Sage Kimzey repeats as bull riding champ

PRCA Photo by Greg Westfall


LAS VEGAS – Bull rider Sage Kimzey earned his second straight gold buckle tonight, making him the first man in the event’s history to win the world title in his first two years as a PRCA card holder.

Kimzey’s 84-point ride on Smith, Harper and Morgan’s Maverick was good for second place in Round 9 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER.

With the $20,731 he earned tonight, Kimzey can finish with no less than a total of $304,755, while Cody Teel – the only man close enough to overtake him entering the night – can finish with no more than $300,749, even if he wins Round 10 and the average crown.

“It was tough,” Kimzey said of fighting off Teel. “Luckily, I rode good enough all year long to have a big enough lead. Cody rode phenomenal all week long. He’s a world champion (2012) for a reason. It’ll be fun for years to come to ride against him.”

The 21-year-old Kimzey held a large lead throughout the season, but says having the bull-s-eye of the defending champion on his back made his second world-title season a bit more difficult than his first.

“It was harder,” Kimzey said. “There were a lot more ups and downs throughout the year. There were more expectations. Now it was more, ‘Can he do it again?’ I was looked at as the top bull rider in the world, and I had to prove it again.”

Trevor Brazile has done it all during his time at the 2015 WNFR. He clinched his 13th world all-around title and 23rd overall gold buckle, and is the favorite to win the tie-down roping gold buckle as well.

Tonight, he and team roping partner Patrick Smith won their second round in three nights with a 4.0-second time. It allowed Brazile to surpass the $6 million mark in career earnings – no other cowboy has earned more than $3.5 million.

“It just shows how much this sport has changed and grown,” Brazile said of the milestone. “I never take winning and records for granted. I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams in my career.”

Smith says that there was an expectation for he and Brazile to win tonight, and it came from a special person.

“My wife (Christi) ran back to the room and changed clothes 10 minutes before we left to come to the rodeo tonight,” Smith said. “She said, ‘I’m not wearing this to the South Point’ (to the go-round buckle presentations). I guess she had a feeling.” 

While Brazile and Smith have a slim chance at the gold buckle tomorrow night, JoJo LeMond and Junior Nogueira are still in the driver’s seat.

The pair – which never roped together before the start of the WNFR – placed fifth in Round 9 and held onto the WNFR average lead. If the rodeo ended right now, LeMond and Nogueira would be the world champs. Should they falter, the two teams with the most to gain would be Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn and Colby Lovell/Kory Koontz.

In the 10-round fight that has been the bareback riding, Kaycee Feild and Steven Peebles have exchanged punches for the first nine nights of the WNFR. Peebles took control last night by winning the round while Feild failed to earn a check. Tonight, the defending four-time world champ fired back in a big way. Feild won Round 9 with an 82-point ride on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s RodeoHouston’s Control Freak. He says the back-and-forth battle with Peebles has been one for the scrapbooks.

“This is something that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” Feild said. “This NFR, win or lose, is going to mean more to me than any other one because it’s been so much fun to compete with Steven every night. This whole thing has felt like a dream, and it’s going to be something that we talk about forever. Tonight, the way it panned out, I wish Steven would’ve done better, but I had a lot of fun on my horse.”

Feild now leads by $35,000 heading into the final round. He’s third in the WNFR average race, which would allow him to hold Peebles – who’s first in the average – off if the rodeo ended tonight. However, as he sits on the edge of a fifth straight world title, Feild isn’t focused on backing into the gold buckle. He wants to take it.

“What happened today is over, and I’m coming here tomorrow night to win the round and the world title,” he said. “I’m a competitor, and so is Steven. But I’m here to prove I’m the best, and I don’t want to rely on what Steven does, I want to take control. I want him to do really well, and then I want to top what he does – that’s what a true champion wants to do.”

Steer wrestler Casey Martin isn’t going to win the world title or the WNFR average, but his performance in Round 9 was still special. He won the round with a 3.5-second run, and knows exactly where the go-round buckle is headed.

