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World’s top bull rider says there’s ‘no way’ he’ll make Saturday’s finals in Nampa

Watch Sage Kimzey’s 74-point ride at the Snake River Stampede

Oklahoma bull rider Sage Kimzey doesn't anticipate he'll make Saturday's finals of the Snake River Stampede in Nampa after scoring a 74 aboard Wrangler Slinger on Tuesday.
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Oklahoma bull rider Sage Kimzey doesn't anticipate he'll make Saturday's finals of the Snake River Stampede in Nampa after scoring a 74 aboard Wrangler Slinger on Tuesday.

No bull rider has dethroned Sage Kimzey from his world crown since he won his first title in 2014, but Kimzey says there is “no way” he will make it to Saturday’s Snake River Stampede finals after scoring a 74 on Tuesday night at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.

The 24-year old Oklahoma native is arguably the best bull rider of all time and is chasing a sixth consecutive world championship, which would tie a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association record that dates to the 1950s (Jim Shoulders, 1954-1959).

“It would be huge. It really would,” Kimzey told the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday. “He is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, cowboys of all time. It would be pretty special.”

Even though Kimzey wasn’t thrown off his bull “Wrangler Slinger” until well after the 8 seconds had expired Tuesday, his bull didn’t kick or buck as much as the others had, resulting in a lower score. Kimzey told the Statesman that the judge shook his head at a re-ride when he walked into his line of vision, although he didn’t verbally ask for one. Only one do-over ride was awarded on Tuesday.

“It’s just frustrating because it wasn’t anything really to do with my performance,” Kimzey said. “It’s the luck of the draw. ... Less than one percent chance, honestly. I’ll probably get beat out by Thursday.”

Some of his competitors, however, aren’t so sure.

“I’ve seen three low scores make the short round here because they bring some really good bulls,” Challis native Ruger Piva said after scoring an 85 on Tuesday, placing him in third. “All you can do is ride your bulls and let the judges figure it out for you.”

Kimzey sat in ninth place after Tuesday night. A total of 12 riders qualify for Saturday night’s finals, but about 60 riders remain. Kimzey said he will not know for sure whether he made the finals until Saturday afternoon.

“As far as PBR, PRCA, he’s the best there is right now,” Piva said. “On paper, he is by far the best. It’s hard to beat him because he rides so well and rides everything so perfect.”

Kimzey has a laundry list of career accomplishments, but one rodeo he has yet to win is the Snake River Stampede.

Kimzey’s 2019 earnings ($146,834.65) ranked first entering this week’s rodeo, nearly $23,000 ahead of Trevor Kastner, who is second in the world rankings.

His total career earnings are more than $1.8 million, and he is only the second rider to win the Gold Buckle his rookie season, and the first to win world titles in his first two seasons.

“I love all the record books and I love rewriting them,” Kimzey said. “To win six in a row would be huge.”

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