Sage Kimzey

Sage Kimzey holds on to Cowa Bunga at the Ellensburg Rodeo on Friday night. Kimzey will be competing in the Xtreme Bulls event on Saturday night looking to win his fifth consecutive Xtreme Bulls title. 

Bull rider Sage Kimzey has nearly done it all.

Just this past year he won the Xtreme Bulls events at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, the Fort Mojave Classic and Gladewater Round up.

Before that, he finished first in the world standings, winning the 2014 and 2017 NFR average titles and accumulating nearly $1.5 million in PRCA winnings.

But what drives Kimzey, who turned just 24 this past Sunday, is his urge to be the best.

He has won the last four Xtreme Bulls events and is looking for a fifth tonight in the Ellensburg Rodeo arena.

“I hold myself to a higher standard than anybody else is going to hold me,” Kimzey said. “As far as the pressure, it is just something I have become accustomed to.”

GROWING UP IN RODEO

Kimzey was born in Strong City, Okla. and might have well been born into rodeo. His father, Ted, was a longtime PRCA barrelman and his siblings Dusta and Trey both have competed in rodeo.

Growing up, he always looked up to his father, who gave him the advice he lives by today.

“If I was going to do anything, to do it well,” Kimzey said. “While you are on a bull, there is not really a margin of error. You are talking about a life or death sport. Striving to reach perfection has really helped me in my career.”

Kimzey experimented with all the rodeo events growing up, but bull riding was always what he was best at.

“I had quite a bit of success growing up, and because I graduated high school at 17, it put my age bracket a little different. When I was just 13, I was riding some bigger bulls,” Kimzey said. “I was always the smaller kid.”

When he arrived at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, he finished fourth in the College National Finals Rodeo. One year later, he became just the second rookie bull rider to win a gold buckle, behind Bill Kornell in 1963.

BECOMING A STAR

Kimzey started developing success on the rodeo circuit and, specifically, in Ellensburg in 2014. He finished the co-champion Xtreme Bulls event and went on to win the next three years.

“Ellensburg has always been pretty good to me,” KImzey said. “There are good bulls, good prize money and great fans. It’s a perfect mixture.”

In 2016, he won his third world championship, which earned him $311,000, but despite all his successes, he said people haven’t really seen the hurdles he had to leap over.

“Everybody sees me now and says ‘Oh, you are a 24-year-old world champ and such,’ but people don’t think about 4-year-old me going out there and getting on practice stock. I’ve worked my entire life to get to the point I am at.”

SURVIVE BULL RIDING

Not only does Kimzey deal with the pressure of being the best in the world, but he has to keep from being killed by a 2,000-pound animal.

Just a few weeks ago in Kennewick, Kimzey got stepped on and came out limping.

“The injuries are the biggest part of the game,” Kimzey said. “The horns are what are scary, but the feet are what actually hurts you.”

Other injuries include a few broken arms he suffered in high school.

BEING THE BEST

No matter how much money Kimzey wins or how many bulls he rides, his drive is not stopping anytime soon.

I want to be remembered as the best bull rider of all time,” Kimzey said. “To do that, I’ll have to break Donny Gay’s record of eight.”

Kimzey competes in Xtreme Bulls tonight at 8 p.m.

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