If you asked Oklahoma heeler Cody Doescher what his rodeo plans were mid-February, he'd have told you he was all-in in the bull dogging, and his heeling career was on hold. But then came Mississippi young-gun Marcus Theriot, whose partner couldn't make it to Rodeo Austin and needed a quick fill in.
"It was just kind of a fluke deal really," Doescher said. "I filled in for his partner at Austin, and we didn’t have any luck. But after the Timed Event (where they both competed) we talked about entering a little, and the first rodeo we went to was Huntsville (Texas), and we were 3.9. We just kind of kept entering. We are both bull dogging everywhere and swapping horses back and forth. We haze for each other and rope, and it’s really working out. We’ve been winning enough to dang sure get us by."
Doescher has one heel horse–12-year-old Pistol–sound enough to rodeo, and Theriot is hauling one head horse–15-year-old Sketch–with their hazing horse and two dogging horses. But that's putting both men in solid contention team-roping-standings heading into August. Doescher has $36,192 won heeling and is 21st in the world, while Theriot is 16th in the heading with $46,261, with placings at the Greeley (Colo.) Stampede, the Dodge City (Kan.) Round Up, the Black Hills (S.D.) Round Up and the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days.
"The goal was always to make the Finals," Theriot, whose main focus used to be tie-down roping and bull dogging, said. "But I would have had to say come March that wasn't really in the picture. Now, I'm pumped to go to San Juan and Ellensburg. I rodeoed last year but didn't go to the Northwest, so I'm excited about going this year."
The top 30 in the PRCA world standings as of early August get into California's Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo, and the committee there adds $25,000 a side in the team roping, making it a late-season game changer. And Doescher, who is about $19,000 out of that #15 spot, knows he has a header to give him the best chance with two months left in the regular season.
"He’s really serious when he backs into the box—he’s a winner and trained by a winner," Doescher said of his partner, whose father Herbert won the world in the tie-down in 1994. "The hardest thing there is rodeoing is learning how to win. He’s gamey—he likes to go fast. He can still run down there and catch like he did at Dodge City the other day. It’s a different mindset than most partners. We aren’t putting all the pressure on each other so much. He knows the deal—he’s young, but he knows. He doesn’t care what everyone else thinks." SWR