PUEBLO, Colo. – Some members of the Philadelphia Eagles have been celebrating their Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots this week at Walt Disney World. Cody Nance celebrated his victory at the Anaheim Invitational this past weekend by going to Disneyland.
The juxtaposition of Nance grinding away at SweetPro’s Bruiser for an 88.75-point score on Saturday night inside the Honda Center and Nance wearing a Goofy hat at Disney Land the following day is a good representation of the balance Nance has found in his 10-year career.
“I would have told my younger me that I was going to get older one day and I would appreciate this,” Nance said. “Not that I ever didn’t appreciate it, but I am going to appreciate and cherish it instead of going about it like a daily routine or life. It is just getting older. You don’t know how many years left you have. I have three kids and I want to be with them. It makes me want to hammer down and finish this thing and be with them.”
Nance’s children weren’t with him in Anaheim this weekend, so it became a solo victory trip with his wife, Korie, after he went 3-for-3 at the Anaheim Invitational for his first event victory in almost four years.
Nance began Anaheim with 86 points on Northern Moxie in Round 1 and then covered Relentless for 86.75 points in Round 3.
He was crisp, smooth and precise on each of those two rides, which is something that hasn’t always been the case for Nance.
Two-time World Champion and CBS Sports analyst Justin McBride had actually talked with Nance about that earlier on Sunday morning in Anaheim.
“Nance is his own worst enemy,” McBride said. “When he gets out of his own way, you are not going to find a tougher, grittier guy that tries harder than Cody Nance. You are not going to. I was talking to him before the event. That is when he is at his best, when things aren’t right. On a bull that will have some moves, the ones most guys hate, that is where he really shines.
“This weekend he was really good on the nicer bulls too. He rode them perfectly. He was flawless on Relentless. On Bruiser, he was just going for it.”
Nance was originally unsure of who he was going to select in the championship round with the first pick of the championship-round draft until Brennon Eldred convinced him that Bruiser would feel like a dream.
“I know he got hung up right there at the gate and that kind of kept me on my toes,” Nance said. “I didn’t know what he was going to do and go from there. I rode him like any other bull. Jump for jump. Take the name away from him and take away the stats from him and he is just another college calf. My job is just to ride him and that is what I did. Praise God I tried hard and it worked out.”
Nance earned 513.33 world points with the victory and skyrocketed from 61st in the world standings to No. 9. He trails world leader Dener Barbosa by 561.67 points ahead of this weekend’s Caterpillar Classic in Kansas City.
The 2009 Rookie of the Year is 8-for-15 (53.33 percent) through five events.
“I don’t feel like I have started slow,” said Nance, who hadn’t finished better than 12th until Anaheim. “There were a couple of weekends there I didn’t clean it up there at the end. That is again I have to dig deep and to remember not to let that kind of thing happen again.”
Nance will take on Money Talks (2-0, PBR UTB) in Round 1 Saturday evening at the Sprint Center.
His best finish came in 2013 when he used a fourth-place performance at the PBR World Finals to propel himself to a fifth-place finish in the standings.
“I have been first in the world before and had a kickass summer and completely threw it away coming back to the (premier series) and still finished fifth that year,” Nance said. “I am alot older and wiser now.”
McBride served as head coach of Team USA at the inaugural Global Cup and throughout the week in Edmonton he spoke highly of the mentality that Nance brought to the team.
Nance brought a toughness and no-quit attitude that was essential for a team that only had three riders over the age of 24.
“Not only does he have all that stuff, the try and the guts, but he has a lot of ability too,” McBride said. “He can get by bulls most guys don’t like. If he maintains that through the season, he absolutely can make a push.”
The Paris, Tennessee, bull rider appreciated the time he got to spend with McBride in Edmonton.
Nance said having a Ring of Honor inductee like McBride in his corner really put into perspective the potential he still has despite being 30 years old.
“I would have liked to travel with that guy,” Nance said. “He has a good positive mindset, and is one of the rankest bull riders to ever live. For him to talk about my effort, try and riding style, and the way he just comes around, he feeds good energy. I try to take everything in Justin says because he is one of the greats, and it is an honor for me to be riding here today and have people like that backing me.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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