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Cody Wright thrills crowd

by Tracy Renck | Mar 02, 2019


ARLINGTON, Texas – At the ripe age of 41, saddle bronc rider Cody Wright still has it.

The two-time PRCA world champion (2008 and 2010) was an invitee to The American and showed he is as good as the best in the world as he placed second in saddle bronc riding Saturday with an 87.25-point ride on Dakota Rodeo’s Bartender.

Ryder Wright, Cody’s son, won the round with an 89-point ride on Powder River's Rich-N-Fancy.

“It felt really good compared to the last one I got on,” Cody Wright said. “The last one I got on was in Moab, Utah, last May and I hurt my back. The horse was riding me instead of me riding him. This is a cool deal. I can’t ever complain when those kids are winning.”

The top eight finishers in each event advance to the finals of the ProRodeo Tour event at 2 p.m. (CT) Sunday. The top eight from Saturday's 16-man advanced to Sunday's eight-man round. The top four from the average will move on to the shootout.

“I’ve never been on that horse before,” Cody said. “The first time I really watched that horse was when they won Sioux Falls S.D., on that horse, I think in 2016. I didn’t know a lot of these horses on the draw, but I knew that one, and I was really excited to have him. I knew he would be good in here, and he was a very good horse.”

Ryder would have gladly traded places with his dad on Saturday.

“One minute you think he’s done, and the next minute he’s riding for a million dollars,” Ryder said. “It is pretty special to get to ride here with him. He’s my biggest influence. I grew up watching him and everyone wants to be like their dad. I was pulling for him to win more than I was pulling for myself.”

Rusty Wright, a fellow saddle bronc rider, concurred with his brother.

“This was awesome,” Rusty said. “No one deserved this (an invite) more that him in my eyes. He worked hard his whole career and won a lot, and for him to have a chance at this money is awesome."  

After his strong performance Friday, Cody was keeping things in perspective for Saturday.

“I will just take it one horse at a time,” Cody said. “I’m really excited to just have the opportunity to be here, let alone be eligible for the million and to win $50,000 and possibly go back to the NFR, that’s like a million in itself.”

Cody said he sidelined himself last May because of back pain after the Moab ride.

“I had it checked out, and they said it was good, but it was plaguing me,” Wright said. “I couldn’t get out of bed for a week. I was mad because it was a deal that happened to me that if I was younger I would have just run right out of that wreck. I would have never been in it. You’re just slow enough to get wadded in crap like that.”

Cody acknowledged he had no immediate rodeo plans – until he received a phone call Feb. 25 to see if he wanted to compete in The American.

“Cody Lambert called me, but I didn’t have his number saved in my phone and I thought it was someone calling me about a car warranty or something, so I didn’t even answer it,” Cody said. “Then, Jake, my brother, called me and said, ‘Heath Stewart (the manager at Frontier Rodeo Company) was trying to get a hold of me to invite you to The American, so answer your phone.’ ... My back feels good now, and I don’t know if the bucking horses bother my back as much as the travel. I flew down here. I barely had enough time to get my stuff packed and get down here. I got here Friday. We were rushing to get here, and it felt just like rodeo again to me. I was right back at it.”

For more coverage of The American check out the March 8 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.

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