BULL RIDER EXPECTS TO COMPETE ONE LAST SEASON BEFORE MOVING ON
SAYRE, Okla. – Cody Whitney was just 8 years old when he first tied himself to a bucking bovine.
Now 25 years later, he’s putting the wraps to a stellar bull riding career. Whitney – who lives in Sayre, Okla., with his wife Kori, daughter Lila and son Quaid – is ready to hang up his bull riding gear.
“I’ve decided this will be my last year to compete,” said Whitney, who burst on the scene in 2001 as a young gun eager to tame bucking beasts.
The Oklahoma cowboy has been one of the best, and don’t look for it to change anytime soon. If things go well, he’ll end his incredible career at the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, ProRodeo’s grand finale that features only the top 15 cowboys and cowgirls from the given year.
“All the trophies and saddles on his wall do nothing for the legacy he’s leaving,” said Cord McCoy, a retired bull rider who also has been a reality-TV star. “Forty years from now when people ask you if you know Cody Whitney, it’ll make you smile thinking about who he is.”
Whitney, 32, has qualified for the NFR four times in the last five years, but he’s been one of the elite bull riders in the sport longer than that. He’s a six-time qualifier to the Professional Bull Riders World Finals, earning his first trip to the championship at 19 years old; he also has been a major player in the Championship Bull Riding organization.
“I am very happy with how my career has played out,” said Whitney, who finished among the top 10 in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings three of the four times he’s ridden in Las Vegas. “Obviously the goal every year is to win a world championship, and that’s my goal this year. But if it never happens, I’m OK with that.
“There aren’t that many people in this world that get to make a living doing what they love to do. I’ve been able to do that. It’s awesome.”
So is Whitney, who spent a number of years or in Asher, Okla.
“I think Cody’s career speaks for itself,” said Cord McCoy, a recently retired bull rider. “I’ve been friends with Cody Whitney since I was 7 years old, maybe longer. Anybody that’s ever ridden against Cody knows what kind of person he is.
“There aren’t too many people that have ridden for as much money as he has, but he still acts like he’s in the practice pen every time.”
That always has been Whitney’s style. His personality is what enabled him to play at the top of his game for most of his professional career. He never allowed the pressure of the moment to detour him. He’s won some of the biggest titles in the game and mastered some of the most infamous, toughest-to-ride bulls to have ever burst out of the chute.
“He’s kind of a dragon-slayer,” McCoy said. “He rode Little Yellow Jacket, the only three-time world champion bucking bull in the PBR. He rode Pandora’s Box, which was the nemesis for a lot of great bull riders. When Cody rode Bell’s Blue, that was the greatest bull we ever had, and he rode him at the PBR World Finals. That same week, Bell’s Blue bucked off Wiley Peterson and Justin McBride, but Cody Whitney rode him.
“He’s a great bull rider, but he’s a better friend.”
That might be the best attributes for Whitney, who has plans to remain active in rodeo in some regard when his riding days are over.
“I feel like I can do something with rodeo to help make it better when I’m done competing,” said Whitney, the two-time reigning bull riding champion at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days Rodeo who has won numerous prestigious titles in his career. “I think we have a great opportunity to make a great sport even better, and I want in on that.”