Cody Teel Prepares for Fifth NFR Experience

December to December is the clock inside Cody Teel. History tells us that the Kountze, Texas cowboy always seems to make the most of his NFR Experience including this year when he selected Las Vegas, the location of many happy moments in his young life, to embark on a completely new challenge.

If competing on rodeo’s biggest stage in front of 18,000 fans is not enough to think about and prepare for, Kaitlin McDonald and Cody Teel will be married in a Las Vegas hotel in front of a small group of family and friends as witnesses - just 24 hours before he climbs on his first bull.

“It’s exciting, all of our family and close friends will be there, I am most relaxed behind the chutes before the action begins – the NFR is my favorite time of year and I love it – makes sense to us and everyone’s there already,” said Teel.

When the National Finals Rodeo begins on December 1, there will be 15 bull riders introduced to the overflowing crowd inside the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Eight of those riders are standing on the hallowed grounds for the first time, two will be competing for the second time, three for the third time and then there are two that will be no doubt considered the veterans of the bull riding locker room – Cody Teel and Shane Proctor. Take it one step further and Teel is the only bull rider making his fifth consecutive appearance at the PRCA’s Super Bowl of rodeo.

“People might think it’s an edge to being there before, but really each year feels like the first time at the NFR, it’s a new rodeo each year and just the thrill of being there, I am little more confident now because I know where to go and don’t get lost, but it’s still exciting. I take things in and enjoy it a lot more than that first year that was such a whirlwind,” said the athlete that seemed ready to board the plane any minute.


Any Advice to the NFR Rookies?

“Take it in your first year, enjoy it, manage your time and appearances so you can still meet your goals.”  

Being a veteran is a word Cody Teel has not really become comfortable with and at twenty-four years old, that is understandable. The word veteran is a derivative of the Latin word meaning old – and he is anything but old!

While Teel will have to get used to being called a veteran, make no mistake, the competitive fire is still burning.  He might be comfortable with certain aspects of the 57 year old rodeo, but the argument can be made that he has approached his career and all four previous NFR’s like a seasoned competitor; a veteran professional athlete.

“The hardest part is you just have to find your own way, you can look up to some of the guys but in the end you have to find what works for you and the only way you get good at it is to do it yourself. You have to figure out how to deal with the hard times and the good times - the same.”

Cody Teel’s philosophy for competing and being successful at the highest level of bull riding is simple and remains the same year in and year out.

“You have to just take the bulls one bull at a time… the good ones, the bad ones, and all of them – you just have to stay on and don’t get too far ahead of yourself,” said the once youngest bull rider to win the PRCA World Championship in 2012.  

Teel believes that consistency is the key, learning to bounce back from injuries and adversities he believes are vital to a successful bull riding career.

“This year it was tough, it seems I couldn’t get the consistency I like to have, it’s the second most money I have ever won leading into the NFR, but the year felt choppy, I never really hit my stride like I usually do towards the end of the season,” continued the bride-groom.

If the bull riding community has learned anything from Cody Teel it is consistency over the long haul.

Teel has won ten event titles on the CBR Road to Cheyenne and the 2015 CBR World Championship that have lead me to have numerous conversations regarding his career, but this year has ushered in many changes in Cody’s life, but one things remains the same – he’s a professional cowboy.

“Consistency and learning to bounce back from injuries and adversities makes you stronger and it’s been important in my life.”

Teel joined the PRCA in 2011, earned the title of PRCA World Champion bull rider in 2012. says he has earned just shy of one million dollars in PRCA competition and is probably half way to his second million with four years of CBR earnings also to his credit including the $100,000 bonus attached to the CBR World Championship title he earned in July of 2015. In August, Cody added the Calgary Stampede Championship to his list of recent accomplishments, along with a hefty check.

Like his previous years as a professional rodeo cowboy, 2016 was no different. Teel won six PRCA event titles including a Champions Challenge title and an Xtreme Bulls tour event.

In 2015, while recovering from a reoccurring foot injury, he landed in Vegas and mounted a ten day campaign to win the NFR Average title. Although he finished second in the PRCA World Standings he took a skilled shot at unseating Sage Kimzey.

That 2015 NFR performance was one of his career bests. He won Round 3 and placed in seven other rounds to capture his second NFR Average title with a score of 656.5 points on eight head. In 2014, he placed in three rounds of the NFR, including a second-place result in Round 2 and finished 5th in the final PRCA World Standings. 2013 was good to him with two round wins, Rounds 7 and 8 of the NFR and placed in five other rounds on his way to winning the average title with 651.5 points on eight head; finished second in the world standings. At his first NFR in 2012, Teel won his first gold buckle, Round 3 and placed in two other rounds to beat four time World Champion J.W. Harris by $1,056 for the World title.

In 2011 representing Sam Houston State University he won the College National Finals Rodeo. Teel was the 2010 Texas High School State Champion while attending Kountze High School.

Recently Cody Teel’s six month old nephew was on Facebook sitting on the back of a bull, I asked him what advice he would give Wyatt if he came to Uncle Cody in 15 years and wanted to ride bulls professionally.

“Dedication, you have to set goals, and most importantly you have to find your own way – its tough out there, and be ready.”

Career Highlights

2011 College National Finals Rodeo Champion

2012 PRCA World Champion

2015 CBR World Champion

Wrangler NFR average titles: 2 (2013, 2015)

Tour Finale qualifications: 4 (2012-15)

RNCFR qualifications: 2 (2012, 2014)