Cody Teel Sprints to His Third NFR

A discussion of statistics and predictions of who will win the bull riding at the 2014 PRCA National Finals Rodeo is not complete without profiling the twenty-two year old, second generation bull rider from Kountze, Texas.

Cody Teel’s philosophy for competing and being successful at the highest level is simple.

“You just have to stay on bulls,” he said. “The good ones, the bad ones and all of them – you just have to stay on. You just take one bull at a time and don’t get too far ahead of yourself,” said the youngest world champion bull rider in the history of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association as he heads to his third National Finals Rodeo next week.

Betting on Cody Teel next week in Vegas is probably more than an educated guess. Both times he has qualified and rode at the NFR he has come home with one of the two titles up for grabs each December in Sin City. 

With Teel winning five event titles on the Road to Cheyenne in the past two years, I have had multiple opportunities to talk to Cody Teel about his career, but it’s the individual I find just as fascinating as the staggering statistics of this 6 foot, 165 pound bull rider who never says “off the record”. 

Focusing now not only his riding career, but also in setting a good example for the younger generation, Teel continues to set the bar high for other cowboys both in an out of the arena. Teel’s social media accounts are full of photos with children, special fans, and encouraging words to all competitors and he is fully engaged and accessible at each event with fans, members of the media, and the event staff.

I met Cody Teel before his gold buckle, before the sponsors, and definitely before he was a household name. Cody’s dad Robbie learned to ride bulls in Icky Schroeder’s arena in Nome, Texas in the 70’s and the families have been friends ever since.  Marrying into a rodeo oriented family means the occasional airport pick up or assist in the younger generation’s travel plans which is how I met Cody for the first time in Hobbs, New Mexico when my husband, R.D. Schroeder, picked him up at the airport, little did I know I would be interviewing him three hours later as the event champ and stuffing an oversized check into my car to take home to his mom.

After winning the 2011 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Finals representing Sam Houston State University, Teel decided to attempt the professional level of the sport he joined when he was just eight years old.  

After 8 PRCA event titles, $53,040.00, and being the PRCA runner up rookie to Chandler Bownds, Teel entered two CBR Horizon Series events in late fall of 2011, winning both. Accepting an invitation from Tuff Hedeman to ride with Championship Bull Riding on The Road to Cheyenne tour, Teel flew to Hobbs for the first event of the CBR 2012 season.

The two-time Texas High School Rodeo Bull Riding Champion fit right in winning his first event in Hobbs. Somewhat in a state of shock, Cody took to the autograph lines spending an hour signing autographs and taking selfies with his newest fans, before departing with the guys to make a rodeo across the state the next day.  

Teel would go on to win two televised tour events and qualify for his first CBR World Finals at Cheyenne. He would ride three of three bulls in Cheyenne to finish the CBR year in the number nine position and 5th in the average. But the remaining 5 months of 2012, would be good to Cody as he went on to win his first PRCA World Championship gold buckle by winning Round 3 and placing in two other rounds at his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, finishing with $201,978 and beating J.W. Harris by $1,056 for the world title. He won the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo; the Amicus Club PRCA Rodeo (Alexandria, La.) and the Hugo (Okla.) PRCA Rodeo. Co-champion at the Inter-State Rodeo (Coffeyville, Kan.) in that same year.

2013 would start strong for Teel as he began the year winning the CBR in Bossier City. He would go on that year to win the coveted Tuff Hedeman Championship Challenge in Ft Worth and in spite of an injury at Rodeo Houston in March, he would qualify for the CBR World Finals where he would finish 9th for the year after missing most of the second half of the CBR season. In March, Teel was slammed to the arena dirt in Houston and suffered a broken left elbow, an injury to his free arm that required 10 screws and two plates to repair during a March 7 surgery. 

The irony of his injury was that it occurred the day after he was honored in his hometown for his gold buckle. March 5th was declared “Cody Teel Day” in Hardin County, Texas. 

He was out of commission for nearly three months, but came back strong nonetheless.

Shortly after his return, Teel suffered a broken jaw in Hugo, Okla., and rodeoed with a metal plate in his chin and a jaw that’s been wired shut, but unless you specifically asked, he never mentions it.

His rodeo career would continue after Cheyenne for 2013 as he won Rounds 7 and 8 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and placed in five other rounds on his way to winning the average title with 651.5 points on eight head. He finished second in the world standings with $224,073. His wins for that year included the Cody/Yellowstone Xtreme Bulls (Cody, Wyo.); the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo (Colorado Springs, Colo.); the Rodeo de Santa Fe (N.M.) and the Magic Valley Stampede (Filer, Idaho). Co-champion at the San Angelo (Texas) Rodeo. 

2014 would go much like 2013, several event wins in the CBR and PRCA, but once again Cody would get hurt on his final bull in the largest unsanctioned rodeo in the world, Rodeo Houston. 

In typical good hearted fashion Teel would report his news to his fans via Facebook. “Had a little bad luck in Houston again. Broke my ankle last night and will be evaluated for surgery on Monday. I would like to thank Dusty Tuckness, Chuck Swisher and Cory Wall for getting me out of a jam. It could have been a lot worse if it wasn't for these guys! Also a big thank you to Rodeo Houston for putting on such a great rodeo! Be back next year.”

Returning to action on June 11, Teel would be making up lost ground in the rodeo world and then head to Cheyenne for the CBR World Finals. Knowing he was out of contention for a CBR World title after missing more than half of the season with injury, Teel reminded me that every ride counts.

“It’s a humbling sport and you ride each one to the whistle.” 

Teel finished the CBR World Finals in the 7th slot, but grew stronger as the summer scheduled continued and finished the PRCA season as the third ranked cowboy heading into the National Finals Rodeo. To hear Cody’s thoughts on his third NFR log on to: 


Professional 2014 Highlights include:

• Won the Justin Boots Playoffs (Puyallup, Wash.)

• Won the Wrangler Champions Challenge (Kennewick, Wash.)

• Won the Ponoka (Alberta) Stampede

• Won the Tri-State Rodeo (Fort Madison, Iowa)

• Won the Fort Bend County Fair & Rodeo (Rosenberg, Texas)

• Won the Gooding (Idaho) ProRodeo

• Won the Austin County Fair & Rodeo (Bellville, Texas)

• Won the Crosby (Texas) Fair & Rodeo

• Co-champion at the Wrangler Champions Challenge (Rapid City, S.D.)


To meet Cody at this year’s NFR, see his appearance schedule below:

Dec. 4- 11:00 am-12:00 pm CINCH Boot Barn- Las Vegas Conv Center.

1:00-2:00 pm TONY LAMA at Boot Barn-L.V. Conv. Center.

Dec. 5- 10:00-11:30 am-MGM Main Lobby

Dec. 6- 10:30-11:30 am-HESSTON-Monte Carlo Hotel & Casino

1:00-2:00 pm WINDHAM WEAPONRY at the Rocky Mountain Elk Hunter Christmas (booth 730) at L.V. Convention Center

Dec. 7- 11:00-12:00 CINCH-Mandalay Bay-Logan's booth

Dec. 8- 10:00-11:30- MGM Main Lobby

1:00-2:00- TONY LAMA -Boot Barn-L.V. Conv. Center

Dec. 9- 12:00-2:00-PRCA BULLRIDERS-Treasure Island in Gilley's Saloon

Dec. 10- 1:00 pm ANTHONY LUCIA SHOW- Sand's Conv. Center

2:00 pm CINCH- MGM-NRS World

Dec. 11- 10:00-11:00 am- TONY LAMA-MGM-NRS World

Dec. 12- 2:00-3:00 pm CINCH-MGM-NRS World