Atwell and Son

In 2005, following in his father’s footsteps, 18-year-old, Corey Atwell of Statesville, North Carolina, set his sights on being a career cowboy when he rode in his first Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) sanctioned event. His father, Charlie Atwell, earned the title of PRCA Rookie of the Year in 1979 for Saddle Bronc Riding. Ten years later, he has qualified for his first CBR World Finals and will ride on the hallowed ground where his father competed thirty-seven years ago. 

With his father’s guidance, Atwell began his career riding sheep at a young age. He then progressed through the ranks of junior rodeo including trying his hand at team roping and bucking horses, but it was the bucking bulls, the rock stars of the rodeo, that captured this North Carolina cowboy’s soul.

He settled into bull riding and in August of 2005, at 18 years of age entering his first PRCA rodeo and PBR sanctioned bull riding with the help of PRCA World Champion and PBR Ring of Honor recipient, Jerome Davis. Davis, who was paralyzed in 1998 in a bull riding accident, has remained a constant influence in Atwell’s life and he considers Jerome and his wife, Tiffany close family friends and mentors. 

“I was a broke teenager wanting to be a bull rider, I entered and rodeoed wherever I could get in,” said Atwell about his early years.

One year later in 2006, Atwell hit the CBR radar and he rode in his first CBR in Huron, South Dakota. He would ride again in the Huron CBR sanctioned event in 2007 but that was the only CBR he attended as he was committed to the pro rodeo schedule. Three years after declaring himself a pro bull rider he was crowned the International Pro Rodeo Association World Champion Bull Riding title.

He reappeared on the CBR day sheet in 2013 at the season opener in Jackson, Tennessee and again in Los Fresnos, El Paso, Huron, and Lufkin putting up numbers that kept him in the 50 percent riding average within CBR competition.

Injuries, including twice breaking his hand, would keep him from the NFR and CBR for most of the 2014 bull riding season with the exception of the PRCA South East Circuit Finals at the end of the year. 

But it was 2015 before we would see the cowboy from North Carolina on the CBR’s Road to Cheyenne Tour for the first time in over a year. 

“Last year, I started doing good at Matt Nobles’ (CBR Arena Manager) bull ridings so it kicked me up and I got to enter Huron last August and now I’m going to the Finals for the first time,” continued Atwell who will be riding in his first CBR World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days in July.

CBR was not the only place Atwell was excelling in 2015, he won 10 bull riding titles in the PRCA in 2015 including the American Royal in Kansas City, but his best CBR event for the 2015-16 season was at the    Fort Worth Tuff Hedeman Championship Challenge Bull Riding in April where he finished second on two bulls with 179 points.

He won both of the preliminary rounds including an 88.5 on Cude’s Comanche Moon and a 90.5 spin on JQH’s Jack Tar to put him in the lead going into the four man Shoot Out.

“I didn’t know the bulls so it was just a - point at one on the list - kind of decision,” said Atwell in between rounds at an open bull riding close to home.

His second best finish was in Laughlin where he barely missed the four man round coming in fifth with 173.5 on two.


It’s A Family Thing

You might not see two Atwell’s in the same rodeo arena any more, but they are both carpenters, side-by-side building and sharing a different kind of legacy. Corey enjoys building custom and one of a kind pieces including furniture.

Atwell, a previous CFD rodeo contender is excited to return to CFD with his mother making the trip with some of her friends and hopefully his rodeo famed father who competed for several years in the same arena in Cheyenne that Corey will be riding.

Atwell graduated from Alexander Central High (Taylorsville, N.C.) and enjoys fishing, hunting and horses. He is traveling with young Oklahoma bull rider Garret Tribble this summer, but has seen the countryside with CBR Mahindra Young Gun Eli Vastbinder, also from North Carolina, in previous years. His favorite rodeo is Cheyenne Frontier Days and as he goes up and down the road he will be listening to rock, rap, and Lynyard Skynyrd.

Current Residence is Moravian Falls, N.C.