By: Justin Felisko
April 22, 2017
TACOMA, Wash. – It was only two months ago that 2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel was being blasted by 2016 World Champion Bull SweetPro’s Bruiser during his Built Ford Tough Series debut at Iron Cowboy.
Teel, frustrated that he let his first golden opportunity pass him by, brushed off his chaps and pointedly said he would learn from his mistake.
The 24-year-old came to the PBR this year to get on the rankest bulls in the world, and he had just gotten his first crack at one. It certainly didn’t go his way inside AT&T Stadium, but the five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier added that he was ready to prove himself against the best competition in Western sports.
Fast forward to this weekend and Teel has already won his first Built Ford Tough Series event, taken over the lead in the PBR Rookie of the Year race and is starting to convert 8-second rides aboard stout competition.
Teel heads into the Tacoma Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, on Saturday night ranked 13th in the world standings after riding two previously unridden bulls in Billings, Montana, two weeks ago.
He is 9-for-19 (47.37 percent) through his first nine BFTS events as well.
“Everyone can give you all the advice in the world, but the only way to figure it out is to do it yourself and experience it,” Teel said. “That is what makes it so interesting. The sport itself.”
Teel will attempt to work his magic again against another unridden BFTS bull when he takes on Good Ride’s IROC (14-0, BFTS) in Round 1.
Joao Ricardo Vieira did become the second rider at any level to ride IROC (87 points), though, last weekend during his victory at the Yakima, Washington, Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event.
Fans can watch Round 1 from Tacoma exclusively on Twitter beginning at 10:15 p.m. ET.
Teel then will make his first appearance on a nationally televised PBR event when he squares off against Kookaburra in the 15/15 Bucking Battle on Saturday night following Round 1.
The 15/15 Bucking Battle airs Sunday on CBS national television at 2:30 p.m. ET.
“I like him,” Teel said. “I just have to be able to keep him gathered up when he steps ahead and goes back left.”
Teel also finished in fourth-place Friday during the first of two nights of competition at the Sean Willingham Invitational with an 85-point ride on Bad Black.
He began his push to overtake Dener Barbosa for the rookie lead in Billings by first riding Mystikal for 87 points in Round 1 Billings.
Mystikal had bucked off nine in a row on the BFTS and 19 overall.
The Kountze, Texas, bull rider then rode Hey Jack for 87.75 points in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round to cap off his 3-for-4, third-place finish.
Hey Jack had bucked off 16 riders on the BFTS prior to Teel.
“I am just sticking to the basics,” Teel said. “Going to the front and getting in time with those bulls. I try not to make it look too awkward. It is bull riding. You can’t sit there and clamp down. You have to stay loose and go with it. I just used my long legs, break them down and use it to my advantage.”
Nine-time World Champion Ty Murray was impressed with Teel’s countermoves in Billings.
“These are the countermoves I am talking about,” Murray said during the CBS Sports Network broadcast. “He was a little raised up leaving there, but watch him get into this groove. He starts breaking forward at those hips, taking it away from that bull every time he jumps. That is just sitting up there making it look easy. That is what you want to do. He can’t do it much better than that.”
It was a nice bounce back showing from the first-year PBR rider after he went 1-for-3 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, following his first career victory in Glendale, Arizona.
“Unfortunately it comes with it,” Teel said. “You have to be able to get over it pretty quick and move on to the next one. We are getting on the best bulls in the world every day. You are going to land on your back a couple of times.
“That is the whole deal. Just being able to bounce back and stay as consistent as possible.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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