CALGARY, Alberta – There aren’t many titles in professional bull riding more prestigious to win than the Calgary Stampede. A list of former champions is a who’s who in our sport.
2014 PRCA champion Sage Kimzey has now added his name to the list following a 6-for-6 showing at the Calgary Stampede.
“There’s no place that’s like the Stampede,” the Strong City, Oklahoma, bull rider said. “The history and prestige behind this event, there are very few that we go to throughout the year that can even hold a candle to this. You’re looking at one of the biggest, most prestigious, hardest to win rodeos of the year. Anybody that has won Calgary, you know they’ve really done something. It’s hard to win this one so it means a lot winning it.”
Kimzey clinched the victory Sunday with a 92.5-point ride on Bottle Rocket in the championship round. He earned $116,500 for his efforts after riding all six of his bulls in his five days of competition at the Stampede Fairgrounds.
“I had that Bottle at the NFR last year,” Kimzey said. “He was one of the two bulls that bucked me off down there. There was definitely a little bad blood there between me and him. Right out of there he kind of beat me out of the gate, he dang sure made me work for it. That bull really bucks. You got to have all your ducks in a row to get him rode.”
2013 PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney and Built Ford Tough Series regular Aaron Roy finished in second and third place after bucking offSheep Creek and Heavens Basement in the championship round.
Mauney split Sunday’s 10-man long round with Kimzey by riding Grand Slam for 88.5 points. However, Mauney’s bid for a third Calgary Stampede title came up short in the championship round.
“I let that last one slip away from me, I should have rode him all day,” Mauney said. “I made the wrong move and paid for it.”
Mauney takes a cool $31,500 back to North Carolina with him from the Stampede.
“Overall it was a pretty good Calgary, I guess. That ain’t bad for a week’s worth of work,” he joked.
Mauney plans to stay home until the Built Ford Tough Series resumes in Biloxi, Mississippi, on Aug. 7 after re-aggravating his torn left ACL on the first day of the Stampede.
“I’ve got to let this knee heal some more and probably go back and start doing some physical therapy a couple times a week to get it built up better again,” Mauney said. “I’ve kind of slacked off for the last month or so and hadn’t really worked it out. It’s obvious I need to, I guess.”
The knee isn’t the only issue though as his riding hand swelled up due to riding a pair of bulls today and attempting two more inside the chutes.
“Today I had a little bit of trouble with bulls in the chute there,” Mauney said. “That’s all a part of it. I was trying to get out of there and be quick in there. But some of them, they just don’t give you a chance. It kind of wore me down a bit.
“I’ve had problems with that hand, I broke it a couple years ago and had to put a plate in it. Ever since then if I get on more than one or two bulls a day it really gets to hurting, turns kind of blue and stuff on me.”
Hurting or not, Mauney is likely coming back to Calgary as long as they keep asking him.
“That’s what I told Sage the other day. When we first got here, I said: ‘Man, once you come one time then you’ll want to come back forever. They treat you so good here. The money is great and they usually have really good bulls to get on. It’s just a cool place to be here and watch then be riding in it. It’s great all the way around.”
Roy, who made what’s being called the comeback of the century in the 103-year history of the Calgary Stampede, finished third after being bucked off by Heavens Basement in the championship round.
The 28-year-old advanced to the championship round by riding Grey Area for 87 points in the long round.
“He’s a good little bull, he really wants you down in the well,” Roy said. “He’s a bit hard, but I kept scratching at him. I knew a whistle was going to get me to that final four so I Just gave it everything I had to get that whistle.
“It’s a great feeling every time you get to that final four. It means you’re one of the better riders out of the week.”
As one of the best riders of the week, Roy, who went 2-for-4 in Pool play, earned one of the biggest checks too, taking home $28,000 and a pile of momentum for the rest of the year.
“It’s really good,” Roy said. “If you do good at Calgary, it really gets you on a high for the rest of the year. I’m going go to some Touring Pros here till the Built Ford Tough’s start back up, be back on them and hopefully make the World Finals.”
From here it all looks to be smooth sailing after conquering the return to the arena in which his life-threatening accident took place.
“The first day kind of got to me, but after that it’s been all clear from there,” Roy said. “You’re here to do your job.
“It’s bull riding.”
Roy added that he is thankful for the support of his family in his decision to return to the sport earlier this year.
“Every time they get to come watch, I’m really happy they get to come out,” he concluded. “Hallie is the number one supporter of mine and to have Axel here it’s awesome.”
© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.