Bull Riding; when the average person thinks of the rodeo this is the event that most people think of. It is arguably the most famous event in Pro Rodeo and the most famous for many different reasons. This year’s National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas will feature the top 15 bull riders in the world, each going against the 2,000 lb beast and trying to stay atop of him for as long as possible. The NFR runs from December 6th to the 15th and there is bull riding every single night so get ready to enjoy watching the world’s best!
Let’s go over the basics of the sport for those who have been living under a rock for the past 30 years. The main goal of the sport is to stay on the bull for as long as possible. The rider can only use one hand to stay on the bull; if the other hand so much as grazes the bull or himself then the rider will no receive any points for that ride. To stay on the bull, the rider grabs a flat braided rope that is attached to the bull by wrapping around the bull’s chest and then tightened around the bull to ensure that the rope does not come loose during the ride.
The extra slack in the rope is known as the tail and the rider uses it to hold onto the bull and try and stay on as long as he can. The ride begins as soon as the gate opens and the rider tries to stay on the bull for as long as he can. Every bull has a different bucking pattern and it is impossible to tell what the bull is going to do before he is let out of the gate, which is one of the many reasons that people find bull riding so exciting.
Sage Kimzey has been absolutely dominant in 2018, winning almost double in prize money than the rider in second place. Kimzey is the current star of bull riding and there is no one that can hold a candle to him currently. He became the youngest millionaire in the history of rodeo at the ripe age of 22 and now he is looking to win his 5th consecutive bull riding world championship title at the WNFR.
There is a good chance he will break his own personal earnings record and break over $500,000 in prize winnings for the year. Kimzey had an eight-second ride at the last finals a year ago which was enough to give him his fourth golden belt. He is already only four golden belts away from the all-time leader, Don Gay, who won eight titles and won his last at age 31. Kimzey could already be in the double digits by the time he is 31 years old.
Parker Breding is the greatest threat to Kimzey’s title in 2018. He is a young gun as well at only 26 years old he has really come into his own this year. He had the best year of his career so far pulling in over $180,000 for the 2018 season. Kimzey would have to have an awful final for Breeding to have a chance at the title but crazier things have happened.
Relevant article: WNFR All Around Predictions
Regardless of who ends up taking home the title, this event is always a fan favorite and will continue to be a staple of the NFR for decades to come. Make sure that you get your tickets now before the event sells out or if you are watching from home enjoy every single night of bull riding that you can before the event ends on December 16th.
The Top 15 Bull Riders in the 2018 National Finals Rodeo:
1 Sage Kimzey
2 Parker Breding
3 Dustin Boquet
4 Roscoe Jarboe
5 Chase Dougherty
6 Jeff Askey
7 Boudreaux Campbell
8 Garrett Tribble
9 Tyler Bingham
10 Trey Benton III
11 Cole Melancon
12 Koby Radley
13 Joe Frost
14 Eli Vastbinder
15 Trevor Kastner