BULL RIDING: Odessa’s Jones finds renewed passion for riding after years away

Cody Jones had had enough.
The bull rider from Odessa wasn’t having any fun in his chosen line of work, the thought of getting on another bull getting more and more difficult with each passing day.
Not exactly what the then 24-year old was hoping for when he purchased his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card a few years after graduating from Permian in 2008.
“I went to pro rodeos for about two years and it was hit or miss,” Jones said. “I was battling the day and just couldn’t get any good stock under me and it just kind of made me real bitter.
“When I actually decided that I was going to put it away and stop I was on about a seven-day run, out every single day for seven days. By the time I hit the third day, I wasn’t having any fun. It was making me sick and all I could think about was being home.”
Jones made good on his desires, hanging up his chaps and spurs for more than four years.
Then, in August of last year, he walked into a building to judge a bull-riding event and “something lit a fire in me,” Jones said.
“I looked at every bull back there and that wasn’t one bull that could throw me off. The very next day, I took my gear back down and rode a bull to the whistle. I figured let’s put the work in and really pursue this and see what happens.”
What happened is the fire that pushed Jones throughout his high school rodeo career and onto the road during the first part of his journey has been rekindled.
With a different focus and a better understanding of how to achieve his goals, Jones has his sights set on making it to the top of the Professional Bull Riders’ rankings, competing with the best on a week-to-week basis to be called the best in the world.
He is on practice bulls twice a week at his parent’s property in Midland and in the gym four-to-five hours a day working to get his body in the shape necessary to survive being a 150-pound gnat on the back of an angry, rank, 1,500-pound animal.
Then, on the weekends, he’s riding bulls somewhere in the country as part of the Professional Bull Riders Touring Pro Division.
That was the case Saturday when The Caveman PBR was held at Ector County Coliseum.
Jones was one of just eight riders to make the eight-second buzzer during the long go (first round), riding Space Jam to an 85-point marking.
In the short go, Jones drew a bull called The Real Milloy, which has yet to allow a cowboy a qualified ride in 2019. Jones wasn’t able to make to the whistle, his unscheduled dismount coming a few seconds after the gate opened.
Still, the first-round effort saw him finish in a tie for fifth as Cody Teel, who is ranked fifth in the world, won the event after riding two bulls to a 174-point marking — exactly the type of competition that Jones is looking for in his return.
“Now when I show up, I want to have the best bulls, I want to have the best shot,” he said. “Having a bull like that makes you stand back and then get that extra edge.
“Since I didn’t do anything last year, I’m at the bottom and working my way up through this tour and then the Velocity Tour and ultimately the Unleash The Beast Tour at the top. That’s where he (Teel) is and this is their summer break, so they are going to go to these events to earn points to keep their rankings.”
Jones will be in Bismarck, N.D. this weekend for another Touring Pro Division event and then it will be time to think about where he wants to compete at during the period known as “Cowboy Christmas” from the end of June through the Fourth of July festivities.
He likely is going to purchase his PRCA card, which means trips to Big Spring and Pecos could be in his future. Wherever he is pulling his bull rope tight, however, Jones is back to feeling right at home.
“I really feel that I’ve got the talent to compete with the best of the best,” he said. “It’s just a matter of putting in the work.”