The first-ever Cody NesSmith Memorial Roping is scheduled for May 29–31, 2021 in Buffalo, Texas, to honor and remember Cody NesSmith and to provide financial support to families battling childhood cancer.
Hineston, Louisiana’s Cody, passed away on July 6, 2020, to Ewing’s Sarcoma, a bone cancer mainly found in children.
A long list of events are featured over the three-day weekend and, now, the May 31 Bill Fick Ford Open five header is touting $30,000 in added money, up $22,500 from its original $7,500.
A friendship that developed with reigning World Champion Header Colby Lovell over the course of Cody’s final months inspired Lovell’s pursuit of the title and is the reason for his support of the upcoming event.
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“The second Open is the roping that I know Cody wanted,” said Lovell. “The first day is the one-header. For somebody like Cody, who loved rodeoing and roping, that loved to watch people go fast, and then also loved to watch good horses and big, Open ropings, I hope it turns into something that we can bring kids and families to come be a part of it.”
Lovell, Bobby Joe Hill of Hill Rodeo Cattle and Cody’s parents, Tony and Kay NesSmith, have teamed up to grant Cody’s final wishes of hosting the memorial roping and committing all proceeds to the Cody NesSmith Foundation to help families with children battling cancer.
“Whenever we came home from the doctors the last time, they said he could have days or weeks to live,” Tony NesSmith said. “He had it all lined out. We wanted to start a memorial roping of some sort. We didn’t know what at that point, [but] he said, ‘A couple things have to happen: It has to happen in Texas. Have a big open roping. After that, just do what you want for the numbered ropings.’
“We asked what he wanted us to do with the proceeds and the money and he said, ‘Give it all away.’ That blew me away that someone laying on their death bed said give it all away.”
The roping will kick-off with #7.5, #8.5 and #9.5 on Saturday, followed by a #10.5 and #11.5, a ranch rodeo and one-header team roping, which is Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association approved, on Sunday. Then, the weekend will culminate with Monday’s Bill Fick Ford Open five-header, #15.5, #13.5, #12.5, and #11.5 Over 40 or Lady ropings.
Hill will provide the steers for each roping and has put together a night of Stray Gathering and fast runs for Sunday, May 30.
“We’re going to have fresher steers for the Open and probably rope them in the Windy Ryon [Memorial Roping in Saginaw, Texas] on Friday, and then use them in the #15,” said Hill, who won the #16.5 Shootout and #15.5 Shotoout at the Cinch USTRC National Finals of Team Roping XXXII. “The #13 through the #10 will have some steers that have been on the road—some that we used at the US Finals and some that we used at Stephenville. We’re bringing in the one-header that counts for CPRA money. We’re doing that so it’s not just a Stray Gathering, just to change it up.”
As the crew finalizes arrangements for the anticipated weekend, Lovell acknowledges the roping is also a reminder of how short life can be and Cody’s desire to help others in need.
“If I can help somebody … I can try and help a kid,” Cody told Lovell before his death. “Just cause I’m not here, I’m still here.”
“It serves a good purpose,” Lovell said of the roping. “If I could say anything, I say every day you wake up, go hug your kids. Be thankful for the little things. Don’t pass the big things. When you do bad in the roping area, don’t show signs of weakness as far as giving up because other people are fighting something that we have no words for.”
For more information and updates, follow the 1st Annual Cody NesSmith Memorial Team Roping Facebook page for more updates. #nessmithstrong