By: Justin Felisko
ARLINGTON, Texas – Reigning PRCA champion Sage Kimzey may no longer be competing at the 2020 WinStar World Casino and Resort Global Cup USA, presented by Monster Energy, this weekend, but the No. 1 bull rider in the PRCA is in fact still riding Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
That is because that nod goes to Team Australia’s Ky Hamilton.
The extremely talented 19-year-old has gotten off to quite the fast start in the PRCA this year and, as of Friday morning, it was Hamilton holding a slim lead on the PRCA leaderboard with $31,719.61 in earnings.
Hamilton’s focus this weekend, though, will be trying to help lead Australia to its first Global Cup victory after he went 1-for-1 in his only showing at the Sydney Global Cup.
“I am pretty excited for it,” Hamilton said. “We have a pretty good pen of bulls, and I think we will be ready to roll.”
The members of Team Australia, including head coach Troy Dunn, all believe Hamilton is that much more ready for the bright stage of the Global Cup following his Sydney debut, when he was one of the last riders selected for the 16-man squad.
“He is a lot more consistent,” Dunn said Thursday during rider check-in at AT&T Stadium. “He sends me a lot of his rides and I see what he is doing. He is moving ahead leaps and bounds. He can ride bulls either way. He is not one-dimensional. He looks like he can ride any kind of bull. That is important. He rides the up-and-down ones, and rides the spinners well.”
Hamilton moved to the United States a month after the Sydney Global Cup and is now enrolled at Sul Ross State University.
The Mackay, Australia, native said moving to the U.S., and spending a summer living at PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert’s last year, have all led to him improving and developing into a more sound bull rider.
“I guess just over time getting on more bulls and being around the right people has helped me a lot,” Hamilton said. “Being able to go stay with Cody over the summer last year is what really has helped my riding go to the next level.
“I have been over here so long that now I am used to everything, and I know what to expect. These big events, I like them. I don’t have to pump myself up as much. I can let the event do it. I think it works in my favor.”
Hamilton has been paired up against Smokin Gun for Round 1 on Saturday night. Team USA Eagle Boudreaux Campbell rode Smokin Gun for 87.5 points at the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour event in Denver last month.
Fans can watch Round 1 exclusively on RidePass beginning at 7:45 p.m. ET.
Hamilton is 15-for-32 (46.88%) this season, according to the PRCA’s website. He most recently posted an 80-point ride at the Dixie National Rodeo in Jackson, Mississippi, this week. Last month, Hamilton made some noise at the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth with an 89-point ride on Soy El Fuego.
Dunn believes Hamilton’s decision to move to the United States was the best thing for his career. He connected Hamilton with Lambert when he asked him for help in finding a place to live during the summer college break.
“The big thing over here is you are getting on all the time,” Dunn said. “With what he does with his college and PRCA, he is getting on all the time. That was how our generation got prepared for PBR bulls when they came along: you get on the better ones every weekend. Us older generation went through the ringer in the PRCA getting on 150 bulls for a few years before PBR came along.”
Hamilton said he still talks frequently with Lambert and will send the PBR co-founder videos.
“I was getting a little too technical with a few things, and he brought it back to being square and staying in the middle, and making sure you get to the middle every jump and finish there,” Hamilton said. “That has helped me a lot. I guess you always have to hold yourself accountable, but he really makes you hold yourself accountable. Not only does he expect you to ride everything, but he instills in yourself to expect to ride everything. Little things that I may have done wrong riding, he keeps it so basic and straight to the point. It is not rocket science. It is just riding a bull. You just have to stay in the middle and do your job every time. There is no excuse. You should ride everything you get on.”
While the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is still 10 months away, Hamilton is looking more and more like he is capable of qualifying for the first time.
Time will tell if Hamilton can challenge Kimzey for the PRCA throne, but he does plan on riding in the PBR full-time as well in due time.
“These are building blocks,” Hamilton said. “I always have wanted to make the NFR, and I figured I should do that first. By doing that, I will be more experienced and ready to go into the PBR one day.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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