Xtreme Bulls

Sage Steele Kimzey, of Salado, Texas, competes in the Xtreme Bulls event at the Ellensburg Arena, Saturday.

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He needed it: Needed some momentum. Needed a push in the standings. Needed to get paid.

Check ‘em all off.

Texas bull rider Braden Richardson used the last ride of the night in front of a sold out crowd of 9,000 screaming fans to win the Ellensburg Xtreme Bulls tour stop and pocket more than $38,000 in the process.

The 26-year-old was $10,500 out of the top 15 needed to make the National Finals Rodeo. Well, consider that ticket punched for the first time.

“Oh yeah, it’s unbelievable,” he said without any pause to reflect.

Richardson first was 89 on Dakota Rodeo’s Not Today for $10,364 to win the long round.

“I knew the first one,” he said. “I never saw him in person, but I looked him up and I saw the PBR guys ride him a lot for 88, 89 points. Just kind of studied him a little bit.”

And while he knew he had the long go won to qualify for the short round, it’s not as though the title was handed to him. Former world champion Shane Proctor and Ky Hamilton (who nearly won the 2020 world title) were both 88 on their bulls (for $6,909 each). Laramie Mosely and Creek Young were a few points away with 86-point rides ($3,109 each). Stetson Wright (84.5), Sage Kimzey (83) and Clayton Sellers (83) all rounded out the top rides to earn checks.

No one had covered their second bull until Kimzey rode Corey and Lange’s Billy Hell for 88 points and $12,436 midway through the short round. After another few buck offs, Richardson nodded his head as the last bull rider of the night. His 84 didn’t win the round – it won $10,594 – but what it did do was give him a two-ride average of 173, two points better than Kimzey.

“The short round came so quick I didn’t really get a chance to look at that bull I had. I didn’t really know him and watching everybody buck off didn’t really faze me, I just needed to stay on,” Richardson said. “It was pretty exciting once I heard the whistle, but I didn’t really hear the whistle. I might have a little, but I heard a lot of people screaming.”

Richardson won $17,273 for the average win. Kimzey’s second-place check was worth $13,242. In all Richardson pocketed $38,230. Kimzey left the arena with $26,888. Richardson jumped into the top 10 with $89,137 on the season with that check. Kimzey crossed $220,000 in season earnings.

Richardson plans to rodeo hard, but admittedly might back off a bit to rest now that he has his first National Finals Rodeo made.

“I’m gonna go pretty hard, but not as hard I was gonna go if I was on the bubble.”

Proctor wasn’t near the bubble, but he is now thanks to his payday. Proctor was ranked with Richardson, well out of the top 15, but his nearly $15,000 he earned between the first go and average pushed him to 13th in the world with $71,655. However, that’s less than $4,000 ahead of the 16th-ranked bull rider Roscoe Jarboe with nearly a month left of regular season rodeo to go. Proctor was injured on his dismount in the first round, it was announced it was a possible separated shoulder, yet the Grand Coulee cowboy tried riding in the short round before quickly being bucked off.

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