High school rodeo: Bucking the norms, rivals become friends

Published: Thursday, June 7 2012 11:00 p.m. MDT

"Riding a bucking horse is way funner," he said.

They laugh about Bradshaw's "bad first impression" and how he's made up for his insult with years of friendship. In fact, Wright said he's been to dances at Beaver High and no one messes with him "because I'm with CoBurn."

"And now I think I tease him a little more than he teases me," said Wright.

Both boys said watching Wright's father and uncles is both educational and motivational.

"The way he handles his rein and sets his feet, well, he almost makes it look easy," Wright said.

Adds Bradshaw, "Seeing him up there it makes me want to push myself."

Cody Wright isn't worried about the pressure that might accompany his son's surname.

"I look for bigger and better things from him," he said. "I think he's really good at it … But it's a work in progress."

Rodeo, like life, has its share of ups and downs, Cody Wright said, and he expects his son will find a way to land on his feet — regardless of the circumstances.

And while he doesn't consciously hold back information when he's helping his son's friends and teammates, he said his sons, of which there are four, might learn a little more from him and his father, Bill, just because they spend a lot more time together.

Besides, keeping secrets isn't really something cowboys do.

"How good could you feel about that," Cody Wright said with a shy smile.

Rodeo, he said, is different than other sports in that success is sometimes determined by the luck of the draw — i.e. which horse a cowboy gets to ride in competition.

"If they were riding on the same horse, the same day, it might be different," he said. Still, no cowboy wants to earn a win just because no one else could ride.

"The good rides, the fun rides are when some guy scores an 89 and you go out and score a 90," he said.

In fact, when Rusty Wright goes pro in a few years, his father said he hopes to compete against him. And if, at some future rodeo, Rusty happens to have a 90-point ride, Cody Wright will do the only thing he knows how to do — outride him.

"I'm going to try and beat him," he said with a laugh. "No one goes out and tries to win second place. You want the other guys to do well; you just want to do better."