Mahindra Young Gun Corey Bailey Goes Three for Three to Win Fort Worth CBR

The man, the story, the legacy of great bull riding lives on each April at the Fort Worth Cowtown Coliseum in a storied competition that once again earned  its reputation as a distinctive piece of  history in the sport of bull riding. The bricks along Exchange Street in front of the Cowtown Coliseum hold a lot of history. Wherever you find yourself in Fort Worth, there is a western heritage souvenir begging to go home with you and Corey Bailey of Paris, Tennessee took home the biggest and the best keepsake available, the Tuff Hedeman Championship Challenge gold buckle.

“I love the atmosphere at this event, it is so inspiring, and this being my first event to win, and its special in this building, the history, and it’s so prestigious. Tuff’s event is on every bull rider’s list of things to accomplish and it feels so great to get it under my belt”, said Bailey, clutching his recently acquired gold buckle won on the 11th stop of the Mahindra Road to Cheyenne tour.   

Corey Bailey fought past four world champions to earn his first Mahindra Road to Cheyenne event title since joining the tour in 2013. He did not win round one or two, but when it mattered most, Bailey excelled. Riding three bulls he had never attempted, Bailey was the third man qualified on an average score of 179.5 putting him in the number two position going into the Shootout Round. Riding with a world champion, a finals average winner, and another Mahindra young gun who was looking for his first Road to Cheyenne tour win, Bailey would succeed.

Fueled by the realization that only two stops remain to qualify for CBR Road to Cheyenne World Finals, a total of nineteen qualified rides were posted in the same arena that Hedeman first produced the original stand-alone bull riding in 1992 that serves as the benchmark of the industry. 

The bull riders took an early lead against the bulls in round one where ten of the 28 bull riders heard the whistle and three 90 point plus rides were earned. Neil Holmes, Houston, Texas, took command early scoring 90 points as the first man out. Jared Long countered with an 87 point ride to begin the night.  There were four of the ten qualified rides after section one, with fan favorite Chandler Bownds thrilling the capacity crowd with a 91 point score on Jayne’s Painkiller. Bownds, enjoying his consistency with CBR in 2015, continues to rise in the standings posting scores in seven of the nine events he entered and riding at 54% in 2015. Tour veterans and South Dakota bull riding brothers, Ardie and Corey Maier, would both survive section two with 85 and 88 points rides, but the #2 ranked and two time event winner, Brennon Eldred, would come down early on Rawson’s Jailhouse Socks. Riding in the “most impressive try” section was Kritter Lamb who battled M & M’s Cracker Jack. Lamb, the 2014 Horizon Series Champion, drew the unknown bull making his debut on the CBR tour and after 6.89 seconds of pure warfare, Lamb would come down early, but not before thrilling the crowd. Reigning CBR and PRCA World Champion Sage Kimzey would be the only World Champion in the field of four former champs to post a score and advance. Clayton Foltyn, Cole Echols, and Cody Teel, would all buck off. In a round where the Oklahoma cowboys were taking control, Cody Rostockyj, Hillsboro, Texas would bring the overwhelmingly Texas based fans to their feet with a 92.5 ride on Corpus Red. CR Corpus Red, who has been on the bucking bull tour longer than Rostockyj, jumped, changed directions and put on a show that rewarded both the skills of the rider and the bull as the highest score of the night.

Round two which serves as the Semi Final Round in the CBR’s tournament style format, would separate the rookies from the veterans. With two advancing on time, Lamb and Vastbinder, twelve cowboys stepped up onto the back of the chutes for their second bull. Holmes, the CBR Finals 2014 Average winner, rose to the top with his 91 points on Outside the Box, a bull he grew up on in South Texas.  Corey Bailey would move on with 90 points on JQH’s young and upcoming bull, Wicked Ways. Kimzey and Rostockyj followed with a pair of 89’s and Ardie Maier rode his second bull, Barbed Wire for 87 and Eli Vastbinder would be the sixth man to finish out the round with an 86.5 on Mr. Wilson.

The Semi Final Round closed with five riders posting their second score and the Shootout was set. With five riders covering two bulls each, it took an average score of 178.5 to advance to the Shootout round where scores are dropped and the winner take all portion of the night kicks in. Cody Rostockyj edged out Neil Holmes by .5 to be the average lead with 181.5 on two which gives the rider the advantage in the bull draft. The average leader selects first and Rostockyj (181.5) jumped on the opportunity to ride 050 Gold Buckle of Craig and Barrett’s string of buckers. Rostockyj had been on this bull twice before with one qualified ride posted. Holmes also selected a rematch bull, Kojack.  Bailey selected Boomer, in a twist of fate, which he thought was another bull of Craig and Barrett’s, and Kimzey in at 178.5 was the final qualifier who would attempt Carr Pro Rodeo’s Black Magic.

Kimzey, who is making a case for breaking more records, was rewarded 89 points for his effortless and solid ride on Pete Carr’s Black Magic.

