Cody Doescher’s 2020 Cinch Timed Event Championship ended with a disappointing knee injury in Round 2. He sat out Round 3 on crutches, then returned to try and take down the Timed Event team roping records and respective $3,000 heading and heeling record bonuses in Rounds 4 and 5. Doescher hobbled home sore and empty-handed, but hopeful because help was on the way. Then, on the eve of the operation to repair his torn ACL and lateral meniscus, that surgery was postponed for the foreseeable future due to a coronavirus detection at the Dallas facility where the surgery was scheduled to take place.
There was no big wreck or anything. Doescher said the injury was the just one of those things—the result of a freak accident.
“I got a good start, but was a little bit wide,” said Doescher, who lives in Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, with his wife, Courtney, and kids, Paizley and Rance, and was competing at his seventh Timed Event last month. “When I went to move over there, Riley (Duvall, who was hazing) was picking the steer up, and I just never got to his head. I sort of got stuck on that steer’s shoulders. I should have ridden my horse one more jump.
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“I got off a jump before I should have, my feet hit short and when they did, I still had ahold of the steer. I was going to try to run next to him and get him thrown down, and when I did, the steer started bucking. The steer stepped on my right leg, which caused my left foot to hit funny and my left knee to basically collapse. It sounded like a gun went off. I heard it loud and clear. And I felt it, too.”
A doctor down in the sportsmedicine room at the back end of the Lazy E Arena flexed Doescher’s knee and guessed his ACL was torn. They immediately iced the knee and put Doescher in an immobilizer.
“I sat out Round 3 the next day, and watched it arenaside on crutches,” Doescher said. “But I couldn’t stand just sitting there, so they taped me up and I team roped in the fourth and fifth rounds (Steve Orth was his heading and heeling helper).”
Doescher went to see renowned cowboy orthopedist Dr. Tandy Freeman in Dallas the week after the Timed Event, and an MRI confirmed a torn ACL and lateral meniscus. Surgery was scheduled for 7 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25. On the eve of the surgery, at 9 p.m. Tuesday night, Doescher got the unexpected call.
“They said somebody who works in the hospital was hospitalized with the coronavirus,” Cody said. “They said it’ll be May at the earliest before they can do the surgery now.”
Doescher is understandably disappointed by the delay. But there’s no time for pity parties, especially when you have a big birthday to celebrate. Cody just turned 30 on April 15.
“You can sit around and whine and moan about it, or you can use the time at home with family and friends, and working on getting things done,” said Doescher, who’s roping with fellow Timed Eventer Paul David Tierney this year. “It is what it is, and the delay isn’t the doctor’s fault, the hospital’s fault or mine. It’s just the way of the world right now, and a lot of people are way worse off than I am. I’ve been roping a little bit, fishing and enjoying this unusual time off. I’ve been working the ring at some horse auctions on the side the last couple years, too.
“It doesn’t hurt to rope at all. The swelling isn’t too bad now, and my knee actually feels better in a saddle than anywhere. It’s decently stable, and I can walk normally now. The only thing that really hurts is if I try to bend it too far.”
It’s no surprise that Doescher loves the Timed Event.
“I like that it showcases more than one talent,” he said. “Guys have to be well-rounded cowboys to do any good at this event. Team roping’s always been my main priority, except when I kind of took the year off in 2016 and focused mostly on my bulldogging. I like the independence of bulldogging, and the guys in that event are the best. I just mostly bulldogged and had a fun year. I got to fill in at some rodeos, and it made team roping really fun again. I also think it helped my heeling. Team roping is back to being my #1 priority now.”
Doescher celebrated his milestone 30th birthday in fitting cowboy style.
“My mom and dad (Gina and Jody Doescher) came to the house, we boiled 100 pounds of crawfish and had some family and friends over,” Cody said. “A good friend of mine, Tyler Wardlow, came over with his band, and they set up and sang. We played cornhole and had a big time.”