Salado Cowboy wins 7th World Bull Riding Championship at NFR
SALADO, Texas (KWTX) - A Salado Cowboy who is in the history books as the youngest millionaire in the sport of rodeo has just become the seven-time world champion bull rider after winning it all at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas over the weekend.
Sage Kimzey, 27, was born in Strong City, Okla. but now lives in Salado with his wife Alexis Bloomer, who is a graduate of Salado High School. Alexis is an award-winning journalist, entrepreneur, author and TV host. In fact, she interviewed Sage at the NFR for Wrangler Network on the eve of the 10-day competition which took place Dec. 2 to 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Sage dedicated his 2021 win to Alexis and their unborn son, due in March, but says getting back to this level after a dismal 2020 was more difficult than fans realize.
Sage won six championships in a row at the NFR until 2020, which was moved to Arlington because of COVID-19.
When he competed last year, Sage was fresh off an injury and surgery and says his mind just wasn’t in the right place.
The athlete went into the event ranked number one but finished fifth overall.
“A lot of people don’t know but last year I struggled with loving to ride,” Kimzey said. “I had to force myself to get on at rodeos and even at the 2020 NFR. Coming into this season I had to rededicate myself to my craft. One thing about me is I’m extremely passionate about the sport of rodeo and I’m thankful that my passion was restored this year. "
Kimzey’s success in the sport of bull riding started at a young age.
He first came on the scene in 2013 setting a record for the most money won on a permit in a single season.
In his second year competing, Sage became the first rookie since 1963 to win a World Title and Rooke Title in the same year.
“I love this sport and I’m humbled to have some part in its rich history,” Kimzey said.
Kimzey’s performance at this year’s NFR felt good to him as the days went along.
“I came out here and really this year. I feel like my preparation was better than it ever has been,” Kimzey said.
“I started of really strong and then had a lull there in the middle but it was a long 10-day event so it’s just kind of getting back to the basics, refocusing on everything and just staying on the bull at the end of the day. "
Kimzey’s wife, Alexis, cheered her husband on from the stands despite being due with the couple’s first baby in just weeks.
" Alexis has been a trooper through all of it,” he said. “I knew she would be but she’s surpassed my expectations.”
Sage will be looking to tie bull rider Don Gay’s record next year at the NFR of eight bull riding world championships.
Alexis said that Gay has been an amazing supporter of Sage. She even snapped a picture of Gay with his arms in the air in the crowd, cheering on the Salado cowboy as Kimzey claimed the championship making him just one win shy of Gay’s long-standing record.
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