KOSSUTH — As a senior in the Kossuth High School class of 2011, Kody Rinehart had never ridden a bucking bronc.
He had been on a creature much larger and fiercer, though.
“I got on my first bull when I was 16,” said Rinehart, who just won his first IPRA world championship a week ago. “But I didn’t get on my first saddle bronc until I was 21.”
And so the story began.
Last Saturday at Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Okla. Rinehart captured top prize at the International Finals of Saddle Bronc Rodeo.
“It was a great feeling winning my first world title,” he shared. “These are some of the top riders in the world and we are all one big family. I hope this is the first of many titles.”
From his humble beginnings in the Hinkle community, the now 28-year-old Rinehart possesses a deep faith in God and that faith is what drives him everyday whether he’s in the saddle or hanging out with his rodeo family.
“My faith is top priority in my life,” said the former Kossuth Aggie. “And my faith leads me to minister on a daily basis, especially out here on the touring circuit. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for God.”
Rinehart was reared a proud country boy, so transitioning into a career that features horses and bulls came natural.
“I was raised around cows and horses and a country lifestyle as a whole,” Rinehart continued, “so being a rodeo guy comes natural. The family you make in the rodeo make it all worth it. I consider them my extended family.”
Upon graduating from Kossuth, Kody enrolled at Blue Mountain College where he graduated in 2015.
“After I finished at Blue Mountain I transferred to East Mississippi (Community College) on scholarship and got my degree in welding,” said the cowboy.
From that point the rodeo bug bit Rinehart and he traveled to Wyoming for the 90-day rodeo.
“It’s a great place to learn how to ride and what rodeo life is all about,” he said. “They teach you the proper mentality and how to build and maintain your body.”
“You have to be an athlete to do this for a living, so it’s extremely important to keep your body in shape and eat the right foods. I try to eat as healthy as I can.”
“For instance, I dropped 20 pounds getting ready for the world finals last week,” he said.
Rinehart bought his rookie card in the IPRA in 2017.
“I made the finals that year,” he recalled. “The next year I broke my neck and missed the finals. I was in a neck brace for about six weeks and that was in July. I was released in September and began to work out and get in shape again for a couple of months. The process went faster than I thought it would.”
“God has been really good to me.”
Kody is a fighter and a true competitor and worked his way back to championship form and it all paid off a week ago when he captured the world title.
As his faith drives him to be his best, Rinehart continues his climb up the rodeo pecking order and has found himself in the serious money many times.
“The money is much better the higher you finish,” he said. “Last week at the world finals you had to be in the top-15 in the standings in money earned in order to compete. I was in the number two position heading into the finals against my good buddy, whose name is also Cody with a ‘C’. He’s from Oklahoma and is one of the best.”
For those curious what it’s like to ride a bronc, Rinehart put it in the simplest terms.
“Once you get up there on the horse and get into a rhythm it’s like being in a rocking chair. It’s an experience like no other and there’s nothing else in the world like it.”
Kody is in Davie, Fla. this weekend competing in the southeast circuit of the PRCA. It can be seen on the Cowboy Channel app and will be available to view on television soon on the Cowboy Channel.
“I hope to make a run at the rookie title,” said Rinehart. “I plan on being in Corpus Christi in May for the WCRA Rodeo. It’s a big one with big money. I’ll be riding with the best in the world.”
That event will be televised on the Wrangler Channel.
The son of Marty and Patsy Rinehart, the bronc rider has short and long term goals he stays focused on daily.
“I want to win the finals this weekend in Florida and then make a run for the rookie title. That’s a prestigious award and it would be an honor to win it,” he added. “For the long term I want to keep doing this as long as my body holds up and God allows me.”
He also has higher aspirations beyond the rodeo arena.
“When it’s all said and done I want to leave it all out there in my ministering for the Lord. I hope to leave a lasting impression of leading as many people as possible to come to know Christ,” he said.
The former youth leader at New Liberty Baptist Church in Burnsville is well on his way to being a world-class rodeo bronc rider as well as a world-class individual.