“Today (Dec. 11) is my daughter Reese’s birthday, and I’ve been promising her for years I would get her a (go-round) buckle, and we will get to do that tonight at the South Point,” Martin said. “It’s going to be really exciting. It’s also my grandmother, Ruth’s (Martin) birthday, so it’s going to be a double celebration.”

It was Martin’s second career WNFR round win – he won Round 1 in 2012 with a personal-best WNFR time of 3.4 seconds. While he didn’t earn a check tonight, Dakota Eldridge remained first in the WNFR average race, and would be the world champion if the rodeo ended tonight. Hunter Cure and Ty Erickson currently sit third and fourth in the world, respectively, and seem to be the biggest threat to Eldridge, should he falter tomorrow night and lose his top spot in the average.

It hasn’t been a great WNFR for two-time World Saddle Bronc Riding Champion Taos Muncy. He had earned just two checks in the first eight nights – one for fifth place and one for sixth place. However, he ran into an old friend tonight, and took a victory lap with 83 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Let ’er Rip.

“I’ve been on Let ’er Rip quite a few times,” Muncy said. “The first time was in Jackson, Miss., a long time ago and it was a 10 a.m. performance and this little horse came in. He’s not a very big horse, but he’s got the heart of a giant. I didn’t really know the horse, but he bucked. The last thing I remember is he threw me into the stands and I was backward in a seat up there. I ended up winning the rodeo, and that horse was amazing. You won’t find another horse like that one.”

Muncy won his world titles in 2007 and 2011, but hasn’t had much success at the WNFR since 2012 – when he won Rounds 1 and 9. It was exactly three years between round wins for him.

“It had been awhile,” he said. “Rodeo is a real humbling sport. I came here really prepared and felt I was on top of it. I think I tried too hard and should’ve just let it go. I missed my horses out back-to-back nights (Rounds 5 and 6).”

Jacobs Crawley didn’t earn a check in Round 9, but maintained his No. 1 spot in the WNFR average race and would be the world champion as of right now. He and CoBurn Bradshaw are the only two men who have ridden all nine horses so far, and if Crawley rides tomorrow night, he’ll have a great shot at his first gold buckle.

For the first time in Hunter Herrin’s career, he has taken two victory laps at the same WNFR. The 31-year-old clocked a 6.6-second run, which is a Round 9 record – the previous record was 6.7 by Tuf Cooper in 2008. This was Herrin’s second round win at the 2015 WNFR, as he also split the win in Round 2 with Marty Yates with a 7.5-second time.

“It’s good to put your name in the record books,” Herrin said. “You always want to perform well. A record means you performed well at that moment. I’m excited about it, but they’re not going to pay me anything (Saturday night) for what I did tonight.”

Brazile split fourth in tie-down roping tonight with a 7.4-second run, and retained his world standings lead, while also staying second in the WNFR average. With a solid run tomorrow night, Brazile has a great look at his fourth world tie-down roping title.

Caleb Smidt is second in the world and first in the average, and seems like the likely benefactor if Brazile falters in Round 10.

Barrel racer Jana Bean earned her first WNFR go-round win in Round 9 with a time of 13.71 seconds. For Bean, who hadn’t earned a check through the first six rounds of the WNFR, the win meant a lot.

“Oh my God, it is just surreal,” she said. “I have wanted this since I was a very little girl. I’m just truly blessed that it has finally come true.”

Bean credited her horse, Hammer, and said the horse earned the win for her. 

“Hammer was really calm in the alley, but when we took off he really flew to the first and we got by it a little,” Bean said. “The second was good, and we got by the third by a hair. He really ran very hard home. I sure started slow, but somehow seem to be ending up real good. I am so excited and happy right now.”

Callie duPerier didn’t earn a check tonight, but maintained her lead in the average by nearly a full second over Jackie Ganter. As Round 10 looms, duPerier is the favorite to win the world title, with Lisa Lockhart and Sarah Rose McDonald close behind. 

The 57th annual Wrangler NFR concludes Saturday with the 10th and final round at the Thomas & Mack Center. The action will be televised live and in HD on CBS Sports Net (DirecTV channel 221 and DISH Network channel 158) from 7-10 p.m. PT. 

Ninth Performance Results, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev.

