Kimzey and Vastbinder prepare for battle at the CBR season finale in Del Rio
Whitehead Memorial Museum 40th Annual George Paul Memorial Bull Riding presented by RAM Country Dodge, Ram Country Truck Center, and Ram Rodeo
DEL RIO, Texas, (April 17, 2017) – In high stakes sporting events the athletes have to be able to perform under pressure. With 39 years in the record books, the George Paul Memorial Bull Riding (GPMBR) never disappoints and with only 180.5 points, or two good bull rides, separating the number one and two riders in the World, 2017 will be no different. As the last stop on the CBR’s regular season televised tour schedule, the GPMBR is the last frontier for points for the elite cowboy athletes to qualify for the CBR World Finals. The two performance event is scheduled to begin at 8 pm at the Val Verde Fairgrounds on April 28-29.
The George Paul is famous for many things, the Ramada Hotel Pool Party, the outstanding bulls lined up by Hedeman and a Friday night bounty bull match up that will give one bull rider the opportunity to win a Ram Country Dodge Truck - courtesy of the GPMBR, the CBR, and Ram Country Dodge of Del Rio. But after all the ceremonies and grand introductions are finished it is the bull riding competition that keeps the legend alive.
The battle on everyone’s mind is between two veteran tour riders, the reigning CBR World Champion Sage Steele Kimzey and the contender, Eli Vastbinder. Five time World Champion bull rider Sage Kimzey comes into the competition riding 26 of the 32 bulls he attempted in twelve events during the regular season. Kimzey riding in his fourth CBR season won Window Rock and Enid event titles and out of twelve events he advanced to the Shoot Out round eight times. Hot on his heels is Eli Vastbinder a seven year veteran of CBR competition and last year a rider who rode four of five at the CBR World Finals to finish second in the average. Vastbinder is from Statesville, North Carolina and has ridden an impressive 25 of 33 bulls attempted in fourteen tour stops. Vastbinder won the Laughlin event title and advanced to the Shoot Out round seven times during this his statistically best season on the Road to Cheyenne.
Kimzey leads the list of 24 elite bull riders headed to Del Rio to jockey for position on the CBR roster which determines a qualifying spot on the CBR World Finals roster. But at this stage in the game Eli knows the goal and as much as both would like to pack the coveted Del Rio GPMBR buckle in their rigging bag, riding each bull is as important to gain the points for the lead of the CBR World Standings. Twenty-three year old Kimzey, who recently won the American competition that came with a $433,333 check has earned over two million dollars doing what he says has always been his dream.
Although Kimzey and Vastbinder are at the top right behind them is rookie rider Boudreaux Campbell who won Hobbs and is still in the hunt as the CBR’s number three gunner in his first year as a pro bull rider. National Finals Rodeo qualifier Jeff Askey who after is headed to the border town as he sits fourth in his first year of CBR competition. Three World Champions are headed to Del Rio joined by two time GPBR Champion Trey Benton of Rock Island who made a strong comeback last week in Fort Worth making the final four man round in his first CBR since Del Rio 2016.
As the 2017 regular season will no doubt be reported as iconic, the legend started with George Paul himself, the 1968 Rodeo Cowboys Association (now the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) world champion, NFR winner, who died in a plane crash in 1970. Ten years after his death, his brother Bobby Paul began producing the George Paul Memorial Bull Riding to memorialize the talented bull rider who eight-time world champion Don Gay described as the greatest natural bull rider ever riding seventy-nine bulls consecutively, a World Record.
Tickets are on sale for the two nights of competition, April 28-29, which starts with 40 riders on Friday. Saturday night’s performance will feature the CBR’s proprietary tournament style format with 24 riders taking the dirt. The best 12 from round one will advance to the semifinals with the top four then competing in the Shoot Out round where the bulk of $30,000 prize monies will be paid. Friday night will see the bull rider with the highest score pit his skill against a bounty bull selected by Tuff Hedeman for the chance to win a new truck.
About Championship Bull Riding –
Located in the historic Weatherford, Texas, Championship Bull Riding (CBR) is an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the very best elements of the sport. Under the direction of bull riding icon Tuff Hedeman, CBR has grown into an organization that works to put the best riders on the best bulls, delivering world-class qualified rides. Bull riders start in the Horizon Series earning points to move onto the elite Road to Cheyenne Tour. The Road to Cheyenne Tour culminates in July in Wyoming at the legendary Cheyenne Frontier Days where the world champion earns a $100,000 bonus. The CBR Bull Team Challenge is also part of the tour events where stock contractors bring their best bulls and compete for annual cash prizes that total over $1 million. Providing opportunities for contestants, stock contractors, fans and sponsors is why CBR is the REAL COWBOY SPORTtm. CBR is featured at over 70 venues across the United States with national television programming on the Fox Sports Networks for 26 consecutive weeks in prime time. For more information visit www.cbrbull.com or call 817-626-BULL (2855).