Vexil Brand Athlete Highlight: Cody Teel
Welcome to the fourth article in our new Vexil Brand Highlight Series. Up until now, we have had amazing interviews with Shawn Wiese, Owner of XDS Sports and Vexil Brand, Derek Kolbaba, Carson Jeffrey, and now PBR Rider, Cody Teel! I was thankful to snag a few minutes of Cody’s time to chat with him about his career highlights, goals, and how he gets ready for his rides, hope you enjoy it!
CLN: Reading up on your background, it seems like you were destined to be a bull rider. Can you tell me a little more about your background and what your early days riding bulls was like?
Cody: My dad rode bulls professionally throughout the 80s and early 90s. He had his PRCA card and that’s how I became interested in the sport. I used to looks at his pictures and listen to his stories, it just made me want to do it. I started getting on calves at a young age in Lousiana for a youth rodeo association during the summer and then during the winter, I would ride in Texas. Between the two, that’s really where I got my start. Growing up, we always had a bullpen in the backyard, so bucking bulls and having guys come over to ride was also a huge help in the beginning. This lifestyle has always been a part of my life, whether I was riding bulls or feeding bulls at home, it’s all I’ve cared to do and I’m fortunate to still be doing it.
CLN: Looking back, what was a truly defining moment for you when first started seriously competing in bull riding?
Cody: For me, I never thought any different. I didn’t have anyone discouraging me, or maybe I was a naïve kid that didn’t know any better, but I always knew that I was going to ride bulls for a living. And it isn’t like I was always so good at riding growing up, looking back, there were some rough patches in my journey. In my mind, I wanted to be a professional bull rider and I never had a plan B. It’s scary now thinking back, I’m glad this worked out because I only went to one year of college. But sometimes I think that may have helped me be successful because I was super focused on what I wanted to do. With that, I wasn’t always the most talented or natural at it, but I was always able to find success in it. It also wasn’t always pretty but I was always able to do it, which gave me the confidence to keep going. Having the support of my parents also played a huge part in my career success early on.
CLN: You are currently sitting 18th in the PBR standings, besides making the eight seconds, do you have any kind of strategy in your head on how you’d like to keep moving up in the ranks?
Cody: Nothing to specific. I’ve learned over the years that you can overcomplicate it pretty easily. If I go in every weekend and get some points, whether it be 1 or 200, I’m still moving forward. It all comes down to winning the battle at hand, riding what I have, and the rest just takes care of itself. In my mind, if I can just keep plugging away, getting some points every weekend, keep moving 1 spot or jumping 5 spots through the ranks, that how’s I go about it.
In regards to how Cody approaches his riding and taking it one step at a time, Cody just jumped to the number 7 spot from 18th, in the PBR over the weekend. It truly is all about taking it one step at a time!
CLN: What are some things that you do in your routine to get yourself ready for an event?
Cody: That’s something I’ve had to pay a little more attention over the last few years with some recent injuries. It’s mainly about how I prepare during the week and keeping my body feeling good and able to go every weekend. There’s a little more wear and tear riding in the PBR than what I’ve experienced in the past because you’re getting challenged so hard. The size and caliber of the bulls that you face week in and week out, takes a toll on your body. I try to change up my routine during the week, working out and just trying to be as physically able as possible to do it. With that, I get confidence going into each weekend knowing that I’ve put in the work and time. Then when I’m out, I just have to leave it all in the arena and let it roll.
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CLN: What’s been your proudest accomplishment to date?
Cody: It’s hard to pinpoint one particular time, but one was being the 2012 PRCA Champion and NFR Average twice were some of my biggest moments. As far as memorable wins, it would be winning the 2016 Calgary Stampede. I came back through the wildcard round, it was raining hard and muddy. Then the next day during the finals, the bottom fell out and it was a muddy mess. I ended up having one of my highest marked rides, 91.5, and getting the win. It was pretty special, my wife was there to experience that with me and it was my first time at Calgary. At that time, I was also putting my foot in the door to make the switch to the PBR and at the time Calgary was co-sanctioned with the PBR so I got points for both the PRCA and the PBR. So that’s when I made the switch in my head to decide to ride in the PBR full time.
