El Paso, This year’s Pass to the World

El Paso is not just the seventh stop of the Mahindra Road to Cheyenne Tour. El Paso is an adventure. For ten bull riders it is an adventure waiting to be discovered. We can’t possibly enumerate all of El Paso’s charm and secrets with a few words and a few pictures, but the pace and aura of this event is noteworthy of a little hype. 

Great bull riders who have an El Paso championship buckle, either on their belt or on the mantel, include Cooper Kanngiesser, 2009 Champion, Clint Craig, currently a bull riding analyst on the CBR Fox broadcast, was the 2010 winner. Craig Jackson, the only rider to win it twice (2011,2012) was preceded by Jared Long in 2013 and Sage Kimzey is the reigning champ from 2014. 

The undisputed number one bull rider for two consecutive years in the first quarter of the Championship Bull Riding Season is Aaron Pass.  Pass, who is in the exact same slot he was last year coming into El Paso, is the CBR’s number one gunner for at least one more day.  

Only 1.5 points separate the two time NFR round winning Pass and CBR rookie Brennon Eldred who also won a round at prorodeo’s last hurrah of the year. Eldred, a Sulphur, Oklahoma cowboy, ignited the crowd a few weeks ago winning his first Tour event in Hobbs.  

Eight points off the lead is the man who creates magic when he nods his head at the El Paso County Coliseum. Part of the original “Houston Solution”, Craig Jackson won El Paso in 2011 and 2012, “C. Jack” is a celebrity in the border down, you can usually find this rap artist autographing CD’s during the Tailgate Down party. 

But Craig might not want to get too comfortable in that #3 position because the 2012 PRCA Champ of the world, Cody Teel from Kountze, Texas is just 10.5 points off the lead. Teel went three for three to win Rio Rancho, the second stop in New Mexico on the 2015 tour.

Bringing up the rear of the top five is Rookie sensation Wyatt Rogers, who lost a few notches in the Standings this week after making the Final Four Shootout Rounds in all three of his first three appearances on the Mahindra Road to Cheyenne tour. Rogers who is also a star basketball player on his high school team, failed to get a qualified ride last week in Rio Rancho. This is his first trip to El Paso, so the eighteen year old will have to prove himself to this bull riding savvy crowd. 

The next five are all within striking distance of Aaron Pass. Rookies Taryl Smith and Lane Toon occupy the sixth and seventh rankings while NFR cowboy and winner of the season opener this year in Jackson, TN, Elliot Jacoby is at #8.  2012 CBR World Champion Josh Barentine is 9th with Chandler Bownds holding down the 10th position.  

If you like playing the odds, a good bet would be on Weslaco’s Juan Alonzo. Alonzo, recently retired from the United States Army, is three for four since his first event just three weeks prior. Alonzo, who is proud of his Mexican heritage, is excited to ride for the first time in front of what is sure to be a hometown crowd for the newbie.  

The Casa Ford Tuff Hedeman Championship Bull Riding is the event that signifies the halfway mark of the Mahindra Road to Cheyenne Tour and one of the favorite venues for fans, riders, contractors and staff. The coliseum explodes with enthusiasm each and every time a cowboy hears the whistle.  With the entire top ten rankings of the tour at stake tomorrow night, the 2015 Casa Ford Tuff Hedeman Championship Bull Riding will once again be the hottest ticket in town.  

Twenty- year old CBR and PRCA World Champion Sage Steele Kimzey, is also set to ride in hopes of defending his title. The El Paso event is special to Kimzey. Winning his first Tour buckle here last year, El Paso served as the launch pad to his 2014 CBR World Championship, which he won in July.  The young cowboy from Strong City, Oklahoma would then would go on to rewrite the rodeo record books last December at the National Finals Rodeo. 

With 30 years of bull riding history on his resume, Tuff Hedeman is one of the most recognizable cowboys in the history of rodeo, but he defers to the young super star that is currently the CBR and PRCA World Champion, as the best bull riding talent he has seen in over 15 years. 

“Kimzey is a rare talent who rides fundamentally flawless,” said Tuff Hedeman, the 4 time World Champion who now produces the nationally televised Mahindra Road to Cheyenne Tour events. “He puts forth incredible effort each time he pulls his rope,” continued Hedeman.  

The former 4 time world titled Hedeman, who has been around town all week making final preparations for the extravaganza invites everyone to a meet and greet tonight at 8 pm at the Casino at Sunland Park Racetrack in Sunland Park; 5 p.m. Saturday is the Tailgate Down Party, featuring the music by The Chris Baker Band at the El Paso Coliseum, 4100 E Paisano; Saturday, Official After Party follows the competition at the Tumbleweed Saloon, 1610 Sioux.

Come early and enjoy the music and the great shopping, products and autograph opportunities featuring the Evan Williams Bourbon Bullfighters. 

This year’s event is the seventh stop on the Mahindra Championship Bull Riding’s (CBR) Road to Cheyenne Tour which pits the industry’s elite riders against the best bulls in a three round tournament style action with this year’s intermission entertainment featuring the Escaramuza Charra Villa Dorada, a ladies horseback team. 

There are three rounds of action and the only way for cowboys to earn a paycheck is to ride better than the rest of the 24-man field.  The field of competition, which starts with 24 riders, then 12 and finally 4 in the Shootout where they will battle for the lion’s share of $30,000 in prize money. 

In addition to lucrative prize money, bull riders accumulate points which qualify them for the World Finals, part of the legendary Cheyenne Frontier Days celebration held in Wyoming next July. At the end of the World Finals, the contestant who has the most points will be crowned the World Champion and receive a $100,000 bonus.   

CBR has become known for their action-packed performances that keep fans on the edge of their seats and with a new show debuting in El Paso, this year’s event is set to impress. From having great bulls matched up with super star riders, to upbeat music and enthusiastic fans there is something for everyone at the Casa Ford Tuff Hedeman Championship Bull Riding.

Advance tickets are available at starting at $15 with a variety of options available.