Kimzey and Teel Win Big in Vegas

For the second time, Sage Kimzey was crowned the PRCA world champ, a back-to-back achievement. Kimzey was the 2014 PRCA and CBR World Champion. Cody Teel is the reigning CBR World Champion, so it only seemed natural they would be the top-two gunning for the 2015 PRCA title.

Throughout the marathon 10 days of rodeo, the competition between the two CBR cowboys was tough. It all came down to the end.

“These ten days were tough for sure. Cody Teel put a lot of pressure on me. He made it a race,” Kimzey says and adds, “It was a tough bull riding. It really was. We all showed out for the fans, gave them a good show, and it came down to the last two bulls of the year to determine the world championship. I was blessed enough to get to win.”

Kimzey has placed his name in the history books as the first bull rider to win back-to-back titles his rookie and sophomore years.

And it was Teel who took home the average win at the 2015 National Finals. He rode eight out of 10 bulls, only bucking off in Round 2 and Round 9, when his bull stumbled and fell, and Teel was stepped on. He was given a re-ride but did not make the whistle, and in that mathematical figuring, Kimzey was determined the world champion. But to win the average, Teel had to stay on his tenth round bull or Kimzey would overtake him in that too.

Teel describes his most weighty rides as being Round 1 to get things kicked off and get his confidence up, and the last round.

Round 3 was perhaps his most memorable.

“The first big ride for me, Round 3, was good on Lineman (Pete Carr Pro Rodeo). That was a rematch. That bull bucked me off last year, and I’ve won a lot of money on that bull. To get him back there at the finals and get a go round win was a big plus,” he says and adds of his Round 10, “as was the case for me, it comes down to the last ride to win the average, so to pull through and get that last one knocked out was a big deal for me.” Teel describes modestly that any of the top-15 guys could’ve rode his Round 10 bull, but the eight second mark can be lost if you let the atmosphere get to you.  “It’s just in a situation like that it can be way more difficult to fight back all your thoughts and everything going through your head. You just have to relax and go out there and go for a win like you have all week, and it’s easier said than done I’ll tell you that.”

It’s a caution that applies to the full 10 days, Teel explains. “You’ve just got to stay focused and don’t let the whole situation overwhelm you or let it be too much on you, because it can easily go that way if you let it. Not saying I didn’t feel the pressure, because you’re going to feel the pressure and be nervous and all that, you’ve just got to learn how to handle it, let it work for you and not against you.”

Kimzey would likely agree and would perhaps apply that sentiment to the whole year too, as he described the pressure of being a repeat world champ.

“Last year I was totally blind. I’d never really rodeoed hard last year. I was just blind. I didn’t have any clue what to expect. I’d heard all the stories and heard how we do it, but without actually living it and experiencing it, it’s tough. This year I came in knowing what to expect, knowing what I thought was everything to it, but this year was another learning experience. It was tough again this year,” Kimzey says. Though he had a good season and spent much of it at the top of the standings, the first of the 2015 rodeos started off slow, and Kimzey had to battle new challenges on his way to a second title. “It’s just not easy to be at the pinnacle of a professional sport, anything you’re doing. There’s a lot of sacrifices and a lot of stuff that you give up to maintain at the top.”

That being said, what drives Kimzey is right to the point.

“It’s just my love and passion for the sport. I set out with a goal to be remembered as the best bull rider ever, and that’s nine world titles. That’s what I’m gunning for. This is just the second hill on the way to the mountain.”

He credits his family for being there through the ups and downs of those hills.

“My family is super supportive of me. They’ve just always been that rock. This sport is pretty humbling, so anytime I’ve ever got knocked down I have them to fall on, and they lift me back up.”

In this journey that is a career in bull riding, the climb has surely been aided by the unprecedented amount of money at this year’s WNFR.

“It means a lot. With the extra money out here this year, the total money earned was a big difference, especially for bull riders, because your career is not near as long as other events may be,” Teel says and adds, “so get as much of it while you can and just hope to be back there every year.”

For Kimzey and Teel, the 2016 PRCA and Road to Cheyenne CBR seasons are in full swing, and they likely won’t dwell on a lucrative 10 days in Las Vegas. Instead, they’ll be looking for the next eight seconds.