Bareback riding: 1. Kaycee Feild, Spanish Fork, Utah, 82.0 points on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s RodeoHouston’s Control Freak, $26,231; 2. Seth Hardwick, Laramie, Wyo., 81.5, $20,731; 3. (tie) Austin Foss, Terrebonne, Ore., and Jake Brown, Hillsboro, Texas, 81.0, $13,327 each; 5. (tie) Bobby Mote, Stephenville, Texas, and Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas, 80.5, $5,500 each; 7. Orin Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba, 80.0; 8. Caleb Bennett, Tremonton, Utah, 79.0; 9. (tie) Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minn., and Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore., 78.5; 11. Clint Laye, Cadogan, Alberta, 77.5; 12. Clint Cannon, Waller, Texas, 75.0; 13. Tim O’Connell, Zwingle, Iowa, 70.0; no other qualified rides. Average standings: 1. Steven Peebles, 749.0 points on nine head; 2. Seth Hardwick, 724.0; 3. Kaycee Feild, 715.5; 4. Tim O’Connell, 702.0; 5. Will Lowe, 698.5; 6. Tanner Aus, 683.5. World standings: 1. Kaycee Feild, $260,463; 2. Steven Peebles, $225,999; 3. Seth Hardwick, $172,293; 4. Tim O’Connell, $165,315; 5. Austin Foss, $160,145; 6. Jake Brown, $147,551; 7. Evan Jayne, $146,808; 8. Bobby Mote, $139,947; 9. Clint Laye, $133,461; 10. Tanner Aus, $132,045; 11. Will Lowe, $130,953; 12. Orin Larsen, $112,041; 13. Clint Cannon, $107,686; 14. Winn Ratliff, $103,524; 15. Caleb Bennett, $91,302.

Steer wrestling: 1. Casey Martin, Sulphur, La., 3.5 seconds, $26,231; 2. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., 3.6, $20,731; 3. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., 3.8, $15,654; 4. (tie) Hunter Cure, Holliday, Texas, and Baylor Roche, Tremonton, Utah, 4.2, $8,885 each; 6. (tie) Ty Erickson, Helena, Mont., and Tanner Milan, Cochrane, Alberta, 4.3, $2,115 each; 8. K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, 4.4; 9. Tyler Waguespack, Gonzales, La., 4.5; 10. Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 4.7; 11. Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev., 5.0; 12. Seth Brockman, Wheatland, Wyo., 5.1; 13. Kyle Irwin, Robertsdale, Ala., 5.4; 14. Clayton Hass, Terrell, Texas, 8.3; 15. Blake Knowles, Heppner, Ore., 13.7. Average standings: 1. Dakota Eldridge, 41.3 seconds on nine head; 2. Seth Brockman, 42.5; 3. Tanner Milan, 47.6; 4. Hunter Cure, 48.2; 5. Ty Erickson, 50.5; 6. Tyler Waguespack, 58.6. World standings: 1. Clayton Hass, $184,296; 2. K.C. Jones, $174,062; 3. Hunter Cure, $168,745; 4. Ty Erickson, $166,203; 5. Luke Branquinho, $151,557; 6. Dakota Eldridge, $144,399; 7. Trevor Knowles, $133,166; 8. Casey Martin, $131,425; 9. Seth Brockman, $126,828; 10. Kyle Irwin, $120,574; 11. Tyler Waguespack, $119,091; 12. Tanner Milan, $116,307; 13. Baylor Roche, $110,325; 14. Nick Guy, $109,929; 15. Blake Knowles, $92,304.

