By Tracy Renck
PENDLETON, Ore. – Since the calendar turned to August, reigning five-time PRCA World Champion Bull Rider Sage Kimzey has been on a tear.
That trend continued at the storied Pendleton Round-Up.
The Strong City, Okla., cowboy won the two-head average with 174.5 points, notching his third Pendleton title. Kimzey clinched the victory with a 90.5-point ride on Four Star Rodeo’s Hell Hound on Saturday.
“I had never seen that bull before,” said Kimzey, 25. “I had to look up some videos of him last night (Sept. 13) after the draw got done. I was excited to have him. He was a really nice bull. He kicked out, looked to the right and went left and that’s exactly what his MO was. He bucked really good, and it was a smooth ride, and all is well.”
He also was victorious in Pendleton in 2015 and 2016.
“It’s great,” Kimzey said. “Anytime you get a win at a rodeo of Pendleton’s caliber you’re always excited. There’s definitely something special about Pendleton. There are very few moments that just leave you speechless, and the victory lap at Pendleton is one of those moments.”
Kimzey kept himself in the mix to snare his latest Pendleton title with an 84-point ride on Outlawbuckers Rodeo’s Ray’s Last Jump in the long round Sept. 12. That qualified him for the 12-man short round.
Kimzey was leading the Sept. 9 PRCA | RAM World Standings with $232,646. He added to that total after earning $8,409 in Pendleton. On Aug. 31, he won his third consecutive Xtreme Bulls Tour title in Ellensburg, Wash., and earned $21,015.
“Since Aug. 1, I really turned it on, and it has been good,” Kimzey said. “At this point in the year it becomes a war of attrition and who wants it the most, and whenever it comes down to that, there are not a whole lot of guys who are willing to give as much as what I am.”
Kimzey has no plans of slowing down before the end of the PRCA regular season Sept. 30.
“The bottom line is my occupation is a professional bull rider, and if I’m sitting at the house, I’m not getting paid,” Kimzey said. “As long as there are good rodeos and good bulls to go get on, I’m going to be there if I’m able to.”
If Kimzey does win his sixth consecutive world championship, he will tie legendary Jim Shoulders’ PRCA record of six consecutive bull riding titles, set in 1954-59.
“I’m really excited to get back to the Finals (Wrangler National Finals Rodeo),” Kimzey said. “The whole thing is just really fun and a lot different than the year-long grind we go through. This is another journey to the NFR. Every year it seems like I tweak my routine a little bit, just to try and make it better, and this year it will be no different.”
Steer wrestler Jesse Brown set a Pendleton record with his 3.7-second run in the finals. The previous record was 3.8 seconds by K.C. Jones in 2001. Brown went on to win the rodeo with a three-head time of 14.8 seconds.
Other winners at the $540,649 rodeo were all-around cowboy Trevor Brazile ($14,131, tie-down roping, team roping and steer roping); bareback rider Tilden Hooper (174 points on two head); team ropers Jason Stewart/Calgary Smith (17.1 seconds on three head); saddle bronc rider Colt Gordon (175 points on two head); tie-down roper Riley Pruitt (28.4 seconds on three head); steer roper Landon McClaugherty (46.5 seconds on three head); and barrel racer Cheyenne Allan (57.59 seconds on two head).
Courtesy of PRCA