CLN: Can you describe what it was like riding for both the PRCA and the PBR?
Cody: As soon as I turned 18, I got my permit card in the PRCA. The first six years of my career were all in the PRCA. I was a young, single man and just didn’t have a family at home and that was the biggest difference. I was living on the road and that’s all I did. I could go to a rodeo every day and bounce around as much as I needed to. Now, the way I travel and prioritize looks a whole lot different now than it did back then. People try to compare the two but it’s really like comparing apples to oranges. They both have their own different challenges and difficulties and at the end of the day, it’s still bull riding but there’s a lot that goes into both of them, both mentally and physically. Neither one of them is easier, it’s just a matter of the different challenges you face.
CLN: What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into bull riding or taking their riding to the professional level?
Cody: From my own experience, it’s just taking it one step at a time. It’s easy to turn 18 and go get your PRCA permit card, then hit the road but that gets expensive. So you have to have a plan. At the high school level when I started getting successful, I realized I could move to the next level. I really just took things one step at a time, my thought process was “if I’m not winning at this level, I won’t win at the next level”. I was able to just keep progressing and it’s something I really recommend because it can get really expensive paying entry fees, airfare, travel and everything else. It’s also about being real with yourself and where you are as an individual and in your career. It’s easy in today’s world with social media, it’s easy to see all the “good rides” but you have to remember it’s an individual sport so you have to focus on yourself, manage your body and time, and have a plan.
CLN: To wrap us up, can you dive a little bit deeper on what it’s meant to have Shawn with XD Sports on your side as an agent and what that’s allowed you to do in your career?
Cody: It’s been a big help and a big opportunity to be represented by Shawn. It was about 2017 that I approached him to represent me. At that time, I was just getting my feet wet, but once I started moving up, and getting established that opportunity came up. Another difference from the PRCA is the sponsorship opportunities and being on TV. So Shawn told me “You just worry about riding and staying on tour and I will take care of the rest.” That just means a lot and it’s made a huge difference in being a professional bull rider as he hustles for sponsors and what he does for us all. At the end of the day, we still have to do our jobs and ride bulls. I’ve been really fortunate to be teamed up with Shawn and XD Sports.
CLN: How do you feel that Vexil Brand is supporting the western industry? What makes you want to stand behind the brand?
Cody: Honestly, I think Vexil’s stuff just looks cool. It was about two years that I knew about Vexil but I didn’t even know that Shawn was the owner. I’ve always been drawn to the style because there’s really something for everyone. They always look good but you can also tell what the brand stands for and what Shawn stands for so that’s pretty cool. I’m proud to be a part of the brand I think the sky is the limit for the Vexil Brand and I’m just happy to be a part of it.
VEXIL is a brand built on the cowboy and cowgirl lifestyle. Some were born into it and others were just drawn to it but regardless of what lead us to this life, it is now forever branded upon our souls. From the sound of creaking leather as we climb into our saddles to the banging of metal as bulls and horses are loaded in the chutes, the small details of this life become the spark that fuels our passion. It’s really sad that the majority of this world’s population will never get to see what we see or know what we know. Outsiders will never understand our lives but that really doesn’t concern us. We will keep being who we are because that is what we know and all we care to know. We will be strong, we will be courageous, we will BE COWBOYS.
XD Sports is an agency that represents Professional Bull Riders and was founded in 2001 by former Professional Bull Rider Shawn Wiese. Shawn’s love for the sport of Professional Bull Riding and his desire to see these athletes earn more was the fuel that brought XD Sports to life. In 2003 Attorney Brad Bensinger became a partner in XD Sports. His knowledge of contract negotiations combined with a love for the sport made Brad and Shawn a perfect match.
The rapid growth of the Professional Bull Riders Association (PBR) has turned these everyday cowboys into national sports stars. The PBR’s national and most recently global exposure has created sponsorship and endorsement opportunities for these courageous athletes. XD Sports seeks out these sponsorship and endorsement opportunities for their athletes as well as managing all of their public relations. XD Sports takes pride in their knowledge of the sport of Professional Bull Riding and their desire to look out for their athlete’s best interest.