by Justin Shaw
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Steer wrestler Kody Woodward was familiar with the setup at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, and he used that insight to collect one of the biggest wins of his career.
The 27-year-old native of Dupree, S.D., grew up just 146 miles from where the Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo takes place, and he won his first title at the Jan. 30 through Feb. 6 rodeo with a 3.6-second time.
“I high school rodeoed at that arena, and had a lot of success there,” Woodward said. “I competed there three times in high school, and won each time. Knowing the setup made me more comfortable and made things easier.”
It wasn’t necessarily easy for Woodward when he made his run Feb. 5. His steer stopped almost immediately after leaving the box, which created an awkward-looking run. However, that didn’t make the $3,996 check he earned any less sweet.
“The steer stopped right away, and I jumped on him in about six-tenths of a second and it took me about three seconds to get him on the ground,” Woodward said. “It wasn’t the prettiest run, but I’ll take it.”
It was a homecoming of sorts for Woodward, literally. He moved from Dupree to attend Northwestern Oklahoma State University (Alva) for four years, and then stayed and helped coach the rodeo team for another four.
Woodward recently moved back home to Dupree, where he helps with the family ranch while rodeoing.
“The Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo is the biggest rodeo around this area,” he said. “I had 10-12 family members there cheering for me, and you can’t walk around town without seeing someone you know. It was great to be able win in front of them.”
The win was big for Woodward’s confidence as he tries to get back to a routine on the rodeo road. He tore a pectoral muscle during a run in Denver in 2015 and missed most of last season recovering. He finished with total earnings of just $4,991, one year after making $18,143 and winning the All American Finals in Waco, Texas, in 2014.
“Rodeo is still a priority, and I’m excited to get going this year after being hurt last season,” he said. “I took almost a whole year off, but I’m healthy now.
“The goal is always to make it to the (Wrangler) National Finals Rodeo, and I’m trying to get enough money won to make the NFR this year. I’m traveling with Chason Floyd, Billy Boldon and Taz Olson. We’re all from South Dakota, and all grew up together. We’re having a blast so far.”
Other winners at the $181,186 rodeo were all-around cowboy Kaden Deal ($149 in saddle bronc riding and team roping), bareback rider Orin Larsen (85 points on Sutton Rodeos’ Lolly Pop), team ropers Miles Kobold and Ike Folsom, and Travis Tryan and Levi Tyan (4.1 seconds each), saddle bronc rider Dusty Hausauer (86 points on Burch Rodeo’s Iron Maiden), tie-down roper Cole Robinson (8.0 seconds), barrel racer D’Ann Gehlsen (12.46 seconds) and bull rider Joseph McConnel (86 points on Sutton Rodeos’ Curley).
For complete coverage of the Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo, check out the Feb. 26 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.
Courtesy of PRCA