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Meet the Member Cody McCarthy
by Naomi Loomis, WSRRA
The American cowboy has been a worldwide icon since the early 1800s. Today the heritage, values, and traditions of the working ranch are still alive and well. In the late 1800s, bronc riding became a form of public entertainment at Wild West shows. But by the 1990s, ranch rodeos were gaining in popularity, featuring working cowboys as contestants. Ranch bronc riding, which resembles bronc-riding events held at the turn of the 20th century, became a featured event. The WSRRA continues to experience rapid growth in the area of ranch bronc riding, as it was evident in their 2019 WSRRA National Finals rodeo.
Let me introduce to you the 2019 WSRRA World Champion Ranch Bronc Rider: Cody McCarthy.
Going into the 2019 Western States Ranch Rodeo Association National Finals, Cody McCarthy from Choteau, Montana was ranked 1st in the WSRRA ranch bronc riding standings and in the 8 Seconds Whisky Tour Stop standings. This young Montana cowboy had his eyes set on a Gist Silversmith world champion buckle. “The WSRRA Finals was quite the experience. I set out this season with intent to win,” Cody says.
Cody grew up learning how to ride, train and shoe horses from day one. “We always had a green string of horses for Dad and I and a few good ones for my younger sister and brothers to ride. I always got a kick out of riding stuff that bucked and to my surprise, I wasn’t too bad at it either. I got my start riding ranch Broncs when I was 18 first up first out, I broke my leg, tough luck but it never slowed me down. In 2014, with some amazing support from the community of Grass Range, Montana I got my first taste of saddle bronc and since then bucking horses take up a good portion of my time,” he says.
Cody and his brother, Caden, started riding ranch bronc in 2017 in eastern Montana. “We entered a lot of local ranch bronc ridings in Montana,” he says. In 2018, Cody and Caden entered their first WSRRA sanctioned event, the Bronc Bash in Torrington, Wyoming. “In 2018, we started our year in Wyoming and rode a few sanctioned events around us,” he says. In 2019, Cody decided to buy his WSRRA membership and hit the sanctioned rodeo trail. Cody and Caden maintained the rodeo trail by shoeing horses along the way and riding a few colts, but mostly they went on their winnings.
For Cody, 2019 will be a year to remember. “Last year was the first year that Caden and I, decided to pack up and live on the road, mostly because my little brother finally turned 18. We entered 75 rodeos and covered thousands of miles. We push each other a lot, which makes for some interesting arguments but in the end it’s what drives me to “Ride Up.” Cody ended his WSRRA year with 1026 total points and 984 total points in the 8 Seconds Whisky Tour Stops. “The WSRRA Finals was quite the experience, I set out this season with an intent to win. Joel Baer and I travelled together throughout May, which put us in a good lead on the pack by staying consistent. We met some wild boys along the way. Between Tegan Nevarez, Lane Johnson, Caden McCarthy, Joel Baer and Seth Greenwood we had a pretty stacked crew. Success in the WSRRA during the summer had me excited to see it all come to fruition at the finals. Everyone went out and laid it all on the line. Riding with and competing next to a bunch of friends makes these things a ton of fun. You cannot beat it.”
I asked this world champion what it takes to ride ranch broncs, he replied; “I try to stay horseback as much as possible. I have a spur board in my saddle bronc saddle. I also am a firm believer that if you’ve got the drive you can do anything you set your mind to.”
Cody has found many pens of good broncs over the year. “Moss Buckers, Klings, Outlaw Broncs, Superior Rodeo, Kings and Kurtis Koeppen and his family all have great pens of bucking horses. I know for sure that’s not all of them.”
He attributes his success to all the support he’s had along the way. “Also, I owe some of my success to my friends, who keep us on the road by helping fix vehicles and by sharing their knowledge with us and my family. Also, to our friends and family that allow us to stop at their places along our rodeo trail.”
Cody has five essentials for the rodeo road. “I take a bedroll, two saddles, my canine companion, a change of clothes and a bag of tools.”
How does it feel to be a world champion? “I have some big shoes to fill for sure. World champion to me is a huge statement and I hope to back it. It means that I am going to train harder, show up and keep competing to the best of my best ability. I have a lot of room to grow as a ranch bronc rider. There are a lot of good guys that show up every day and anyone of them can win a national championship. We are just keeping the ball rolling and on to the next.”
He sees ranch bronc riding as a growing event. “We traveled a lot and felt well received most everywhere. The differences between saddle bronc and ranch broncs aren’t that extreme. We hope to continue with the old-school feel and try to class it up. It’s the Cowboy way. A lot of cowboys and ranch hands feel more confident and comfortable in a saddle they ride every day. There are a ton of fork’ed guys that don’t go down the road a whole lot and that’s where we have the most fun. Meeting all these guys, picking up tips, seeing everyone’s styles and seeing what judges and the crowd are into. ‘The wildest yet controlled ride’ a rule that is up to interpretation which leaves room for those rank trashy horses to earn the points they deserve and a cowboy to capitalize through class and control. Length of spur stroke, timing and control are scored pretty like saddle bronc the only difference are the horses. Most of them haven’t been out much, which makes a wild ride. It is a win-win. Colts get to find their feet and stock contractors get their horses outs with riders.”
Cody’s goals in 2020 look a lot like 2019. “My goal is a 2nd World Champion Title, and I would like to cover the country, have some fun and see what’s next for my brother and I. I plan on buying my WSRRA, ICA, NPRA cards and a PRCA permits in saddle broncs.”
Cody’s 2020 summer conquer list includes entering the Moss Buckers rodeos. “There’s a lot of ranch broncs that have bucked me off that are worth putting on my to do list. I’m excited about next year.
“Thank you to my family and traveling partners for putting up with me. Thanks to the great guys that I get to compete with at every event and their friends and family for supporting our growing sport.”
“Thank you to the WSRRA and all of the WSRRA Sponsors that made the opportunities for us to be able for us to compete for cash and prizes.”
Cody, on behalf of the WSRRA, congratulations on being the 2019 WSRRA National Finals Ranch Bronc Riding Champion, Rookie of the Year, Rookie of the Finals and the 8 seconds Whisky Tour Stop Champion.