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Sage Kimzey 2014 Bull Riding World ChampionSage Kimzey

2014 Bull Riding World Champion

Rookie makes a statement: best bull rider in the world

Sage Kimzey will have to build a new trophy case to hold all the awards he earned during the 2014 rodeo season.

The 20-year-old bull rider from Strong City, Okla., put together one of the finest rodeo seasons not only in his event’s history, but in all of rodeo history.

Kimzey earned $318,631 and ran away with not only the world title, but also the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo average buckle, as well as the PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year award and the RAM Top Gun truck.

“Everything I accomplished this season and in Vegas is pretty surreal,” Kimzey said. “It’s special enough to make it to the NFR during your rookie year, but to do everything I’ve been able to do feels amazing.”

Kimzey left little doubt as to who the top bull rider in the world was – during the regular season or the 10 nights of the Wrangler NFR. He was so dominant in both that he clinched his first gold buckle after just eight nights in Las Vegas. As he clutched the gold buckle after Round 10, it all started to sink in.

“This is a dream come true, and it’s what I’ve wanted to get my hands on since I was 3 years old,” Kimzey said of rodeo’s ultimate prize. “I had been (to the Wrangler NFR) before as a fan to watch the gold buckle presentation, so to be standing here now and holding it, and to be at the pinnacle of the sport, it’s making me want to do this all over again next year.”

After the first eight nights of the rodeo, Kimzey had already become just the second rookie bull rider to win the world title; Bill Kornell did it in 1963. He is also the only rookie to win both the world and average title in bull riding.

He broke the Wrangler NFR bull riding earnings record with $175,466, and came within $2,135 of bull rider Matt Austin’s record for the best single-event earnings total in rodeo history.

“This experience has shown me how truly important each bull you get on is during the course of the season and the NFR,” Kimzey said of just missing the record. “There were a bunch of times I could’ve tried harder during the year and could’ve set that record, but now it’s on to next year with that mindset.”

From winning the Permit Challenge in 2013 to having one of the greatest rodeo seasons in history, Kimzey put an empathetic stamp on his claim as the best bull rider in the world in 2014.

“I had a bit of a personal thing coming here because I wanted to prove to everyone that my regular season wasn’t a fluke,” he said. “I’d say this Finals definitely proved that.”

[ Click here for Sage Kimzey's full bio ] 

– Justin Shaw, ProRodeo Sports News

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