Wyoming native Cole Reiner enjoyed his time on the big stage.
The National Finals Rodeo, moved temporarily to Texas due to the coronavirus pandemic, was good to Reiner as he moved into fifth place in the world rankings in bareback riding after the 10-day event, his first appearance in the biggest rodeo in the world.
“Being able to be one of two guys to represent Wyoming, that’s something that was a lot more special than I thought it would be,” the Kaycee native said. “Wyoming is such a good cowboy state, it’s kind of mind-blowing being one of the two guys. That’s something a lot of people don’t understand, how few Wyoming cowboys represent in the NFR.”
Reiner and Hillsdale native Brody Cress, a saddle bronc rider, were the only Wyomingites in the NFR this year. They both represented well, with Cress finishing the year third in the world in saddle bronc.
The rodeo this year took place in Globe Life Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and brought in some 20,000 spectators. Despite the size of the crowd, that’s a little under half the capacity of the building. Reiner said the fans made up for it with the energy they brought.
“When the crowd went crazy, it was electric,” he said.
This was Cress’s fourth NFR, but it was Reiner’s first time. Reiner, who now calls Weatherford, Texas, his home and training grounds, said the competition was the best he’d seen.
“Getting to compete every night with the best guys and best horses in the world, that’s the whole reason you do it,” the 22-year-old said. “Every night is a new night and everyone has a chance to win. If you let something slip, you never know when you’re going to get another opportunity because there are 14 other guys waiting to win.”
The NFR is a 10-day event and the rough stock riders like Reiner, who might otherwise get a little more time off between rides have to go on all 10 days to have a shot at winning a golden buckle. It’s tough on the cowboys.
“Every night is the best of the best,” Reiner said. “You gotta go out there and compete to the top level of your ability. It’s a draining 10 days. When you’re in it you don’t realize how exhausting it is. Very few sports are 10 days in a row like that.”
It took six days for Reiner to get a round win. From the back of a horse named Lil Red Hawk, he posted an 87-point ride and took more than $26,000 in prize money. Three days later, he did it again, this time posting 89.5 points from the back of a horse named Arbitrator Joe
Reiner is spending the holidays on a well-earned break before starting up rodeoing again in Odessa, Texas, the second week of January.
(Brody Cress could not be reached for comment on this story.)
Cody regulars have presence at rodeo
Rumford wins again
For the ninth straight year, Justin Rumford won Rodeo Clown of the Year.
“It felt just as exciting as the first time,” Rumford said. “It’s so nice because there are so many other people who deserve it. I told everybody the only reason I’m able to be successful is the people around me.”
Rumford got his rodeo start at the Cody Nite Rodeo.
One of the bullfighting mainstays in recent years at the Cody Stampede was honored with a Bullfighter of the Year nod. Cody Webster, a student of Meeteetse bullfighter Dusty Tuckness, won the award this year over his teacher, mentor and occasional bullfighting partner. Tuckness had received the honor the 10 previous years.
Mo’ Betta Rodeo brought in one animal from its rough stock posse to the NFR. Sue City Sue, a saddle bronc horse, was Cody Nite Rodeo stock contractor Maury Tate’s entry to the big show.