PUEBLO, Colo. – Before the inaugural PBR Global Cup in November of 2017, Team USA’s Cody Teel had no idea what to expect.
Like most bull riders, Teel was used to riding just for himself, and he arrived in Edmonton, Alberta, unsure as to how the nation vs. nation event would unfold.
At the end of that week, Teel returned home to Texas a believer.
“That deal was the team aspect, and it was really cool,” Teel said. “You always genuinely want your friends to do good but I’ve never been that fired up watching other people ride. It was kind of weird. You’re all in it together, you want everyone to do good. It was a really cool experience just to be a part of that.”
Teel went 1-for-2 in Edmonton, contributing an 83.25-point ride aboard Springer Mountain to Team USA’s winning effort.
“I grew up watching old events, I think World Cups, so it was really cool getting to watch that and to get to represent my country doing what I love, riding bulls,” Teel said. “That’s really special. And to pull through, get it done, I was just glad I was able to stay on and contribute a little bit to the cause.”
When the second leg of the Global Cup rolled around in May, the U.S. roster competing in Sydney did not include Teel.
He’d broken his ankle in Glendale, Arizona, in March, and the Global Cup was borderline on the tail end of his recovery process.
“It was going to be pushing it too close,” Teel said. “So about a month out I let them know I wasn’t going to be able to go, and not leave them hanging last-minute. I hated having to miss it but it was something I had to do.”
While his teammates finished a disappointing third place in Sydney, Teel followed along on social media as he rehabbed his ankle.
“Made me hate missing it even more, watching it, because I know the feeling each guy has when you’re behind the chutes too, helping each other,” Teel said. “It’s exciting, a big adrenaline rush just being a part of Edmonton, really a big rush. I keep saying it, but I just hated not being there. It looked good, all the guys rode good and it was close, all across the board I think by one ride.”
Missing out only solidified Teel’s resolve to qualify for the next edition, even before he learned where it would be hosted.
The 2019 WinStar World Casino and Resort Global Cup USA will be held on February 9-10, 2019 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Not only will it be home field advantage for all of Team USA, it will be home state advantage for Teel, who hails from Kountze, Texas, less than five hours away.
“I’ve got to get back and qualify for that one!” Teel said at Cheyenne Frontier Days in July. “It’ll be the closest one to my house. It’s really cool. Dang sure want to get qualified for that one.
“Being from there, it would just mean that much more to get to compete there in Dallas.”
Teel recognizes that he lucked out competing in Calgary, a stone’s throw from the U.S. as compared to Sydney, which is half a world away. Team USA got many of the same benefits of competing at home as the Canadians did.
“It felt kind of like home, because some of the bulls that were there, Chad Berger had a lot of those so we’re very familiar with those bulls,” Teel said. “So that part made it seem like a little comfort level, being familiar with most of the bulls. And a lot of the Canadian bulls, guys are familiar with. So it’s not necessarily home-field advantage, but kind of felt that way.”
Nonetheless, Teel relishes the opportunity to compete in his home state. The Unleash The Beast visits Austin and Arlington on an annual basis, and he’ll also compete in the occasional Touring Pro, Velocity Tour events and smaller rodeos in his home state.
But with the Olympic Games of bull riding coming to town, Teel is sure to have a robust cheering section.
“There seems to be more family and friends being closer to home, and an event like that, they’ll definitely be there to witness it,” Teel said.
The 26-year-old Texan is coming off the best season of his young career, finishing No. 3 in the world standings in 2018. At the 2018 PBR World Finals, Teel entered the final day of competition with an outside shot at the world title, ultimately finishing in sixth place. He went 3-for-6 with two 90-point rides – 90 points on Brahma Boots Chrome in Round 3 and 90.25 points on Medicine Man to win Round 4.
Also during the World Finals, Teel was officially selected to Team USA-Eagles by coach Justin McBride, joining Cooper Davis, Cody Nance and Chase Outlaw. The quartet will be joined by three more riders and an alternate. They will take on teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico, as well as an all-Native American squad, Team USA-Wolves, also representing the U.S.
Competition will be fierce come February, but Teel is confident in his team’s ability to win.
“I guess being home field advantage, I’m sure the guys will be fired up and ready to defend the country or however you say it,” Teel said. “The bull power will be pretty stout. Texas is a central location so it’ll draw bulls from all around the country. It’ll be the best of the best on both ends.”
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