Cody White: 2011 Horizon Series Champion


            It’s been said that if you pick a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Most people don’t fantasize about landing a job that requires driving thousands of miles only to get thrown in the dirt or have your head stepped on by a 2,000-pound bull. But for Texas bull rider Cody White, there’s no job he’d rather have because there’s nothing he loves more than riding bulls.

            “Ever since I was little I knew I wanted to ride bulls,” Cody says.  Many of Cody’s family members were involved in rodeo and his grandfather and uncles rode bulls. Friends of the family included top riders like Bo Davis and Brent Thurman, who lost his life while competing at the 1994 National Finals Rodeo. The influence of such great riders provided Cody with great mentors and role models as his own bull riding career took off.

            By the time he reached high school Cody was an accomplished rider, due in no small part to his tremendous dedication to the sport. When school let out for the day, Cody would load up his younger brother and friend Elliott Jacoby and head to the practice pen. “I probably got on 30 head of bulls every week before leaving for the weekend. After school I’d drive an hour or two and get on ten head, then drive home late and go to school the next morning,” he says.

            His hard work paid off and qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo twice. While such an honor is the dream of many young rodeo athletes, Cody opted not to attend the finals. “I didn’t want to drag my family up there for a week so I didn’t go,” he explains.

             Instead, Cody focused on making a living as a professional bull rider. In 2005, he chose to attend a Championship Bull Riding event. “That was about the time I was going to anything and everything that paid. The money was good and there was just something that stuck out when I went to CBR’s. They’re glad you’re there and they want you to come back again. CBR is kind of one big family,” he says.

            Since beginning his CBR career, Cody has qualified for the CBR World Championships every year. It’s an impressive feat, given the short career spans and occurrence of injuries in his line of work. At 29 years old, he’s still hitting the road just as hard as he did when his career began.

            That willingness to go the extra miles – literally – paid off in a big way this year when Cody was named 2011 CBR Horizon Series Champion. While he recognizes the accomplishment as one of his greatest to date, he humbly says, “It’s not really that I out-rode everybody; I just go a lot harder than everybody else. I ain’t scared to drive that extra three or four hours and go get more money.”

            The long hours on the road mean time spent away from his wife, Tori, and son, Rody Owen. The couple recently found out they will welcome their second child in May. After the events, Cody usually heads home to be with his family, rather than staying for the after party. “I head home because my wife is there with my son. She doesn’t get to go out and party and you don’t have to party to have fun anyway,” he says.

            While at home with his family, Cody also tends to his herd of bucking-bred cows and works on his ranch. “I weld a little bit, build stuff, fix fence, mess with the cows. I’m kind of a jack of all trades but I wouldn’t say I’m a professional at any of them. The cows are just kind of something I mess around with. I really mainly do the breeding and sell them when they’re calves. My son really likes to go out and feed the cows so that’s probably why I have so many of them,” he says.

            The breeding operation is something Cody has a lot of future plans for but in the meantime, he’s still focused on riding bulls. With all the expenses of getting down the road, he’s glad to have the help of great sponsors like Chris Knapp of JC Knapp Rodeo. “Chris pays all my fees and there’s no way I could be where I am today without him,” Cody says.

             For 2012, Cody plans to hit the road hardly like he always does. He’ll certainly make a run at another Horizon Series Championship but he’s still chasing down the ultimate dream – the CBR Cinch Tour World Championship.

Cody says, “I’ve been in the top 15 the last three or four years. If you watch, the guys that win it always get hot right toward the end of the season. I’ve been right there within striking distance but just haven’t gotten hot at the right time. It just hasn’t been me yet but I know I ride good enough to be number one. I want to get in there and win the world.”