Labor Day quickly coming up means that the “rodeo road” tends to slow down a little bit for the cowboys and cowgirls of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Womens Professional Rodeo Association. Just within the last couple of weeks there have been many story lines unfolding that mus be watched closely as well as some that are heart breaking to both fans and contestants alike. The way these last couple of weeks have been the headline would read something like this, “As one top contestant’s year comes to an abrupt end another legends year blossoms at the right time!”
PRCA Bareback Rider Casey Colletti
A favorite bareback contestant among fans, Casey Colletti, has had his season come to a screeching halt way to early in the 2014 season. As he has had put together a few straight back to back fantastic years in the PRCA he will not be able to participate in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for a fourth consecutive year. Earlier this year, in July, Colletti sustained a spinal cord injury but decided in true cowboy fashion to bear down and ride through the pain. He said that he needed to do that in order to make a life for himself and bring home prize money to make a living and have a chance at returning to Las Vegas for a fourth consecutive year. It was finally at Phillipsburg on August 2nd while he was making a good ride and about the fifth jump he felt my neck pop and it sent a stinger out to his left arm to the point of the shoulder. When he got off Colletti could barely lift up his left arm. He actually ended up turning out of the short round at Dodge City and went and had an MRI to see the extent of the damage done to his spinal cord.
When asked about his injury Colletti stated, “I saw a neck specialist (Dr. John Paul Elliott, on Aug. 11) in Denver at the Swedish Medical Center.” He then went on to say, “He told me that my spinal cord was kind of like stretched and that he didn’t want me to ride. I have to go back and get an MRI in October. He said there was nothing I could do except let it heal. I can’t ride (again) until I get the MRI in October. He’s going to look at the MRI and see if it’s getting better and tell me what the steps are after that. I can do everything, I just can’t ride bucking horses.”
As devastating as this news is to Casey Colletti and his loyal fan base he is doing all he can to look at the bright side of this season ending injury. He says, “At the end of the day, it’s how I make my living, so this is tough to take,” Colletti also missed a chunk of the season after having right knee surgery on March 25. Colletti goes on to say, “He (Dr. Elliott) didn’t tell me I would never rodeo again, but he said he wants to make sure my spinal cord heals correctly. He also said he couldn’t give me an exact time; that’s why he wanted me to have another MRI in October to see how the process is going.”
We all look froward to seeing Casey Colletti take the steps that are needed to make sure he makes a full recovery so we can all see him compete under the lights inside Thomas & Mack for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada!
Five-Time World Champion Tie-Down Roper Cody Ohl
With one story of heartbreak comes another story of undefined glory and true cowboy grit and determination. Cody Ohl started the 2014 season with one goal in mind, to set himself among the very best in the business and obtain true legend status by qualifying for his 20th career Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Just six short weeks ago he was sitting in an ICU unit on a ventilator with crushed ribs and a hole in his lung sustained from an accident that happened on his private ranch which ended up giving him pneumonia as well. This injury all but put to rest the dream of achieving his goal of qualifying for his historic 20th career WNFR. With that being said, in true Cody Ohl fashion, his injury could not keep a good man down. Just 4 weeks ago he slid all the way down to 54th in the world standings and was out of reach to make sure he was in the top 15 by the time the season ended to secure his spot in Las Vegas. Even though he was still in pain just 3 weeks ago Ohl decided to enter the Snake River Stampede where he had a great showing and collected over $8,000. Since his start back at that event Cody Ohl has not looked back and has been winning ever since. In just the past month he has been on a terror and putting his fellow contestants on notice by winning over $33,000 and moving him from 54th in the standing to 16th in the standings and less that $100.00 behind the number 15 man to secure his spot for his history making 20th career qualification for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo!
Let this be a lesson to all the up and coming rodeo athletes that continue to have ups and downs. Along with the lifestyle choices of professional rodeo cowboys come the injuries and bumps and bruises that come along with it. Don’t ever let an injury keep you from following your dreams and continue to chase that pot of gold all the way through the year and reach for the stars each and every day! Cody Ohl is such an inspiration to each and every one of the athletes and fans alike throughout the nation that love the sport of professional rodeo the way that we all do at the Rodeo Round Up!
Make sure to stay up to date with all the happenings within the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association and watch the legend Cody Ohl try to achieve his dream of making a 20th career WNFR appearance. The Rodeo Round Up team will continue to follow this breaking story and have exclusive interviews from inside the Thomas & Mack each night of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Make sure to bookmark the Rodeo Round Up, follow us on facebook here, or on twitter by following us @therodeoroundup.