Corey Bailey, who would have trouble in the chutes, answered on Boomer with a 90.5. With press mounting and the lion’s share of $30,000 on the line, Neil Holmes did not have enough bull power on Kojack to get past the previous rides, but left the arena with an 88.5 and big smile.  With the fans on the edge of their seats, and Rostockyj attempting his first event win on The Mahindra Road to Cheyenne tour, the gate swung open and usually predictable 050 Gold Buckle increased his lead on Rostockyj bucking him off in 3 seconds.

Bailey had this to say about his winning rides, “While Boomer (final bull) worked out well, he was out there around to the right and back to the left and almost bucked me off at the beginning. The first bull I didn’t know anything about him, he kind of got caught up in the chutes and came around to the left and it worked out great for me, the second bull I knew nothing about but he was trouble in the chute, it used to make me nervous, now I let it go and just relax and wait on him”.

Making a move towards his second CBR World title, Sage Kimzey would have a solid three for three night adding three valuable scores to not only break into the top 5 in the CBR world standings, but take the lead.  With one stop left in the regular season competition, the field of 24 bull riders that will advance to the CBR World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days is taking shape. Teel, getting a little luck from his top 5 ranked friends who also bucked off, remains #2 on the leader board heading into the final stop in Del Rio later this month.

The young and the restless at home recovering from injury included Wyatt Rogers, the eighteen year old prodigy who wowed the professional ranks since winning $43,000 last fall during his pro bull riding debut. Trey Benton, the 2014 Tuff Hedeman Challenge winner is also home rehabbing his 2015 double knee surgery.

The CBR Bull Team Challenge, also coming to a close on the regular season, was won by 2014 Stock Contractor of the Year Jeff Harris and Okeechobee Bull Company. Harris and JC Knapp’s team were the only teams to see three qualified rides.  Harris, who has been busy retooling his team for the last month of competition, won the event on three solid bull scores and a little help from inspired bull riders. 

“Tuff always has the best bull riders in Fort Worth and they come to ride”, said Harris. 

Covering all three of Harris’ bulls, Grey Goose anchored the team when he and Neil Holmes finished their 8 seconds with 90 points. 

“Neil Holmes has such as big heart and he tries so hard every time he gets on, that bull had him bucked off more than once tonight and he battled back”, said Harris. 

But the big news on the Harris and Okeechobee team was the acquisition of Mud Wasp, a brother to the great Mudslinger who developed his skills at an early age winning money and earning his way thru the competitive bucking competitions. “8061 is just a solid bull that bucks the same every trip”, continued Harris. He did his job and Rostockyj’s 89 points helped. Bringing up the rear on Harris team was Shorty, who Jared Long rode for 87 points.

Rankest marked bull of the Tuff Hedeman Challenge was Cadillac Red, Cude Bucking Bulls at a 93 point bull score. 54 brought down Corey Maier in round two in just 3.07 seconds to remain unridden on the 2015 Road to Cheyenne tour.

High Marked Ride honors went to Corpus Red, JC Knapp's prize bucker who with Cody Rostockyj were 92.5 in round one.

For current CBR World Standings, please see

 Round One

1, Cody Rostockyj on Corpus Red (JC Knapp) 92.5 points. 2, Chandler Bownds on Pain Killer (BBG/Jayne) 90.5. 3, Neil Holmes, on Grey Goose (Harris) 90. 4, Corey Bailey on Platinum Gold (M & M) 89.5. 5, Sage Kimzey on Wicked Ways (JQH) 89.5. 6 Corey Maier on Sesto Senso (Ramblin Verl) 88, 7, 8 (Tie) Jared Long, Tye Chandler 87. 9, Keaton Moody on Danger Zone (BBG/Jaynes) 86.5. 10, Ardie Maier Rogaine (Rockin R) 85.5.  

Semi Final Round

1, Neil Homes on Outside the Box (Jaynes) 90 points. 2, Corey Bailey on Crazy 8 (JQH) 90 points. 3, Sage Kimzey on White Wolf, 89 points. 4, Cody Rostockyj on Mud Wasp (Harris) 89 points. 5, Ardie Maier on Barbed Wire (JC Knapp) 87 points.6, Eli Vastbinder on Mr. Wilson (M & M) 86.5.

Shootout Round

1. Corey Bailey, $10,500, 90.5 points on 059 Boomer (Elite, Barret &, Craig)

2. Sage Kimzey, $7,200, 90 on 0450 Black Magic ( Carr Pro Rodeo - Box K)

3. Neil Holmes, $4,550, 88.5 on 9100 Kojack (Elite, Barrett & Craig)

4. Cody Rostockyj, $2,250, on 050 Gold Buckle (Elite, Barrett & Craig)

 Fort Worth Bull Team Challenge Results

1. Okeechobee Bull Co. and Jeff Harris 288.5, $20,000

2. BBG/Johnston/McKinney 288.09, $12,000

3. JC Knapp – 287, $8,000

4. M & M – 285.89, $5,000