Rookies and Veterans Commit to the Road to Cheyenne

Can the rookies catch the veterans? A common theme in made for the movies sports dramasÖ and the first leg of this seasonís Road to Cheyenne tour. After five events are in the books, it is the question being asked by fans and bull riding experts.

Rookie bull riders are sitting at second, fifth and seventh in the CBRís top ten standings as we turn the page on the calendar and look forward to the greater part of the season that resumes in January.

The opening sequence of the first quarter of the 16 city Road to Cheyenne tour got underway in Huron, South Dakota on September 1 with two rookies squaring off with two tour veterans. Two unfamiliar names on the Road to Cheyenne, Boudreaux Campbell and Bayle Worden, took to the chutes for top five finishes in ALL five events included on the Fall Run of the CBRís elite televised tour.

With the opportunity of earning three bull scores at each event, consistency is the goal and strategy of many of the veteran bull riders on tour, but the lure of the custom Hyo Silver buckles and jumbo checks presented by Tuff Hedeman no doubt inspire the rookies.

Seven times the rookies made the final four man championship round with Campbell leading the statistics for both rookies and veterans with three (Huron, Window Rock, Mercedes) appearances and one tie (Laughlin) that ended not in his favor which left him in the top five but he did not advance to the final four shoot out round.

Campbell sits in the number two slot of the CBRís rankings after five events just 177 points, or two good scores, behind four time World Champion Sage Steele Kimzey of Strong City, Oklahoma.

Campbell is a senior at Lovelady High School and is from Crockett, Texas. The former Texas High School Rodeo Champion has the highest riding percentage on this seasonís tour, however he is still in pursuit of that first event win.   

Behind Campbell in the count of multiple Shoot Out Round appearances is six-time event champion and twice CBR World Champion, Sage Kimzey, who has won one event this season. Tied with Kimzey is rookie rider Bayle Worden who finished in the final four in Huron and Conroe. Veteran bull rider Lane Toon returned from injury to ride consistently in Laughlin and Conroe and make the final four in both cities. While Taryl Smith, Eli Vastbinder, Jeff Askey and Chandler Bownds all have event titles this season they share the fact of just one final four appearance.

Kimzey who missed Huron finished in the top five in three of the four events he entered and in Window Rock and Laughlin he rode all three of his draws. Kimzey won Window Rock and took second in Laughlin with a 90 point ride in the Shoot Out, and although he missed the final four after riding both his first and second round draws in Conroe he finished fifth and with that consistency early in the season he remains the number one ranked rider in Championship Bull Riding and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

ďIím going to try to go to every event this CBR season, in years past I have had to play catch up after the first few events and it really cost me in 2015. I had to miss a few events because of injury and then lost the title that year. That heartbreak made me realize how important every single bull in the CBR is. I plan on going to all the events and making all of the bulls I get on count,Ē said the four time World Champion.

Bayle Worden qualified for Huron after a stellar performance on night one which was a Horizon Series event in Huron. Worden has finished in the final four twice and sits seventh in the world as we turn the page at the end of the year. 23 year old Worden is from Charleston, Texas and in addition to success on the Road to Cheyenne he won the Extreme Bull Riding competition at the 2016 Mr T competition in Laramie this summer and has been a professional bull rider since January of 2012.

Mahindra Young Gun Eli Vastbinder, the Laughlin event Champion, has ridden six of the eight bulls he has attempted in four event appearances. After missing Window Rock, the North Carolina cowboy came back to win Laughlin and in Conroe he rode both his first and second round bulls, but lacked enough points to advance to the final four where that valuable third bull score, if successful, impacts the points race. He sits in third place in the current World Standings, 263 points off the lead.

Taryl Smith is in fourth place after winning the season opener in Huron with a 92 point ride on everybodyís favorite, J908 Outside the Box, owned and raised by Jimmy Jaynes. Smith had a slight injury to his groin that kept him out of the Laughlin event that was four days after Window Rock. He rode one in Conroe and bucked off Karoke in the second and did not hear the whistle in Mercedes.

Jeff Askey rounds out the top 5 with his three for three win in Conroe. He outscored Colten Jesse in the final round after Jesseís second round win and went 91 points on Jeff Harrisí 8 Ole School. Nineteen year old Wyatt Rogers in his third CBR season is knocking at the door with two top 5 finishes, but has yet to be part of the Shoot Out Round action after finishing 8th in 2016 and fifth in his rookie year.


Sequels in the Making?

Sage Kimzey in the hunt for his third CBR World title is no surprise to the thousands that follow his career, but several CBR comeback riders are pressuring the top ten. Former World Champion Josh Barentine is back on the Road to Cheyenne after he won round one in Conroe earlier this month. Three time National Finals Rodeo star Chandler Bownds won the finale event of this calendar year in Mercedes when he went 90 points on Tatonka for the win check. Fans also welcomed 2013 CBR World Champion Cole Echols back to the arena this season as well. 

Stay tuned to see who will be competitors in this yearís CBR World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days.


2016-17 Event Champions

Red Wilk Construction Bull Bash Champion, Huron, SD - Taryl Smith, Litchville, ND

Navajo Nation CBR Champion, Window Rock, AZ - Sage Kimzey, Strong City, OK

Colorado River Chute Out Champion, Laughlin, NV - Eli Vastbinder, Statesville, NC

Conroe, Texas Bull Mania Champion - Jeff Askey, Athens, TX

Ed Payne Bulls on the Border Bull Bash Champion, Mercedes, TX - Chandler Bownds

Editorís notes:  2016 No. 2 ranked rider Jacob OíMara and Horizon Series Champion Koby Radley have both recently returned to competition after injury.


See link below for full 2017 CBR Road to Cheyenne World Standings: