In Laughlin, Spring Has Sprung


by Dusty Flank

It’s spring, the landscape looks new again (well, maybe not in Montana yet), and the upcoming Colorado River Chute Out is mainstreaming a rush of burgeoning talent to sunny Laughlin, Nevada. The venue itself also is a fresh start: the Chute Out is the very first event to be held at the brand-spanking-new Laughlin Event Center.

Everything’s coming up Sage Steele Kimzey right now; the 19-year-old has been poking the bear. Last year he rode more than half his bulls; so far this year he’s ridden nearly three-quarters of them, and scored a buckle in El Paso last month. Kimzey’s not the only new sprout on the CBR circuit, either: with traveling buddies Garrett Smith and Tanner Bothwell, he’s part of the Young And Gettin’ It crew. Smith and Bothwell are both scheduled to ride at the Chute Out, but Sage will not take part in this historic moment next to the turgid Colorado River due to a prior commitment.

Emerging from enforced hibernation after breaking his leg in Puyallup last fall for his first CBR event this year, is 2012 PRCA Rookie of the Year Trey Benton III. He says he’s not doing anything different in his riding. “It just got easier now that I’m not riding hurt. When you come back from an injury, nothing has changed, just time. If you can pick up where you were before you got hurt, it’s usually the best bet.” 

Trey hasn’t developed any particular rituals to do before he gets on a bull, either. “I get ready the same way every time.” He doesn’t slap his face like some other riders: “No, that hurts!” Though he doesn’t know anything about this weekend’s bulls, his short-go pick will be strategic: “I’ll pick the one I can score the most points on, and make money on, because that’s why I do it; I want to do my job. $25,000 in 24 seconds doesn’t sound too bad!” His recent 87.50-point win in Rodeo Austin’s Super Shootout is a harbinger of things to come—I hear he’s out to harvest some Sage this season.

Also set to ride are the perennials, 2010 CBR World Champion Luke Kelley and 2012 champ Josh Barentine, and the annuals: Aaron Pass, who last week reclaimed his #1 spot in the standings after Cody Teel’s week in the sun.

Blossoming bull team talent includes Bargain Bin (a Jeff Harris entry), whose 10 outs since last year give him an 80% buckoff rate. Former rider Evan Matthews is hauling the new bull team of Hydro-Tex, Pike, and Slama Jama for Michael Morales.  Hydro-Tex debuted in 2013, and has an 83% buckoff rate; Pike’s had a few selective outs since 2012 and is unridden. 


Roses are now in bloom in this part of the country—Guns-n-Roses, that is, and I’m not talking about the rock band. This outfit is the bull-team-hauling duo of Carolyn Talbert and Dawn Collom. “We are the roses, and we’re bringing the guns,” says Talbert. “We’re coming loaded, and bringing the firepower!” Those guns are Esteban, Womanizer and Pretty Boy. Esteban is from Collom Bucking Bulls, the other two bulls are owned by Summit ProRodeo; Greg Talbert is part-owner of Pretty Boy. 

Collom has a heads-up for the cowboys: “Esteban comes out of the gate to the left, and after three jumps, if the rider stays on him, he’ll go to the right. He’s an extreme athlete.” His buckoff rate has been jumping higher every year, and next year he’ll retire. Explains Collom, “I want him to go out with a bang, knowing that he still has it.”


Talbert says Womanizer is “a good honest bull that uses the same pattern.” That pattern helped Codrick Murphy to an 88.50 in the CBR’s recent Mulvane, KS event. As for Pretty Boy, she says he’s “very friendly and easy-going,” but “he comes around quick and has a strong whip on his back end.” 

The final salvo from Talbert: “We are bringing some outstanding bull athletes for the riders to match up to. Not only will the riders get a good score, the bulls will too. This is a win-win situation for riders and Guns-n-Roses.”


That groundhog told me he’s been looking forward to this Chute Out all winter.