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Meet the Member Cody Cabeen
story by Lori O’Harver
Cody Cabeen is making the best of his comeback career in bareback riding. His recent win at Poteet Strawberry Festival has launched him to the top of the leaderboard in the Texas Bronc Riders Association (TBRA) standings and has him hopeful for his second championship.
“I grew up in Duncanville, Texas, with a passion for horses. At 15, a buddy and I partnered on a bronc saddle. We bought it for fun, but the temptation to use it got stronger the more we looked at it,” said Cabeen. “We started entering rodeos; two guys – one saddle, swapping back and forth at high school and youth rodeos around home. With me, a little of something is never enough. I bought a bareback rigging and started entering. That’s the event I chose to stay with.”
Cabeen hung up his rigging at age 24 with the birth of his second child, his son. He was 24 years old. His wife didn’t mind him rodeoing, she hated that he was gone a lot while doing it. That was May of 2008. In 2016, the marriage was over but his passion for hard bucking horses wasn’t.
“I’m a firefighter and para-medic,” Cabeen said. “When I quit riding, I was at my physical best and getting on enough to stay sharp. When I decided to start again, that began with a dedicated fitness program. I was 36 years old and knew that if I was going to do it, I needed all the preparation I could get. I’ve always been the guy who was in it 100% or not at all. I’m in this all the way.”
“It’s not just generic physical fitness that determines the ability to compete at the top of your game. You have to be getting on a lot of horses to keep your action/reaction time sharp. I’ve been on over 1,000 in my career and enter and get on every chance I get today. That’s what it takes to teach your body to respond correctly,” said Cabeen.
“I won the TBRA Bareback Riding Championship at their first season’s finals. It was a thrill and the money and awards were awesome,” Cabeen said. “I think what the association offers its membership is outstanding on every level. It gives young guys a high-level place to start. TBRA President Daryl McElroy is always friendly and interested in talking with us and always looking for ways to grow the association and the sport. I’ve seen the number of bareback and bronc riders increase exponentially at TBRA sanctioned events when nationally, those numbers are decreasing. If the sport is going to thrive, more needs to be done to invest in it on a grass roots level. That’s the beauty of the TBRA.”