PUEBLO, Colo. – Three-time PRCA champion Sage Kimzey is $20,000 richer after conquering leading PBR World Champion Bull contender Pearl Harbor for 92 points in an exhibition showdown Saturday night in the Mandan, North Dakota, Dacotah Centennial Park.
Kimzey made solid work of Pearl Harbor after the bull originally hung his horn leaving the bucking chute.
Once Pearl Harbor turned into Kimzey’s hand, the rest was history.
Reigning PBR Stock Contractor of the Year Chad Berger tipped his hat to Kimzey and gave credit where credit was due.
“Well, I am not going to make any excuses for the bull, but he got his head hung in the gate, and he just couldn’t get himself out of there,” Berger said. “He then bucked like hell, and Sage rode the shit out of him. He made a hell of a ride.
“You can’t take nothing away from Sage. Sage came here planning to ride Pearl Harbor and he got it done.”
Kimzey let out a huge roar following the ride and lifted his arms into the air in celebration.
It was a marque ride for the rodeo star.
“It is pretty awesome getting on a rank bull like that, and getting him rode is an awesome feeling for sure,” Kimzey said.
The 22-year-old is the fifth bull rider in 44 outs at all levels of competition to reach the 8-second mark on Pearl Harbor.
Shane Proctor was the last rider to earn a qualified ride against Pearl Harbor, doing so for 93.5 points during the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Tacoma, Washington, in April.
Kimzey came into the matchup knowing the first jump was going to be key, and Pearl Harbor catching his horn was a scenario he also was prepared for.
“The only jump I was worried about on him was the first one,” Kimzey explained. “It is really hard to get out of the chute on him. He blew up right there and kind of hung a horn. It kind of made me a little nervous. I knew when he hung that horn, he normally turns back to the right. I kind of waited for that. As soon as he picked up, I moved over and it was pretty smooth after that.
“He rides like a Cadillac. He really does.”
Kimzey, who had watched Pearl Harbor’s last out against two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney, was also prepared for Pearl Harbor’s hair trigger inside the bucking chute.
Sure enough, Pearl Harbor tried to rock Kimzey into the steel bucking chutes prior to the gate opening.
“That is something I have gotten better at as my career goes on,” Kimzey said. “Staying patient. Staying in my own element. That is a big deal. He knows the game just as well as any of them do. He does that deal in the chute to let you know he is ready.
“It kind of just fired me up.”
Once Kimzey got out of the chute and passed Pearl Harbor hanging his horn, the only minor problem he had in an otherwise pin-point ride came at the 5-and-a-half-second mark.
“He was really bucking around to the right,” Kimzey said. “He kind of hesitated a little bit and I thought, ‘Oh, maybe he is going back to the left.’ I just had to grit out to the end of it. It was awesome.”
Pearl Harbor will not buck again until Aug. 19 during the Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires, in Nashville.
Kimzey didn’t want to call riding Pearl Harbor a confidence-booster. He has all of the confidence in the world right now.
“It really doesn’t affect me,” Kimzey said. “I know who I am as a bull rider. Bull riding is bull riding. It doesn’t matter where you are at. There is definitely a lot of rank bulls in the PBR, but there is in rodeo too. I would say you get on a higher percentage of rank bulls in the PBR, but I have seen my fair share in rodeo. My confidence in riding rank bulls. This doesn’t affect it.
“That being said, to get one of the rankest bulls in the world rode feels really good. It doesn’t get any better than being 90 some points and winning a bunch of money.”
Berger organized the $20,000 showdown with the help of Dakota Community Bank and Trust as a way to build extra hype to the Xtreme Bulls event that took place earlier in the night.
“It was huge,” Berger said. “This is my hometown. I am straight out of Mandan.”
And, by the way, Kimzey rode Big Black Cat for 88 points to win the Xtreme Bulls event, as well.
“I had seen him around a bunch,” Kimzey said. “I always knew he was a big, rank bull. He bucks really hard. He turned back to the left first and went forward around to the right. Everything worked out. I like big, strong bulls like that because you slide up on them and you know you have to do stuff right or there is a chance of them hurting you.”
After his ride on Pearl Harbor, Berger told Kimzey, “You need to come over to the PBR and start beating them guys.”
Kimzey once again reiterated his commitment to winning a fourth PRCA bull riding championship, while not ruling out a full-time PBR run in the future.
“I will stay where I am happy at,” Kimzey said. “I am really enjoying rodeo. The PBR? I will say it probably is in the future. I just don’t how near in the future it is. I will probably come over eventually. Man, I am having the time of my life traveling the country and riding bulls with my buddies.”
Berger concluded, “I really think he is getting closer and closer to coming over.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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