Team roping: 1. Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas/Patrick Smith, Lipan, Texas, 4.0 seconds, $26,231 each; 2. Colby Lovell, Madisonville, Texas/Kory Koontz, Stephenville, Texas, 4.1, $20,731; 3. Derrick Begay, Seba Dalkai, Ariz./Clay O’Brien Cooper, Gardnerville, Nev., 4.2, $15,654; 4. Riley Minor, Ellensburg, Wash./Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., 4.3, $11,000; 5. JoJo LeMond, Andrews, Texas/Junior Nogueira, Scottsdale, Ariz., 4.7, $6,769; 6. Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas/Kollin VonAhn, Blanchard, Okla., 4.8, $4,231; 7. Jake Cooper, Monument, N.M./Russell Cardoza, Terrebonne, Ore., 5.0; 8. Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, Tenn./Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 8.7; 9. Aaron Tsinigine, Tuba City, Ariz./Ryan Motes, Weatherford, Texas, 15.0; 10. Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz./Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz., 19.4; 11. Nick Sartain, Dover, Okla./Rich Skelton, Llano, Texas, 19.8; 12. Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla./Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan., 44.0; no other qualified times. Average standings: 1. JoJo LeMond/Junior Nogueira, 50.2 seconds on nine head; 2. Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn, 55.7; 3. Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, 92.9; 4. Colby Lovell/Kory Koontz, 45.9 on eight; 5. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 52.0; 6. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 61.2. World standings (headers): 1. Derrick Begay, $196,464; 2. Colby Lovell, $176,830; 3. Trevor Brazile, $175,460; 4. Aaron Tsinigine, $169,710; 5. Clay Tryan, $169,266; 6. Luke Brown, $153,487; 7. Chad Masters, $150,889; 8. JoJo LeMond, $145,053; 9. Erich Rogers, $140,708; 10. Nick Sartain, $130,617; 11. Coleman Proctor, $124,764; 12. Clay Smith, $115,498; 13. Jake Cooper, $101,933; 14. Riley Minor, $88,592; 15. Matt Sherwood, $88,436. World standings (heelers): 1. Clay O’Brien Cooper, $197,584; 2. Kory Koontz, $176,468; 3. Patrick Smith, $175,460; 4. Jade Corkill, $169,266; 5. Ryan Motes, $168,579; 6. Kollin VonAhn, $160,101; 7. Junior Nogueira, $155,583; 8. Travis Graves, $143,496; 9. Cory Petska, $136,866; 10. Rich Skelton, $130,617; 11. Jake Long, $122,978; 12. Paul Eaves, $121,699; 13. Travis Woodard, $99,519; 14. Brady Minor, $87,263; 15. Russell Cardoza, $87,080.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M., 83.0 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Let ’er Rip, $26,231; 2. Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La., 82.5, $20,731; 3. CoBurn Bradshaw, Beaver, Utah, 81.5, $15,654; 4. Tyrel Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba, 79.5, $11,000; 5. Rusty Wright, Milford, Utah, 79.0, $6,769; 6. Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Texas, 78.5, $4,231; 7. (tie) Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas; Jake Wright, Milford, Utah; and Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 76.0; 10. Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D., 75.5; 11. Spencer Wright, Milford, Utah, 73.5; 12. Bradley Harter, Loranger, La., 73.0; no other qualified rides. Average standings: 1. Jacobs Crawley, 729.0 points on nine head; 2. CoBurn Bradshaw, 724.0; 3. Wade Sundell, 649.0 on eight; 4. Isaac Diaz, 646.0; 5. Zeke Thurston, 588.5; 6. Rusty Wright, 569.0 on seven. World standings: 1. Rusty Wright, $221,179; 2. Cody DeMoss, $210,628; 3. Jacobs Crawley, $208,977; 4. Wade Sundell, $203,680; 5. Isaac Diaz, $183,797; 6. CoBurn Bradshaw, $175,146; 7. Taos Muncy, $145,884; 8. Jake Wright, $136,462; 9. Cort Scheer, $135,122; 10. Heith DeMoss, $132,085; 11. Chuck Schmidt, $105,910; 12. Zeke Thurston, $103,009; 13. Tyrel Larsen, $97,826; 14. Spencer Wright, $84,338; 15. Bradley Harter, $81,310.

