Hilo, Hawaii, cowboy Cody Cabral got the call just seven days before the first round of the 2023 Cinch Timed Event Championship that he had the opportunity to compete, but he’s been here before.
That’s right. In 2019, Cabral’s phone rang 10 days before the CTEC. He eagerly accepted and set to learning how to steer rope, then brushed up on his tie-down skills. During one of these practices, Cabral tore his hamstring in his right leg. In true Ironman fashion, he competed in all five rounds of the CTEC days later.
“I don’t even know if anybody noticed I was stepping off on the left side because the right hurt too bad to step off on,” Cabral said. “I felt much more prepared to compete in 2020, when I was on the roster to compete at the Timed Event and had time to get ready. Then I tore my ACL and meniscus 10 days before the first round.”
So in 2020, Cabral became the cowboy needing a CTEC substitute, and 2023 will be his first chance back in the Lazy E Arena. He got the call for fellow steer wrestler and NFR qualifier Tyler Pearson, who broke his collarbone in an accident in Uvalde, Texas, in January. Pearson ancicipated being cleared for competition the week before the TEC, but plans changed. Cabral was disappointed to hear who he would be replacing, but isn’t scared of the lack of preparation—his path to success in the bulldogging was unconventional in similar fashion.
“I grew up mostly team roping,” Cabral explained. “We didn’t have guys that bulldogged in Hawaii. I just started figuring it out. My first lesson was backing in the box at a rodeo. Somebody said ‘Do this. Bend this knee like this. Grab the steer like this.’ and I did it. I definitely learned the hard way.’”
Cabral had success in high school rodeo in multiple events, which led to him following his older brother, JC to Walla Walla Community College in Washington.
“I didn’t miss a bulldogging practice, that’s for sure,” Cabral said. “Then, I kept entering the dogging at the amateur rodeos and stuff, because I was getting paid.”
After qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo and amateur rodeoing through college, Cabral hit the ProRodeo trail and eventually made his first NFR in 2016. Cabral lived with Ironman legend KC Jones for multiple years and credits Jones with mentorship and helping him level up in the bulldogging.
“That’s the biggest thing I bring to the table: I’m not afraid to show up,” Cabral said. “If I’m going to be there, I’m going to give it all I’ve got.”
Learn about the other last-minute alternates to this year’s CTEC and learn how to watch it live on Roping.com March 204, 2023.