Bownds takes down defending champ by $123 in San Antonio |

Bownds takes down defending champ by $123 in San Antonio

Chandler Bownds may not have won the battle Feb. 28, but he did win the war.

Bownds and Sage Kimzey – the defending world champion bull rider – each made big-time rides that electrified the crowd at the AT&T Center, but Bownds walked away with the prestigious San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo buckle.

After Bownds brought the crowd to its feet at the 10-time PRCA Large Indoor of the Year with an 88-point trip on Andrews Rodeo’s Red Heat, Kimzey rode D&H Cattle’s Savage for 90 points to win the final round. However, Bownds’ success in the semifinals helped him earn a total of $21,692 – which was $123 more than Kimzey.

“It feels amazing to have this buckle because this is one of the biggest rodeos in the world, and this is a buckle I always wished I would win,” said Bownds, a Lubbock, Texas, native. “There was a bunch of great bull riding (Feb. 28). This event couldn’t get any better, and I was lucky enough to win.

“Sage made an awesome bull ride, so I would’ve been happy for him if he would’ve won. There were a lot of great bull rides here in San Antonio the last few weeks, so it feels really good to come away with the buckle.”

As nice as the buckle was for the 23-year-old Bownds, the large check was just as sweet. After going to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2011 and 2013, he missed a trip to Las Vegas last season, finishing 20th in the world.

“The game plan is to make it to the NFR every year, and I don’t want to only keep going in odd years,” Bownds said. “It’ll work out however it does, but I want to be on top at the end of this season.”

Bownds said he wasn’t trying to do the math in his head after Kimzey rode for 90 points. Both men left all they had on the arena dirt, much to the appreciation of the capacity crowd.

“This is a lot of money to win at one rodeo, and it makes the rest of my winter better,” Bownds said. “I’ve been to Vegas and won some rounds there, but this is probably the biggest win I’ve ever had. Being a Texas boy and bringing this title home makes it even more special.

“The fans don’t get better than they are here in San Antonio, and you can’t beat it when fans are on their feet and cheering for you.”

So what would the celebration be for Bownds?

“There ain’t no telling,” he said with a smile.

Neal Wood, a 40-year-old steer roper from Needville, Texas, was the top earner of any competitor in San Antonio. Wood placed in all three rounds and won the average with a time of 33.7 seconds on three head on March 1, earning a total of $30,707.

Other winners at the $1,480,500 rodeo were bareback rider Kaycee Feild ($23,173), steer wrestler Seth Brockman ($23,173), team ropers Kaleb Driggers and Travis Woodard ($21,034), saddle bronc rider Rusty Wright ($22,246), tie-down roper Cory Solomon ($23,458) and barrel racer Sherry Cervi ($21,942).

Feild, the four-time and defending world champion, was extra pleased to earn a total of $23,173 in San Antonio, considering he’s going to miss two to three months soon. Feild has been rodeoing with a torn labrum in his hip, and plans to have surgery following the March 25-28 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo. He says that although the doctors told him it will be a 12-14-week recovery period, he hopes to be back within 10 weeks. “To come into this rodeo this year and be able to win was more important to me than in other years,” he said. “This was so crucial for me.”