Cody Rostockyj Earns First Trip to the National Finals Rodeo

If you look at Cody Rostockyj’s Facebook page it immediately identifies the heart and soul of the 27 year old bull rider from Lorena, Texas. With his children’s photos front and center and anecdotes of he and his wife Tomile’s entertaining farm life, one thing is clear, Rostockyj puts family first and bull riding second.

In 2014, Cody revealed to me in his original profile interview that he would be a United States Marine if he wasn’t a bull rider. You might think that is an odd answer as the two careers have nothing in common.

But on November 4, Rostockyj clarified that answer when he publicly acknowledged on Facebook his thoughts on 38 year old Mike White coming out retirement to ride 059 Boomer (Jeri Harmon), a bull that he faces weekend and week out on the Road to Cheyenne.

“Shout out to Mike White for still being someone to look up to and showing you never lose awesome.”

Three years ago when I asked why the Marines, Rostockyj replied, “I want to be someone you can look up to.”

Mission accomplished.

In 23 days, approximately 17,000 people will be packed inside the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada waiting for the first round of the National Finals Rodeo to begin. Sitting in the seats of an event that has been sold out for thirty years will be men, women and children, all looking up to the cowboys and cowgirls that are competing as the top 15 rodeo athletes in their event at the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s Super Bowl, the National Finals Rodeo (NFR).

This year for the first time Cody Rostockyj will be among those athletes with a back number on, waiting his turn on the back of the bucking chutes when the bull riding begins.


Rostockyj’s Roulette

“I would describe my run as consistent,” stated the only bull rider I know that always answers his cell phone.

“I won second ($20,000) early in the year at San Antonio and that was my first big jump, then I just steadily started winning good checks thru the year. Seemed like I didn’t have many weeks where I didn’t win any money, never had a horrible weekend, had some not as good as others, but consistently won money.”

The second advantage to Rostockyj’s run was good health… all year.

“Being healthy all year and mixing up the CBR events with the pro rodeo’s allowed me to have fun and build confidence all year. I really like what I do, we get to mix things up going from the music blaring all bull riding events to the pro rodeos where we get to watch all the other events and cowboys first.”

Rostockyj finished in the 11th slot of the PRCA’s top 15 bull riders earning $88,567.80 during the 12 month qualifying season and estimates $150,000 total between CBR and PRCA.

Rostockyj has thirty one career go round wins and eleven times he has scored 90 points or better with two coming from the 2016 CBR season. So what is this father of two thinking as December approaches?

“If I think about it too much I’ll clam up and buck off, so I try not to think about it too much,” revealed Rostockyj in a recent radio interview.


When the Chips are Down

But if you are attempting to handicap the bull riders a recap of their recent performance might be beneficial.

Cody Rostockyj had a stellar third season on CBR’s premier tour with two event championship titles. He rode 60 percent of his bulls on the 2016 Road to Cheyenne with eight top ten finishes and four times he finished in the top five. He advanced to the final four Shoot out Round four times, he advanced to the second semifinal round eight times in the thirteen CBR events he attended.

“My 2016 Road to Cheyenne was the most memorable yet,” said the always upbeat and friendly Rostockyj.

The twenty-seven year old father of two made his third appearance at the CBR World Finals in 2016 leaving Cheyenne in fourth place in the CBR World Finals points race, but was second to Kimzey in earnings with $66,337.50 collected on the Road to Cheyenne after leading the CBR’s televised tour for six months in the first half of the season.

Rostockyj joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2012 and currently boasts PRCA Career Earnings of $172,023. He finished 29th in 2015 with earnings of $43,396. The highest marked bull ride of Rostocky’s career is 92.5 points on J908 Outside the Box owned by Jimmy Jaynes.  His favorite rodeo win was Pecos, Texas.

“I was second in 2015 and really excited to win it this year, it’s the coolest buckle and I have been going there a long time,” said Rostockyj.


Feeling Lucky

“I never really had anything to do with bull riding. My dad rode some when I was young, but I never got on calves or steers. I played baseball, and one day turned 14, and I don’t know what got into me. I thought, ‘man that’d be fun to try,’ I’ve been with it ever since,” he laughs.

But despite the time it takes, it was a commitment to a solid foundation that built Rostockyj’s bull riding career. 

“My dad, when I told him I wanted to ride High School Rodeo, he made me go for a year to the practice pen without ever going to a rodeo or anything so I could get everything down basics-wise and then went to high school rodeos.” Rostockyj is a former Regional High School Rodeo Champion from Region 10 in Texas, one of the most competitive states for high school aged rodeo.

Rostockyj first jumped into bull riding at an early age in 2006, but admits he tried to dive off the deep end too quickly in a professional career when he first turned 18.

“I just thought I was awesome and could go and do it and went and wasn’t as good as I thought,” he recalls with humor.

 He went back to the steady course he knows, building up his resume. He college-rodeoed for Hill College, competed in amateur rodeos and then entered the CBR Horizon Series. 

“I got all of it down better than I had anticipated and just slowly come into it,” he says of his flourishing career now at the age of 27.

Education: Hill College (Hillsboro, Texas), associate degree in elementary education.

Professional Rodeo 2016 Highlights

• Won the Cody (Wyo.) Stampede• Won the Lea County Fair & PRCA Rodeo (Lovington, N.M.)• Won the Ute Stampede (Nephi, Utah) • Won the Nebraska's (Burwell) Big Rodeo• Won the West of the Pecos (Texas) Rodeo

Editor’s Note: Cody Rostockyj vowed publicly he would never attend the PRCA National Finals Rodeo unless he was entered. This is authentically his first year to attend the NFR and will no doubt be memorable from the inside of the bull rider’s locker room.