Championship Bull Riding Brings the #1 and #2 Bull Riders in the World to Del Rio Super Bull

On April 24th for the 38th consecutive year Tuff Hedeman, the Championship Bull Riders, and the bred to buck you off beasts they climb on, will arrive in Del Rio, Texas, home to the celebrated George Paul Memorial (GPM) the world’s longest continuous stand-alone bull riding. Named in memory of George Paul, the bull rider that still holds the world record for the bull rider with the most consecutive bull rides, 79 in 1968, the annual two day bull riding is a ritual for bull riding fans and western lifestyle enthusiasts in South Texas.

Headlining this year’s event is the #1 bull rider in the world Sage Steele Kimzey, versus the #2, Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas. Teel and Kimzey, both Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association World Champions, will be battling for bragging rights of being the top ranked bull rider of the Mahindra CBR Road to Cheyenne tour heading into the CBR World Finals held in conjunction with the historic Cheyenne Frontier Days on July 21 – 22.  But to keep their top rankings, both will have to get past several world champions, a few on fire rookies and a former George Paul Memorial Bull Riding Champion. 

Making his second trip to the border town, Sage Steele Kimzey, the 2014 CBR and Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association World Champion will be riding in both performances in Del Rio. While riding 63% of his bulls in 2014 the twenty year old Kimzey was only the second rookie to win the PRCA title. In addition he broke the PRCA record for rookie earnings by more than $100,000, broke the record for the most money won in a season, rode 8 of his 10 bulls at the National Finals Rodeo, was the recipient of the 2014 RAM Top Gun Award, and 4 of his CBR finals rides were 90 point plus rides. 

Planning every day, all year round, for 120 minutes of bull riding time in the arena, is the passion of event founder Bobby Paul. Building relationships, providing entertainment, and creating commerce for the citizens of Del Rio is Paul’s challenge in producing this year’s edition of the memorial bull riding sanctioned by Championship Bull Riding (CBR). The event created by Paul as a tribute to his brother,  World Champion bull rider George Paul, who died in a plane crash on his way to rodeo in 1970.

After 37 years of welcoming friends, family and the ranchers from neighboring communities Bobby Paul refers to the last stop of the twelve month CBR regular season schedule as a family reunion.  Families have been gathering at this bull riding for 37 years. Seats and boxes are owned and often passed down to the next generation. “We respect our patrons wishes”, says Paul, regarding patronage to the yearly event at the Val Verde Fairgrounds.

Saturday night is Laughlin Air Force night as Bobby Paul welcomes civilians and military from the base to come enjoy special seating and discounts at the bull riding. Riding this year for the first time in the history of the CBR is a recently retired member of the United States Army, Juan Alonzo. Alonzo from Westlaco, Texas, served one tour in Afghanistan while keeping in shape working towards fulfilling on his dream of becoming a professional cowboy. 

A special presentation featuring the 47th Security Forces Squadron military working dogs will take place during intermission. These Military working dogs bring special skills and abilities to security forces squadrons around the Air Force. The dogs know smells and they are useful in finding targets.

With 3,550 outs since 1977, the George Paul Memorial Bull Riding began as a day of bull riding following a three day Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s (PRCA) rodeo. With over 60 bull riders entering the first year’s Sunday performance of the “bull s only” format, the stand alone bull riding competition was born in Del Rio, Texas.  Fast forward 38 years and the legendary event once referred to as “The Super Bull” has evolved into a two day tournament style format with over 81 electrifying outs. 

Some say change is inevitable, and Paul is quick to reminisce when asked about former riders, contractors, specialty acts and traditions such as the “hard luck” award once won by Lane Frost, but Bobby Paul is a purist when it comes to one particular custom.

As one of the most coveted items a bull rider can win, the GPM buckle has not changed since the first edition, a fact that is important to Bobby Paul. “Each year the manufacturer tries to get me to update the look, each year I stand firm in the original design”, said Paul overlooking the crowd gathering at the annual Ramada Inn kickoff party.  “George is gone, but the things he stood for, the things he is remembered for, death can never kill”, said Paul. 

The bull riding will take place on Friday and Saturday night, April 24-25, 2015. Tickets may be purchased by debit or credit card by phone, 830-775-9595 or in person at the George Paul Memorial Bull Riding office at the Val Verde County Fairgrounds.