The first Xtreme Bulls at Mandan Rodeo Days was a memorable night, especially for three-time World Champion Sage Kimzey of Strong City, Oklahoma.
Kimzey won the night’s Xtreme Bulls competition and nearly $7,000, besting a field of forty riders. He then came back to face Pearl Harbor, this year’s number one rated bull, in a match ride with $20,000 on the line.
The 22-year-old Kimzey, who rode in the second of four sections, scored 88 points on Dakota Rodeo’s Big Black Cat, a bull that has been featured at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and at the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Finals.
Dakota Rodeo’s Chad Berger, a native of Mandan, brought some of his best bulls, including 24 who had been to one, or both, of bull riding’s most prestigious finals events, to make the bull riders earn their share of the $24,100 purse.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) bull riders also came to play. Nine cowboys made a qualified ride and seven scored 84 points or better. The finale of the night was the highly touted match between Kimzey and Berger’s Pearl Harbor, the number one ranked bull in the PBR.
After Kimzey’s 88 held for the Xtreme Bulls championship he was awarded a commemorative rifle and a pair of trophy spurs. He also took a victory lap around the arena in a RAM truck.
Then, in about five minutes, he was climbing into the chute onto the back of Pearl Harbor. There’s hardly another situation in professional sports when an athlete must refocus so quickly.
Kimzey said the quick turnaround was not that difficult. “Ever since I accepted this challenge I’ve been thinking of nothing but Baldy,” he said, referring to Pearl Harbor, a bald-faced, six-year-old, crossbred Brahma bull.
The biggest challenges that Pearl Harbor, who bucks off more than 90 percent of those who try him, throws at a bull rider happen just out of the chute and at about the six-second mark, Kimzey said.
“I stayed with him out of the gate and then when he hesitated at about six, I knew he would go either left or right, but he lands square on his feet so you don’t know which way he’ll go. I shifted a bit to the left, but he turned back into my (right) hand,” he said.
Pearl Harbor managed to get Kimzey a little off-center toward the end of the ride, but he rode for eight seconds, then went to his second awards presentation of the night.
After the night of bull riding, the action continues in Mandan with three days of award-winning PRCA rodeo, Sunday, July 2 through Tuesday, July 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Kimzey will be back during Sunday’s Family Night performance to try for a trifecta in Mandan. The total purse for the rodeo is $120,000, $18,000 of which is offered in bull riding.
More information about the 2017 Mandan Rodeo Days Celebration is available at www.MandanRodeo.com.
Written by: Susan Kanode
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