Tyler has Grown Under the Tutelage of Dirteater

By: Justin Felisko
May 30, 2017

Cody Rodeo Tyler (No. 33) has been the primary travelling partner of Ryan Dirteater (No. 20) for most of the season. Photos: Andy Watson /

PUEBLO, Colo. – It probably will never go down as one of Cody Rodeo Tyler’s proudest moments, but it certainly has been one of his favorites outside of the arena this season.

The 22-year-old rookie was competing in Glendale, Arizona, this past March when he went on a golf outing with Ryan Dirteater and Brady Sims.

A day of golf in sunny Arizona?

Sounds glorious, Tyler thought.

There was one problem for him, though.

He didn’t have any shorts to wear.

“It was really hot,” Tyler recalled during Last Cowboy Standing. “I had to roll my jeans up to capris. I got a wicked sunburn out of the deal.”

Regardless, it was still a “pretty awesome” day of golfing for the three bull riders.

What made that day, as well as his first full season on the Built Ford Tough Series, extra special is that Tyler has been able to travel with Dirteater, a fellow Oklahoma native.

The two are separated by six years in age and grew up 150 miles apart, but Dirteater has eight more years of experience on the BFTS compared to the younger Okie.

Dirteater was also the bull rider that Tyler looked up to as a kid.

“When he was fresh on tour, he was the kid I rooted for the most,” Tyler said. “I still haven’t told him that.”

What Tyler and fellow bull rider Zane Cook did tell Dirteater once was to bring back his celebratory firing of a makeshift bow and arrow after a qualified ride.

“There for a while he quit doing the riding and shoot them down,” Tyler said. “He kind of quit that here the last few years and now he started doing it again once we started teasing him. It is good to see him doing that again.”

Instead of viewing him as an idol, Dirteater is more of a mentor and friend to Tyler these days.

The 2016 World Finals event winner has been a great asset to Tyler’s adjustment to the BFTS.

“I have been going with Dirt here a little lately,” Tyler said. “He has been helping me out a lot. He gave me some advice to stay humble and keep doing what I am doing. I have known Dirt for a while since I have been younger. He has always been there to help me.”

Dirteater said his advice has been kind of simple.

“You have to try hard and never give up,” he explained.

Tyler and Dirteater are two of eight Top 35 riders expected to compete at this Saturday’s J.W. Hart PBR Challenge Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event in Decatur, Texas. Also tentatively competing are No. 11 Rubens Barbosa, No. 12 Mason Lowe, No. 14 Cody Teel, No. 15 Marco Eguchi, No. 25 Mike Lee and No. 34 J.W. Harris.

It isn’t surprising to see Dirteater take Tyler, as well as Jake Gowdy, another Oklahoma bull rider, under his wing.

Dirteater spent most of his career traveling with former Oklahoma bull rider and BFTS veteran Austin Meier.

Therefore, just like how Meier tried to impart his wisdom on Dirteater, the 28-year-old is trying to do the same.

“I am kind of the Austin Meier now,” Dirteater said. “I still talk to Austin all the time through text and on the phone. He helps me out with what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong. Austin taught me grit. He would grit it out the whole 8 seconds. If he was in a bad position, he would fight every time he nodded his head.”

Tyler begins his summer run ranked 33rd in the world standings, and he is only 11.25 points ahead of No. 35 Brennon Eldred.

He is 7-for-28 (25 percent) in 11 BFTS events with a career-best, fourth-place finish in St. Louis, under his belt. Tyler is 16-for-53 (30.19 percent) at all levels of PBR competition.

“It’s been alright,” Tyler said. “It started out how I wanted it too. It kind of dwindled a little bit. I feel good. I have been getting on a lot of practice bulls at my dad’s in Perkins (Oklahoma).”

Tyler is ready to try and hold on to his Top 35 ranking this summer.

He knows much can shift in the world standings with events all over the U.S. and world having an impact on the standings, despite the BFTS being off for the summer.

Guys in Canada, Brazil, Australia, or riders at Velocity and TPD events stateside, can knock him out of the BFTS before the PBR’s top series resumes on Aug. 12 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

His plan is to not let that happen.

“I am going to go as much as I can,” Tyler said. “I don’t like where I am sitting in the standings right now. I am going to try and hit Bismarck and all those bigger shows. But I am just planning on being gone for a while.”

Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko

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