CBR Barrelman Cody Sosebee’s Thank “full” Day

CBR Barrelman Cody Sosebee’s Thank “full” Day


Cody Sosebee was grateful the day was finally ending, grateful he finished the chores of feeding chickens and goats, grateful the children’s train was parked in the station for the evening and extraordinarily grateful when his cell phone rang with a Colorado area code flashing on the small screen.

“I was in the pumpkin patch all day and my friends, Dusty Tuckness, John Harrison and Robbie Hodges kept texting and carrying on about it being THE DAY,” said the 2017 National Finals Rodeo barrelman  – Cody Sosebee.

 It was the best message of his professional rodeo career.

“I have a job in December,” laughed Cody remembering what was his first thought and reaction after being informed that he was selected to be the barrelman man for this year’s National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December – a job at the top of his wish list since he filled in as the rodeo clown in 1998 when the hired guy didn’t show up.

It is Cody Sosebee’s first time on the short list of barrelmen to entertain for ten nights at the Thomas and Mack arena in Las Vegas.  After finishing in the top 5 ten times and nominated as best comedy act six times, the 45 year old athlete turned clown says he has a few more tricks and laughs up his sleeves and is at home preparing the final production details for what he says is known as the fastest production in rodeo, the Wrangler National Finals.

“I was riding bareback horses in the IPRA and just filled in for two nights as the clown, when I picked up my earnings the barrelman check was twice as much as the second place finish in the rodeo bareback division, it was then I became a professional rodeo clown,” said Sosebee.

According to Sosebee, he had been rodeoing competing in bareback category and getting on a few bulls so it was easy to transition to entertainment with one foot in the door.

“I knew a lot of those stock contractors and rodeo committee guys so that was how I got my foot in the door and it just took off from there.”

This year alone Sosebee estimates he worked approximately 200 rodeo, bull riding or roughstock performances and between July and August his calendar said “work” every day. 

“I love being part of the show that makes people happy,”

“Being from a small town I understand that money is hard to come by - and I am thankful and appreciate that people get off work, feed the kids, get dressed and bring them out to watch our sport – I am from a small town with a simple lifestyle and it means a lot to me to be the one that makes them forget about all their problems and just enjoy a few hours,” continued Sosebee.

“Being chosen, it means a lot because the selection process is made from rodeo barrelmen and announcer professionals. It’s the biggest honor you can have because you’re selected by your peers - they trust you on the biggest stage.”

“This truly humbles you.”

The native of Charleston, Arkansas, has been entertaining crowds from one end of the country to the other and says “within the walls of rodeo good rumors about you - are how you survive.”

“Tuff Hedeman called me and said he had heard about me and invited me to a CBR,” so I went to my first CBR in Lake Charles, Louisiana. That was in 2008, I think, and I have been working CBR events including the World Finals at Cheyenne Frontier Days ever since.

If you can’t make it to Vegas, you can catch Cody Sosebee on the Road to Cheyenne during the CBR upcoming events in Jackson, Tenn., Bossier City, La., and later dates to be announced on the 16 city nationwide 2018 pro bull riding tour.

“My job is to always make sure people are having fun.”

Preparing includes coordinating details of his routine and sometimes fitting the longer routines into the specific time slots and preparing for the 2017 audience that he admits is different.

“What we could do and say when I started in the 90’s is not the same as today, so much has changed, but I know I need to be ready for anything.”

But besides the excitement of preparing, Sosebee said he was grateful for the outpouring of sentiment from a select group who took the time to call him. 8 time World Champion bull rider Don Gay, Bob Tallman, and Randy Corely – all hall of fame cowboys reached out to the funny man upon hearing of the results.

“They are the best that ever was and to hear them say it’s your time – I mean that was special.”

Sosebee will be in the arena during the bull riding – but just how dangerous is the job and is it life threatening?

Sosebee has been joking with the professional bullfighter’s texting pictures of donuts and pies to them as they eat clean and healthy and follow a strict workout regimen to get in shape and prepare to fight bulls for ten consecutive nights - but he knows the job comes with a certain degree of danger.

“In May I was in my barrel at a rodeo in Fort Smith (Arkansas) and got hit by a bull - got a stinger and had to be cut and helped out of the barrel.”

But most days are full of laughs and stories that turn into rodeo legend.

“I was trying to splash some mud on a group of bull riders in the arena as I circled and my cape got caught in the motorcycle spokes and pulled me off and choked me down - the motorcycle on top of me, the crowd thought it was part of the act,” said Sosebee in response to the most humorous rodeo anecdote from the road.  

On this day of giving thanks, Cody Sosebee did not hesitate to respond with what he considers his biggest blessing.

“I am thankful every day for the life I lead, traveling in and out, jumping on plane and being in Las Vegas one day and back in my home town a day later, all in the name of making people happy and I’m grateful I will have a platform to use for good.”

Cody Sosebee will sit down with his family at the ranch this Thanksgiving Day and be thankful for his girlfriend Tonya, his sisters Shannon and Kim, Mom and Dad and step-mom, and the best of both worlds way of life that being a rodeo entertainer has provided.

“I am thankful I get to work on producing a clean family comedy show intertwined with one of the most traditional sports in America, my teachers said I would never make it being a clown - but I’m proving them wrong.”

Cody Sosebee is known nationwide as the fan-friendly face - stopping in Cheyenne to give fans rides in a mini chariot pulled by a team of ponies, taking selfies along the parade route, and forever grateful for the life he leads and plans to cherish every moment of God’s blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo credit: Todd Brewer