It is part of the charm of sports. Regardless of success and experience, butterflies can flutter in the belly before a competition. It is a reminder of what is at stake and the difficulty of the task.
Sage Kimzey rediscovered goosebumps this season after returning from left shoulder surgery that ended his 2022 campaign prematurely. After battling bouts of inconsistency early this season, the seven-time PRCA World Champion is putting the competition on notice that he’s rounding back into form.
“The season is not feeling normal yet because I didn’t have the type of winter run I am used to. But my riding is starting to feel normal again,” Kimzey said. “I am feeling back to health again. My timing on the bulls is getting better and my body is feeling good.”
The 28-year-old captured his 12th career PRCA Division Xtreme Bulls win on Saturday night. The win came courtesy of a 178.50-point score on two-head at the 45th George Paul Memorial Xtreme Bull Riding in Del Rio, Texas. Kimzey set the tone on his first ride, showing poise and humility on Rafter G Rodeo’s Megalomaniac, scoring 90.5. It netted him $4,870.
“I was super excited when I got that draw. I had never been on him before, but guys always get high 80s with him. So, I knew I was going to have a good opportunity,” Kimzey said. “He jumped out like I expected, then he backed up a little bit. It was a great draw for any round.”
Kimzey, as he has done so many times for so many years, finished off the competition in his second ride. He delivered an 88-point ride on Rafter G Rodeo’s Freddy Fender for $4,355 in earnings.
“That bull has been around for a while. He usually goes around the right and is known to jump out around the 5-to-6 second mark,” Kimzey said. “I kept him spinning and it worked. And Del Rio was awesome. The crowd was loving it. They are so knowledgeable and whenever you do something good, they let you know it.”
In the average, Kimzey edged Cullen Tefler (175) and Jake Gardner (162), walking away with a total prize of $17,192. The latest triumph for the Salado, Texas, native comes just a few weeks after he showed up and showed out at the San Angelo (Texas) Xtreme Bulls. He scored 177.5 in that event, a performance that admittedly resonated a little deeper because it was his first Xtreme Bulls win since May of last year.
Up next is Uvalde, where he has experienced plenty of success, including a win in 2022.
“It’s about continuing to get back into riding shape. I spend a lot more time in the gym now. But the only way you can get your timing back on bulls is by riding bulls,” Kimzey said. “So, it’s about finding that balance of staying health and staying sharp. That means competing, and I love it.”