One year after he was bucked off in the NHSFR short round, Oklahoma bull rider Trey Kimzey has come back and spurred his way to a second-place ranking in the first go-round.
His 80-point attempt Monday morning moved him into second behind Michigan’s Hunter Ball, who scored 82 on Sunday evening.
“He was just a good bull,” Kimzey said. “He started right there to the left, then a fake right and came back to the left hard.”
Kimzey had no prior knowledge of the bull.
“A lot of guys ask around to find out what the bull does, but I think bulls are animals, you know what I mean?” Kimzey said. “There’s no telling what they’ll do.”
The 18-year-old senior from trick rider, partnering with his older sister, Dusta, to entertain crowds at professional rodeos from Georgia to Utah.
But, much like his older brother, Kimzey is drifting toward getting on more bulls and fewer trick-riding horses. In fact, he said he’s already earned roughly $10,000 this year at professional rodeos. Still, he’s after an NHSFR championship.
“There can only be one national champion every year,” he said, acknowledging that there are a lot of variables. “You just got to ride your bull and let the chips fall.”
Earlier that morning, Trey got a good-luck text from his brother. Sage Kimzey, just 22, who has won the past three straight PRCA world championships, and in February beat the best in the PBR to win RFD-TV’s “The American,” worth $433,333.
But the elder Kimzey sibling never had a healthy shot at an NHSFR title, Trey said. In fact, Sage was stepped on in Gillette one year and spent plenty of time at Campbell County Memorial Hospital undergoing surgery for compartmental syndrome. But injuries like that don’t much bother Trey.
“If you do your job right, and prepare correctly, you shouldn’t get hurt,” he said. “If you take care of your body, eat right and work out, but it’s still just a matter of when and how bad you get hurt.”
The bull riding brothers’ father, 17-time NFR barrelman Ted Kimzey, emphasizes to Trey that he stay square with the bull, while Sage helps his mental game, Trey said.
“He’s a big mind guy,” said Trey, who superstitiously packs his bag up the same way every rodeo.
Trey hopes to win the second round, which he thinks will likely take about an 85-point score. He can do it — his career high has been 89.5 points, scored last year at the IFYR in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The stretch from now until his second bull Friday night marks Trey’s only big break all summer, and he plans to spend time doing a little golfing and maybe at the lake.
Near fall, but a good score
In goat tying Monday morning, South Dakota’s Mary Risse overcame a near-fall to throw her hands up in 7.2 seconds, which moved her into third in the first go-round behind Oregon’s Aimee Davis, who tied her goat in 7.15 Sunday night and leader Emmalee Dubois of Utah, who turned in a 7.09-second performance Monday night.
Getting off at high speed just as the goat ran left created Risse’s stumble.
“My dad always makes us recover, in practice,” said the 18-year-old senior from Martin.
Risse finished sixth at the NHSFR in 2015, and would have again finished sixth last year, had her short-round goat not gotten up.
“This time I just wanted to go out there and try to win,” she said. “In past years, I was an 8.1 and 8.4 on my first runs, so this was a really good way to start out.”
Risse, who has attended clinics by former Central Wyoming College coach Lynn Smith, hopes to become the first South Dakota goat tyer since 1988 to win the national title. She plans to attend Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas, this fall on a rodeo scholarship.
Team ropers shine
She wasn’t the only former top-10 NHSFR finisher to experience the best first round of her career.
Team ropers Kellan and Karson Johnson of Casper, the runner-up national champions last year, drew a good steer to get the flag in 6.34 seconds Monday morning, sliding them solidly into in the go-round behind their cousin, Jerren Johnson, and his header Wheaton Williams — also of Wyoming.a
“I had that steer up there at Sheridan,” said Kellan, who has been competing at PRCA rodeos this summer with his dad, 2011 world champion heeler Jhett Johnson. “I knew those steers would be here, too.”
Incidentally, Kellan and Jhett were flagged out in Sheridan for a crossfire. Kellan and his little brother Karson, however, made a picture-perfect run in Gillette.
“When you get a good steer like this, against the best high school rodeo guys in the world, you don’t know what kind of second steer you’ll have, so you need to capitalize,” said Kellan, who plans to attend Gillette College in the fall.
Last year, the Johnson brothers had come tight in 7.1 seconds on their first steer, and went on to win the reserve national championship.