“When it’s in the blood, that’s all one ever wants to do.”
From when he barely turned four-years-old, Cody Hunsperger has gotten life’s thrill from riding renegade livestock.
“My dad’s a roper, so I’ve been going to rodeos since before I was born, actually. I started out in the mutton busting, riding those runaway sheep, really liked that a lot, and couldn’t wait to get on bucking calves. Then, I started winning that, entered the steer riding, junior bulls, now I live to rodeo and ride professional bucking bulls,” Hunsperger quickly summarized his 20 years.
“I qualified for the bull riding at the Junior High Rodeo Finals both years, in New Mexico, placed fourth in the seventh grade, drew a little lighter, and was eighth, as an eighth grader,” remembered the Yates Center cowboy.
Qualifying for the National High School Rodeo Finals four years, Hunsperger won the bull riding in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association as a junior, while placing in the top four the other three years.
His future was bull riding. After graduating in 2014, Hunsperger went on the rodeo trail, mounting 100 bulls in the past year. However, he has a day job, operating a road grader for Woodson County.
“I’m doing all right, but with the entry fees and travel expenses, it takes more than I’m winning right, yet. But, that’ll come I’m sure,” confided the athletic 5-foot-11, 175-pound cowboy bull rider.
Competition now is limited to the Midwest. “I ride in the Central Plains Rodeo Association (CPRA), and big open rodeos,” he said.
Ride Hunsperger does. He was second in the CPRA yearend standings his first year on that circuit. “I won the average at the finals in Hutchinson,” the cowboy related.
Unlike bucking horse events, and other rodeo competitions, such as roping, bull riding wins are often based on making the eight-second whistle. A qualified ride generally collects a check.
“I don’t get as many covered as I’d like. A lot of things come into play, but this year, I’m qualifying on about 45 to 50 percent of the bulls I get on,” calculated Hunsperger.
His best marked ride to date is 86 points.
What’s his favorite bucking bull? Without hesitation, Hunsperger responded: “Overstreet, from Flint Hills Beef Genetics at Strong City.”
The cowboy continued, “I’ve drawn him twice, at Gardner, had qualified rides both times, was second the first year, and won it the second year.”
“They’ve retired Overstreet now, and that’s disappointing to me. I really liked him. There are some sons that are starting to buck out of him. I haven’t drawn any of them yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I hope they’re just like their dad,” Hunsperger anticipated.
Interesting to look over the arena record of Overstreet, too. Bucked at rodeos contracted by New Frontier Rodeo Company of Roxbury, Professional Bull Statistics show Overstreet bucked out of the chutes in 13 competitions out of the chutes and bucked off 76.92 percent of the time. In that competition, he was only ridden by three riders.
“Since we owned him, Overstreet had 35 outs in all levels of competitions, and was ridden a total of only six times, which makes his percentage of dumping some of the best cowboys in the world on the ground,” commented Kim Reyer, owners of Flint Hills Bull Genetics.
“That certainly puts Cody Hunsperger among the unique few cowboys capable of winning money on one of the best that was going down the rodeo circuit,” Reyer pointed out.
Hunsperger has a full rodeo and bull riding schedule for several weeks.
“I’m really looking forward to the Flint Hills Bull Blowout at Strong City on Saturday night, Sept. 12. Jimmy Crowther of the New Frontier Rodeo Company at Roxbury will supply the bulls, but there’ll also be several bulls in the draw that are owned Flint Hills Bull Genetics, including some sons of Overstreet,” Hunsperger commented.
Rough stock riding has been his life, and just moving into his prime, Hunsperger optimistically, excitedly anticipates his expanding bull riding career and achievements.
“I haven’t been to any Championship Bull Riders events or other professional competitions yet, it’s so expensive. But, I plan to keep going as hard as I can, enter more, ride more, and win more. It’ll all come,” Hunsperger assured.