Phenom Sage Kimzey Takes El Paso Title

EL PASO, Texas  -  Feb. 8, 2014  -  Fans were not the only people on fire tonight at the El Paso County Coliseum at the 9th Annual Casa Ford Tuff Hedeman West Texas Shootout presented by Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino. Bull riders from two countries and ten states lined the chutes delivering what was an electrifying show for the capacity crowd. But at the end of the night it was Sage Steele Kimzey, the nineteen year old rising star from Strong City, Okla., who was crowned champion by a close family friend. "Tuff's known me before I even knew him and he told me to just go do what I do," said Kimzey referring to Tuff Hedeman, the four-time champ of the world who once called El Paso home.  

In just his fourth event on Championship Bull Riding's Road to Cheyenne Tour, Kimzey, the son of former Wrangler National Finals clown and barrel man Ted Kimzey, grew up in rodeo and had a little help from an old friend in beating four former world champions on the Championship Bull Riding El Paso roster.  Kimzey, who drew two bulls from Brad Vogele and Silver Creek Pro Rodeo, had this to say about his draws: "I have known Brad Vogele a long time and he always brings good bulls to town; the first bull, American Gangster, was a young bull who went up and down and around to the left, then really blew up and was really wild...the fans were outstanding here jumping around and really spurring us on." Kimzey was awarded 90.5 points, the highest score of the first round and one that guaranteed him a spot in the final four shoot out round. It also tied for the highest marked ride of the event.

The first round featured 25 bull riders, 16 of whom were successful with an average score of 87.7 points. It took an 87-point ride to advance to the semi-finals where two of 12 were successful. 

Cody Teel, from Kountze, Texas, the 2012 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion, rode Chris Knapp and Flip Em' Off Bucking Bull's CR Corpus Red for 90.5, matching Kimzey's earlier score. Teel, who commented between rounds that he was looking forward to getting on CR for the first time would be just one of two cowboys to make the whistle in the semifinals.  Neil Holmes from Houston, Texas, was 90 points on Rawson and Probst's Bandito's Gold. The other two riders that advanced to the final four shootout round based on their first round scores were Kimzey and the 2011 CBR world champion Clayton Foltyn from El Campo, Texas.  

Kimzey was the only rider to get a score in the shootout round when he rode Brad Vogele's Gypsy Road for 86.5 points. 

"My final ride came down to two bulls in the draft and one was Brad Vogele's and I didn't really know the other bull, but I have known Vogele for a long time and he is a really good stock contractor and always brings good bulls to town and I asked him about Gypsy Road and he said he will be right to the right and should be right in your wheelhouse and he was. I rode him for 86 points and I am taking home a pile of money." said Kimzey. That pile netted him exactly $18,000, a much needed paycheck for a 19-year-old that has been burning up the highways going to 30 rodeos and CBR events in 2014 and is a student at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford. 

There was a new player atop the leader board for the seventh stop of Million Dollar Bull Team Challenge. Flip Connolly's Flip Em off bucking bulls of Decatur, Texas was pleased with the bulls representing his team.  "We love El Paso and we are so proud and blessed," said Flip Connolly holding his first super-sized bull team check.  Shortly after purchasing the franchise bull team in early 2013, Connolly decided to partner with J.C. Knapp, of Mansfield, Texas, and their second effort together proved to be the winning combination.  "Bring the rank ones and hope they ride them for big scores," said Knapp when asked how he selects his bulls when competing against the best bull men in the business.  Spotted Warfare and veteran rider Neil Holmes were a perfect match in round one for 88 points to lead off the team's quest for their first team win.  Memphis Blues, the team's second bull out, was awarded an 89 point bull score for his rank efforts in bucking off Tyler Adrian.  With a combination bull score of 90 points for Corpus Red and a 90.5 rider score posted by Cody Teel, the team rolled thru the semi-final round picking up the additional award of High Marked Ride.  Team Exclusive Genetics and Whisnant's High Point Bull 2675 Flab Slab earned a rank bull score of 91.5 as he bucked off Corey Atwell in the semi-finals round.


Contact: Leigh Ann Schroeder