Kimzey Bounces Back in Casper

CASPER, Wyo. – Some cowboys may have panicked after finding nothing but coal in their Cowboy Christmas stocking last week, but not Sage Kimzey.

The 19-year-old bull rider rebounded from a Grinch-like Fourth of July week to win the July 8-12 Central Wyoming Fair & PRCA Rodeo with a total of 166 points on two head.

Kimzey didn’t make a single penny during Cowboy Christmas, but the win in Casper was a nice pick-me-up.

“I didn’t stay on one bull all of Cowboy Christmas,” Kimzey said. “I drew some tough ones, and didn’t ride the ones I should have. It was tough to see everyone else winning money when I wasn’t, and it was starting to wear on me a bit. But that’s the great thing about rodeo – things can turn around for you real quick.”

Kimzey’s once very large lead in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings was cut to just $1,864 over defending World Champion J.W. Harris after the July 4 week.

The $4,611 Kimzey earned in Casper, along with the custom Montana Silversmiths spurs presented to each winner, offered him a boost in the standings, and also mentally.

“It was a really big win because I came off a very tough Fourth of July,” the Strong City, Okla., cowboy said. “This is a momentum deal. Having success and staying on two bulls was important, and it came at an opportune time. It’s always nice to win a big check at a great rodeo like this.”

Kimzey rode for 83 points in the first round, placing third, and then had an 84-point ride on Summit Pro Rodeo’s No. 6810 in the finals on July 12 to win the average by 10 points over Seth Glause.

Kimzey was the first bull rider out in the final round, which didn’t bother him one bit.

“My riding never changes, whether I’m first out or last out,” he said. “It’s nice going out first because there’s no added pressure. But it’s always nerve-wracking when you’re the first guy out and have to watch 10 other great bull riders go after you.”

He’s taking the win as an omen that things are about to get back to normal, which means winning big checks at rodeos for the rest of 2014.

“You can’t look at the standings at this time of the season because it’ll make you crazy,” Kimzey said. “There’s too much money left to get caught up in that. But this win should get me back on track and help me go into the summer riding well.”

Other winners at the $259,442 rodeo were all-around cowboy Josh Peek ($6,576 in tie-down roping and steer wrestling), bareback rider Ty Breuer (161 points on two head), steer wrestler Luke Branquinho (12.1 seconds on three head), team ropers Erich Rogers and Cory Petska (18.7 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss (168 points on two head), tie-down roper Marshall Leonard (26.6 seconds on three head) and barrel racer Kassidy Dennison (34.44 seconds on two runs).

3. Weekend highlights, July 7-13

  • Bull rider Reid Barker, who is fourth in the July 14 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, is out on a 30-day doctor’s release after suffering a fractured right orbital bone and a serious concussion at the Central Wyoming Fair & PRCA Rodeo in Casper. Joe Gunderson, a 2010 Wrangler NFR qualifying bareback rider, is expected to miss some time after suffering a severe groin strain in Casper. Bull riding permit holder Jeremy Jex, 35, suffered a fractured pelvis and a urethra tear at the Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo in Vernal, Utah. The Spanish Fork, Utah, native had won $450 on his permit before the injury, and is out indefinitely. Steer wrestler Brad Johnson is also out indefinitely after fracturing a bone in his lower left leg at the Sheridan WYO Rodeo.
  • Josh Peek, a steer wrestler and tie-down roper, had a huge weekend, earning a total of $9,545 in his two events. Peek made most of his money in Casper, where he won the all-around title with $6,576. Peek tied for the first round win in tie-down roping there, and would go on to finish fourth in the average, earning a total of $5,095 to go along with the $1,481 he collected in steer wrestling. Peek also earned $2,842 at the Sheridan WYO Rodeo – all in tie-down roping – after finishing third in the average with a time of 18.2 seconds on two head. In the July 14 world standings, Peek moved from 14th to 12th in the steer wrestling and shot up to 43rd in the tie-down standings. He also moved up four spots from eighth to fourth in the all-around standings.
  • If the name Josh Molnar doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because the 38-year-old bareback rider hasn’t rodeoed much in the past 15 years. Molnar, from The Dalles, Ore., bought his PRCA card in 1998, but had earnings of just $4,418 through 2013. This weekend, he won the Cheney (Wash.) Rodeo with a score of 80 points, and also won the Elgin (Ore.) Stampede, earning a total of $2,699. It was Molnar’s first PRCA win since he won in Toppenish, Wash., in 1997 on his permit. Molnar went to the College National Finals Rodeo three times (1997-99), but saw his promising rodeo career derailed by a rash of injuries from 1999-2003. After losing everything he owned in a fire in 2003, Molnar bought a fitness center in The Dalles, and has dedicated his life to running it ever since. Now, even at age 38, he’s ready for a comeback in rodeo. “I feel better physically now than I think I ever have,” Molnar said. “I feel as good as I did when I was 21, and I’m hoping to sell the gym I own and hit the road full-time starting next season. I never stopped wanting to rodeo, but was never in a position to be able to go. My tunnel vision now is focused on riding bucking horses.”
  • Saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss, who sat 19th in the world standings entering the weekend, picked up two huge wins which gave him a boost as he chases his sixth Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification. The Heflin, La., cowboy won both rounds and the average in Casper, with an average score of 168 points on two head. DeMoss rode for 85 points to win the first round, and then covered Mo Betta Rodeo’s Sioux City Sue for 83 points to win the final round. He earned a total of $4,950 in Casper, then won the Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo in Vernal, Utah, with an 85-point trip on Powder River Rodeo’s Rich N Fancy, earning another $3,892. He also tied for eighth place at the Sheridan WYO Rodeo, and moved nine spots in the world standings to 10th.
  • BRAZILE WATCH: Trevor Brazile cashed checks at two rodeos over the weekend, doing most of his damage in the steer roping. At the Laramie (Wyo.) Jubilee Days, Brazile won the second round and average title in steer roping, earning a total of $2,927, and also took home the all-around honors. Brazile then won money in all three of his events at the Sheridan WYO Rodeo en route to another all-around title. He finished fifth in the first round of the tie-down roping and eighth in the average, earning $1,502. Brazile and team roping partner Travis Graves split third in the first round, each earning $1,466, while Brazile also made $625 in steer roping. Brazile retained his lead in the steer roping world standings, while remaining second in the team roping heading standings. He fell from seventh to eighth in tie-down roping.
  • Aside from Brazile, the only man to pick up multiple all-around titles over the weekend was Kyle Whitaker. The six-time Linderman Award winner earned $3,189 at the Hamel (Minn.) Rodeo & Bull Ridin’ Bonanza, making money in two events. Whitaker won the first round of the steer wrestling with a time of 3.5 seconds, and also won the second round of the saddle bronc riding with a 79-point ride on his way to finishing second in the average. The Chambers, Neb., cowboy also won the all-around at the Heart of the North Rodeo in Spooner, Wis., where he tied for third in the saddle bronc riding and split eighth in the steer wrestling. Whitaker won his last Linderman in 2011, and the two men who have won it the last two years also picked up wins this weekend. Kyle Thomson, the 2012 winner, won the saddle bronc riding title at the Teepee Creek (Alberta) Stampede, while Trell Etbauer, the 2013 Linderman champ, won the all-around at the Silver State Stampede in Elko, Nev.

Courtesy of PRCA