Days of Thunder

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but Sage Steele Kimzey looks like he might be about to do just that. 

The 20-year-old bull rider from Strong City, Oklahoma is coming off of an incredible 2014 season that saw him win both the CBR and PRCA World Championship titles. As a rookie last year, it’s a pro-rodeo feat that’s only been done by one other rookie bull rider in the PRCA decades ago. 

This year, Kimzey could've easily endured a sophomore slump, but that hasn't been the case at all. Though things got off to a slow start this season for Kimzey in both associations, including suffering some injuries, he took it in stride. 

“Shoot relatively healthy for this sport is a whole lot different than healthy for any other sport, as long as we’re still alive, breathing or kicking, we’re still going to get on bulls and just power through,” he laughs. 

And no surprise, Kimzey quickly picked up steam in CBR and PRCA standings as the spring progressed. 

His single event title of the year came at the Kansas Star Chute Out in Mulvane where he was the only rider to go 3-for-3. He's been to the Final Four Shootout Round four times, and he has six top-10 finishes. His other top finishes include third-place finishes at Mercedes, Fort Worth, and Del Rio. He also placed sixth in Bossier City and eighth at El Paso.

Kimzey has ridden 71 percent (15 for 21) of his bulls at televised events, and that's tops among the world title contenders. Two of those rides were good for 90 points or better. His 90.5-point ride on Flab Slab in El Paso is his high-marked ride of the season so far. His other 90-point ride was on Black Magic (90 points) in Fort Worth.

He comes into Cheyenne second in the CBR World Standings, and he's only 33 points off the lead. In addition, he is currently leading the PRCA World Standings and is in good shape to repeat his incredible feat from a year ago. Being on the road is a special opportunity for Kimzey, especially now that his name carries with it a bit more recognition in the rodeo world since his days as a rookie. 

“It’s awesome. You get to meet all the fans that come out and support us. Going to different cities and having people you know that are rooting for you that are actually in your corner, it’s pretty special having that big a fan base and having all the support I do,” he says and adds, “it’s not just my immediate friends and family now.” 

“Growing up in a small community, I’ve always known everybody, and they’ve always supported me in whatever I do, but I had a big send off party, the whole town came out for before the NFR, and that was awesome getting to see everybody. People I haven’t seen since high school came out and said ‘wish you the best of luck,’ and they were just totally behind me. Then after I came home they had ‘Sage Kimzey Day’ which was really cool too. It was a special moment getting to see all the friends I grew up with and just for them to be supportive of me, it’s really special.” 

Taking his schedule down a notch, Kimzey’s focus this year has been the bigger pro-rodeos and the CBR Road to Cheyenne Tour. He travels with fellow CBR riders Brennon Eldred and Tanner Bothwell. But despite not hitting quite as many rodeos as last year, things have been all but slow.

“It gets tough. It’s a grueling 300 days out of the year when we’re on the road, but there’s nothing more rewarding either,” Kimzey says. 

Kimzey faced the pressure of Cheyenne last year, and he came out on top. As the thunder rolls, stay tuned because he definitely has what it takes to win another world title and gold buckle (or two) in 2015.