In upstate South Carolina, the soft rolling hills of the Blue Ridge mountains meets the gentle slope of a valley shadowed by Table Rock. In […]
Written by: Siri Stevens< Back to Articles
“I’ve been blessed with competing in rodeo,” said Cord McCoy. “The Western way of life keeps you pretty grounded. It’s a humbling experience. You really can’t tell the bulls about reality TV and when you’re breaking colts at the house, they don’t care if 30 million people saw you on Sunday night’s TV.” At the age of 33, Cord has been around the world twice, once going east and once going west and his ranch is one mile from his mom and dad’s place in Tupelo, Okla. (population 323).
He went around the world during his two seasons on the Amazing Race, partnered with his brother, Jet. “I think that race is built for rodeo cowboys and cowgirls. You’re going to be tired, hungry, sore, and broke – it sounds like a normal fourth of July to me,” he said. “They turn you lose in countries they know you won’t have a clue and make you do things so out of your comfort zone and set back and watch how you cope and handle it.”
Cord learned early in life how to handle things. He shocked the rodeo world in 1997 by becoming the first high schooler to win the All Around title at the International Finals Rodeo, IPRA’s championship event. His brother broke his wrist that year, knocking him out of contention for second place, but still winning the IPRA Rookie of the Year. Both boys competed in all three rough stock events. Two of five children, the family was raised rodeo by their parents, Denny and Janet, both competitors in the sport. Cord entered his first rodeo at age five. He was the catcher on his high school baseball team and qualified for the state tournament. He was a member of the Oklahoma high school team that won a national rodeo title and was a member of the Southwestern Oklahoma State rodeo team that finished second in the nation in 2000. He graduated from Tupelo High School with 13 other people and attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma and achieved a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Cord appreciates the IPRA for allowing kids under 18 the opportunity to compete. “All through the IPRA I’d won trailers, saddles, and a truck one time when I was still in high school. Jett and I had this idea if we saved our money together we could buy a truck faster. We bought Jett’s truck and just started saving for mine and I won one at Lowell Indiana – a 1997 Chevy – I don’t think the kids as school understood rodeo o until I drove in with a brand new truck in high school. I was 16 ½ and walked in with a paid truck. My wife jokes about it, I was winning more than the teachers that were educating me.”
Cord was kicked in the head coming off a bucking horse at the IFR in 2004 fracturing his skull. He was in a coma for two weeks and spent the next several months in intense therapy learning to walk and talk again. He decided to stick with bulls after that, qualifying for the NFR in 2005 and then solely competing in the PBR. He made it to the PBR World Finals in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011.
He and his brother ended up on the Amazing Race 16 thanks to Jett. “I was leaving Cheyenne Frontier Days and Jett called me up and told me he had a great idea -be a team, race around the world, and win. I was ready to eat whatever and jump off a cliff. We went home and did a 30 second video and sent in explaining who we are and why we’d win. They called us from California and we spent a week out there doing interviews. They had 20,000 entries. Just to be picked as one of the 11 teams was huge. Walked in and sat down wearing western attire, and they asked what we were going to wear when we raced and we said we were ready to go now. The coolest thing is every week our family got together to enjoy the race.” At the end, Cord is quick to reply that his favorite country is the United States of America. “It gives you a better appreciation for where we live.” The team finished second and were invited back to compete in Amazing Race 18 – unfinished business.
Cord met his wife, Sara, at a bull riding in Tulsa, Okla. “I was told to tell him hi for my dad and the next thing I know I’m moving to Oklahoma,” said the ranch girl from Iowa. Cord proposed to her on November 1, 2009, while being interviewed by PBR in front of an audience.[ “We were engaged when he was on the first race.” They got married the day before he left for the second race.
Now Cord spends his time raise bucking bulls that he hauls to PBR and ABBI and UBBI competitions and hosting a RFDTV show called The Ride. “Cow Horse Productions approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing this show that would showcase ranchers, trainers, rodeos, or whatever would highlight the western way of life.” The program, shown every Monday at noon and ten pm (Central Standard Time), has been on for 8 months. “Every week it gets better. We just got through filming a show with Clyde and Elsie Frost. It’s been almost 25 years ago since Lane was killed and it was pretty neat to sit down with them and go to their ranch.” His most recent show profiles the International Finals Youth Rodeo. Cord shoots 26 new episodes a year which leaves little time for riding bulls, which he still does from time to time.
Cord and Sara spend quite a bit of time apart. “I’m the hired hand around the ranch,” she says with a laugh. “We were ten hours apart when we dated, so it’s not unusual. Between the TV show and hauling bulls, he’s gone a lot. But in all of it he’s grounded and down the earth and that’s what I admire most about him.”