’s Road to Cheyenne tour.
This year the rookies were in a league of their own winning five event titles on the 2016-17 Road to Cheyenne and earned $118,538 collectively. Three of the top six, and seven of the twenty-four World Finals qualifiers are classified as rookies. In addition to the fans adoration of the underdog, here are a few more good reasons why to love the CBR rookie lifestyle.
They are already living their dream.
Boudreau Campbell of Crockett, Texas began the year with drive and determination to not only make the CBR World Finals but contend for the title. He won two event titles, Hobbs, New Mexico and Salina, Kansas, a feat not done by a rookie since 2013 when Sage Kimzey stole the show winning El Paso and then Mulvane, Kansas tour stop in his rookie season.
Campbell finished the season riding 62.5 percent of the bulls he attempted on the Road to Cheyenne tour events. He rode 20 of the thirty two bulls and 8 times he rode his way into the final four man Shoot Out round – an astounding statistic for a rookie rider.
“CBR has been a good experience and a great place to start your pro career, Tuff always sees to it that we have good bulls and the CBR purses provide good money for a rookie,” said Campbell.
Eighteen year old Campbell began his rookie year with the first Road to Cheyenne event in Huron, South Dakota. Traveling 1,027 miles from home he made the first road trip with his Dad.
“I was a little nervous, but it was a good experience and a lot of fun,” continued the third ranked CBR rider.
After that run I went with Wyatt Rogers and Cory Atwell and we drove to the west coast run, Window Rock and Laughlin, it was fun, we stopped along the way and had a great time.
Campbell’s advice to the 2018 CBR class of rookies, “Don’t get ahead of yourself, take it one event at a time, one bull at a time, ride the one’s you draw and make the best of each bull and the rest will work out.”
Campbell is currently preparing for the summer rodeo run. He goes to the gym daily to stay in shape and gets on practice bulls. He is traveling with last year’s super star rookie Koby Radley this summer with his sights set on Cheyenne and finishing in the top 15 of the PRCA standings and qualifying his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
They are seeing the world…8 seconds at a time.
When Indian World Champion bull rider Cody Jesus from Sawmill, Arizona, won the average at the Rio Rancho tour stop on invitation of Tuff Hedeman, he had no idea that five days later he would be on his first airplane ride headed to Bossier City, Louisiana.
This eighteen year old had to learn quickly to navigate the airports and hail a cab (eighteen year olds cannot rent a car). Jesus had not traveled much but he made the most of his time traveling to five states before the regular season ended. After qualifying for the Road to Cheyenne in Rio Rancho, Jesus rode ten of the twenty-one bulls (48%) he attempted with his highest marked ride of the season coming from that launch site in Rio Rancho aboard Jerilyn Harmon’s 626 Karaoke for 92 points.
“Selecting your Shoot Out bull is one of the challenges when you get on tour, but Tuff and the other riders are always there to help you,” said Jesus during a radio interview in Las Vegas.
Jesus rides into the CBR World Finals in Cheyenne in the number six position.
No matter how old we get we love a good story
Jeff Askey rode three in a row and won the second CBR event he entered on the Road to Cheyenne tour. His October 1 Conroe, Texas championship title included a 91 point ride on Chad Berger’s Beast of Burden which propelled him on to the CBR tour and into the top five of the CBR’s world standings where his name has been perched for eight months. He will arrive at Cheyenne’s Frontier Park in the number four position on the CBR roster.
Askey competed ten times on the Road to Cheyenne and rode 12 of 19 bulls he attempted. He advanced to the final four man round four times where he won the round and the event twice – Conroe, Texas and Jackson, Tennessee.
Twenty-seven year old Jeff Askey qualified for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2016 where he used that momentum to return to the CBR tour in January winning the first stop in Jackson, Tennessee.
He capitalized on the fact that he was the hometown favorite as he attended and graduated from UT Martin, a college near Jackson. Askey has roots in Pennsylvania, yes they have bull riders in Pennsylvania, and found his way thru rodeo scholarship to the south and eventually to Athens, Texas where he resides currently.
Jeff has been riding professionally since 2010, but this is his first year on the Road to Cheyenne tour and to compete at the CBR World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days.
The rookies who qualified and will compete for the first time at the CBR World Finals are as follows:
Boudreaux Campbell, Crockett, Texas
Jeff Askey, Athens, Texas
Cody Jesus, Window Rock, Arizona
Caleb Sanderson, Halletsville, Texas
Bayle Worden, Charleston, Texas
Josh Frost, Randlett, Utah
Tyler Bingham, Honey Grove, Utah
Courtesy of CBR