story by Lindsay King Third generation rodeo competitor 13-year-old Libby Berger from Udall, Kansas, has a need for speed. “Barrels or breakaway roping is my […]
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Meet the Member: Cody Hunsperger
By Magie Downares-Nevius
After jumping into the Central Plains Rodeo Association (CePRA) head first in 2014, Cody Hunsperger departed as the reserve champion bull rider his rookie year. The 20-year-old cowboy was not finished presenting his talents and returned this season to advance to the year-end title with close to $7,000 in winnings. His movement to dominate the organization’s finals developed with a second place win in the first-go round, followed by a first place win in the second-go, which evolved into winning the average with an additional profit of over $1,000. “I had rode in CePRA bull ridings since I was 16 years old, but finally membered up after high school. I really like the association and realized that Jimmy’s [JC Rodeo Company] bulls make me better every time I get on them,” Cody said.
While Cody has been riding since he was 4, his passion for the sport cultivated when he was around 6 years old. “My dad would take me to ride sheep and I didn’t want to or even like it, but I finally got on my first steer and was hooked and just kept going from there,” he said. Having won his first buckle back in the undesired days, Cody’s passion has progressed to around 30 crowns and a trophy saddle as the Kansas High School Rodeo Association state champion his junior year (2013). “Although, one of my biggest wins has been winning state [Kansas Junior High School Rodeo Association], my seventh grade year, and then finishing fourth at Nationals in Gallup,” he said.
The youngest of five children (Cheyenne, Trinity, Josh and Jeremy), Cody is the only sibling to take on the rodeo inheritance of their dad (Randy), who roped when Cody was younger. “My sister used to ride steers with me, but that was about as far as it went,” he said. Set apart in ambitions does not leave Cody alone when it comes to family backing, as his dad is often his number-one traveling partner, his mom (Cathy) videos his rides and his brother-in-law (Clinton) pulls his rope in the chute. “I’ve got great family support and they are always there for me,” Cody said.
The resident of Yates Center, Kans., decided not to attend college when he was made aware that he had to wear a helmet to compete. “I won’t wear one. I ride better without one,” he said. So, after graduating high school in 2014, Cody started working as a road grader operator for Woodson County. “I started in January, so I’m coming up on a year now. My dad, who has worked for the county for about 10 years, taught me how to run a grader. We’re working four tens right now, but if we get enough snow, over six inches, we can be out for two or three days straight and will be on call 24/7,” he said.
While Cody and his dad currently partner in a few head of bucking stock on the side, Cody’s future goals are to own a big piece of land and work for the rest of his life. Until then, he plans to stay with the CePRA and start hitting the PBR BlueDEF Tour next year. “I’m planning on it, but it’s expensive, and it’s hard to work and go. I’d like to stick to the CePRA and hope to do well, because they are the closest and most affordable. I’ve had a lot of supporting competitors tell me that I need to move up, but the PBR takes a lot of money and I go pretty much every weekend throughout the summer,” Cody said.