SHREVEPORT – Fifteen qualified rides kept the crowd on the edge of their seats as seven-time World Champion Sage Kimzey, one of the most decorated cowboys in the world and the competitor Tuff Hedeman refers to as the “best bull rider on the planet”, delivered a three punch to the field that included four World Champions and a host of NFR contenders.
Riding two unridden bulls, Kimzey, standing in the spotlight next to Hedeman, accepted the $22,000 check and left the Century Link Center as the only cowboy to ride three bulls to earn the Eldorado Shreveport Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour Champion title presented by Landers Dodge, Ram, and Jeep Chrysler. Kimzey who began his professional bull riding career in 2014 on an invitation from Hedeman had this to say about the victory.
Kimzey and Hedeman...for the Win
“It’s what Tuff always promises, great bull riders, great bulls and a great bull riding for us and the fans,” said Kimzey picking up a few icepacks after landing on the chutes instead of the dirt while dismounting in the first round.
For 18 years Tuff Hedeman has been bringing elite bull riders, world-class bucking bulls and family-friendly entertainment to the devoted bull riding fans, western lifestyle enthusiasts, and guests of the Eldorado Casino. Saturday night’s performance at the Century Link Center stood the test of time with fifteen qualified rides including four 90 point plus scores and a win from the reigning World Champion.
Eleven riders heard the whistle in the long round with Trey Kimzey, the youngest of the Strong City, Oklahoma bull riding brothers, setting the pace with a spurring 90 point ride on Winston and Melton’s 435 Time to Shine, a bull Melton has been grooming for the big city lights of the bull team competition.
NFR qualifier Boudreaux Campbell would follow Kimzey and advance on 253 Tombstone (Universal Pro Rodeo) with 89.5 points. Tyler Taylor, the 2017 Bossier Champion began his bid for a second title with 87 points on Mike Rawson’s 9100 Kojack.
Dalan Duncan, Braden Richardson, Brody Yeary, John Pitts and Travis Briscoe would post scores to advance but it was two veterans that took the top two scores and the hearts of the fans in round one.
With a host of Barksdale Air Force airmen cheering him on, United States Army Veteran Juan Alonzo thrilled the crowd with a high flying 91 points on 22 Cowboy Cut (Knapp).
Competing in the final section, Sage Kimzey's 92.5 ride score left no doubt he was back and ready to win his first THBRT title after healing from an early injury in the first quarter of 2018.
“I was excited to have Hellfire (Whisnant/Shaw) after seeing him in Las Vegas at Tuff’s event, he really bucked hard and he’s one everyone wants to have, he stood still and I got out on him clean and good,” said Kimzey.
Fourteen riders advanced to the second round of the sudden death competition with Florida cowboy John Pitts the first one to ride two. Pitts was 84.5 on 101 Grafitti (Rawson) giving him the early lead with 171 on two.
“I drove all night to get here, but the caliber of bulls here is consistently great, Tuff stepped them up for sure and it’s really worth the trip,” said Pitts.
PBR World Champion Mike Lee would answer with an 85 on 312 Blackie (Harris) and steal the average lead with 172 points.
In a contagion of buck offs, the Louisiana crowd fell silent as Briscoe, Taylor, Campbell, Richardson, Duncan, Trey Kimzey, and Juan Alonzo fell short of the whistle in the semifinal competition.
Kimzey would bring the fans back to life with an 89.5 on Rockin C’s 026 Coalface setting up the four-man battle pitting two riders looking for their first title win against two seasoned World Champions – Mike Lee and Sage Kimzey.
With only three riders covering two bulls, Juan Alonzo would be the fourth rider to advance on his 91 points in round one.
Kimzey who was the average leader with 82 points earned the first bull selection. Kimzey, known to have a strategic plan in place before the national anthem, selected 67B Bumble B from Whisnant and Shaw. Kimzey, who has earned over 4 million riding bulls, explained his thought process on selecting his final bull was as much about Juan Alonzo’s riding strength into his hand as it was about himself.
“I saw him (67B) in Vegas and he’s a really good bull, I knew he was probably the rankest bull in the pen and if I rode him I would for sure win, he has a little more timing and spends it in the air, but I thought I would have the best chance to win on him. All the other riders were left-handers and while I have had success on Yellowhair, I thought I would leave him in the mix for one of them to try and get by,” smiled the strategic bull rider.
Second to ride would be John Pitts and he described the next few minutes of his first final four shootout round.
“I let Tuff pick for me and he asked me how I liked them, he picked a great one and I just got bucked off a great bucker,” said Pitts.
Mike Lee was next and he took 52 Lil Fool which left 3728 Yellowhair for Alonzo – advantage Kimzey.
The bulls took control and bucked off the first three riders leaving Kimzey with the chance to take home the lion’s share of the $30,000 purse. Persevering thru the pain of the shoulder and hand that collided with the chutes earlier in the competition, Kimzey delivered Hedeman’s promise to the crowd giving them an elite ride on world class bull as he rode Bumble B, the bull who is nicknamed “stinger” for 90 points.
“It feels great to come here and win my second Bossier title in front of such a great crowd, I had to keep moving on that last bull to keep up but the amazing fans here pulled me through to the whistle, “ said Kimzey.
Bull Team Wins
Bull Team Competition
With $70,000 up for grabs, the battle of the bulls ended with two well-known local bull men at the top of the leader board.
The only Louisiana cowboy standing on the chutes who did not get introduced among the pyro took home the big bull team prize check of $28,000. Cory Melton of Keithville, partnered with Scott Winston and won the 14 player bull team competition with 281.90 points - edging out five time PBR stock contractor of the year, Terry Williams from Carthage by 1.15 points.
Cory Melton, a former professional bull rider turned successful bucking bull breeder, trainer, and stock contractor was happy to get the win but described the victory as a long time in the making.
“Basically they were a set of bulls that we have worked for a while on putting together to get that result but getting them all on the same page on the same night - well, we won tonight, but for that set of bulls to do what they did tonight has been a year in the making.”
Anchoring Melton’s team was A8 Buster with the bull score of 88.5, 435 Time to Shine’s bull score was 87.5 and 45 Cowtown Exchange, 86. Time to Shine, ridden by Trey Kimzey in round one for 90 points, was the only bull ridden of the Winston-Melton trio.
The highest marked bull of the night was Kimzey’s round one bull, Hellfire representing Whisnant and Shaw’s team. That duo was also the highest marked bull rider score earning Kimzey 92.5 points which was an “assist” that helped to set up Kimzey’s winning pick in the final round.
Round by round scoring available on tuffhedemanbullriding.com
The pioneer of the sport of bull riding returns to action with the Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding Tour on April 7 at the Cowtown Coliseum in the historic stockyards of Fort Worth, Texas. Tickets are available for the one night only performance featuring the world’s best bull riders competing for $30,000. Tickets available at Tuffhedemanbullridng.com.
THBRT Bossier Bull Riding Results
1, Sage Kimzey, Strong City, Okla., 272 on 3 bulls, $20,500.00. 2, Mike Lee, 172, Alvord, Texas $2,250. 3, John Pitts, Panama City, Florida, $2,250. 171, 4, Juan Alonzo, Weslaco, Texas, 91 $1250.
THBRT Open Bull Team Competition
1, Scott Winston/Melton Bull Co. 281.90 points, $28,000. 2, Universal Pro Rodeo, 280.75, $21,000. 3, Barrett/Willis, 280.02, $14,000. 4, Bob Whisnant/Shaw, 279.96, $7,000.
For more information contact Leigh Ann Schroeder, 940.902.1112, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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