Tie-down roping: 1. Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., 6.6 seconds, $26,231; 2. Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho, 7.0, $20,731; 3. Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Texas, 7.3, $15,654; 4. (tie) Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas, and Monty Lewis, Hereford, Texas, 7.4, $8,885 each; 6. Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas, 7.6, $4,231; 7. Tyson Durfey, Savannah, Mo., 7.9; 8. (tie) Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas, and Sterling Smith, Stephenville, Texas, 8.1; 10. Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La., 8.2; 11. Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas, 9.3; 12. Cade Swor, Winnie, Texas, 10.8; 13. Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas, 16.6; 14. Marcos Costa, Childress, Texas, 16.9; no other qualified times. Average standings: 1. Caleb Smidt, 72.8 seconds on nine head; 2. Trevor Brazile, 73.5; 3. Monty Lewis, 74.0; 4. Matt Shiozawa, 75.0; 5. Marty Yates, 83.4; 6. Marcos Costa, 84.0. World standings: 1. Trevor Brazile, $196,324; 2. Tuf Cooper, $187,976; 3. Hunter Herrin, $181,024; 4. Matt Shiozawa, $173,681; 5. Caleb Smidt, $172,969; 6. Marty Yates, $169,781; 7. Timber Moore, $149,452; 8. Cory Solomon, $141,136; 9. Monty Lewis, $135,211; 10. Sterling Smith, $134,547; 11. Tyson Durfey, $130,502; 12. Cade Swor, $126,796; 13. Marcos Costa, $125,227; 14. Ryan Jarrett, $113,736; 15. Shane Hanchey, $102,668.

Barrel racing: 1. Jana Bean, Fort Hancock, Texas, 13.71 seconds, $26,231; 2. Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 13.85, $20,731; 3. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 13.86, $15,654; 4. Vickie Carter, Richfield, Utah, 13.88, $11,000; 5. Cassidy Kruse, Gillette, Wyo., 13.91, $6,769; 6. Fallon Taylor, Whitesboro, Texas, 13.96, $4,231; 7. Jackie Ganter, Abilene, Texas, 13.97; 8. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 14.00; 9. Carley Richardson, Pampa, Texas, 14.21; 10. Callie duPerier, Boerne, Texas, 14.32; 11. Deb Guelly, Okotoks, Alberta, 14.36; 12. Sarah Rose McDonald, Brunswick, Ga., 18.81; 13. Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, 19.13; 14. Nancy Hunter, Neola, Utah, 19.45; 15. Taylor Jacob, Carmine, Texas, 25.45. Average standings: 1. Callie duPerier, 126.29 seconds on nine runs; 2. Jackie Ganter, 127.22; 3. Cassidy Kruse, 130.76; 4. Michele McLeod, 131.12; 5. Sherry Cervi, 132.49; 6. Lisa Lockhart, 134.66. World standings: 1. Lisa Lockhart, $262,636; 2. Sarah Rose McDonald, $247,196; 3. Callie duPerier, $236,577; 4. Michele McLeod, $187,013; 5. Fallon Taylor, $180,809; 6. Taylor Jacob, $177,874; 7. Cassidy Kruse, $170,038; 8. Nancy Hunter, $147,301; 9. Mary Walker, $135,759; 10. Sherry Cervi, $114,744; 11. Jana Bean, $111,624; 12. Carley Richardson, $101,147; 13. Jackie Ganter, $94,550; 14. Vickie Carter, $83,768; 15. Deb Guelly, $74,000.

Bull riding: 1. Clayton Foltyn, Winnie, Texas, 88.0 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Brown Sugar, $26,231; 2. Sage Kimzey, Strong City, Okla., 84.0, $20,731; 3. Wesley Silcox, Santaquin, Utah, 83.0, $15,654; 4. Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash., 82.5, $11,000; no other qualified rides. Average standings: 1. Cody Teel, 574.0 points on seven head; 2. Sage Kimzey, 494.0 on six; 3. Clayton Foltyn, 404.5 on five; 4. Shane Proctor, 327.0 on four; 5. Brett Stall, 324.5; 6. Joe Frost, 323.5. World standings: 1. Sage Kimzey, $261,601; 2. Cody Teel, $207,249; 3. Parker Breding, $176,247; 4. Wesley Silcox, $157,663; 5. Clayton Foltyn, $156,669; 6. Joe Frost, $150,504; 7. Brett Stall, $139,820; 8. Shane Proctor, $138,514; 9. Ty Wallace, $122,982; 10. Brennon Eldred, $120,041; 11. Caleb Sanderson, $113,614; 12. Chandler Bownds, $100,557; 13. Reid Barker, $89,501; 14. Kody DeShon, $85,960; 15. Dustin Bowen, $75,250.