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Bull rider Cody Rostockyj calls it a career

by Tracy Renck | Apr 09, 2019


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Bull riding is all Cody Rostockyj has known.

However, after a serious injury scare recently, Rostockyj, who qualified for the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, is retiring from bull riding at the age of 29.

“I was riding at the Waxahachie, Texas, rodeo a couple of weeks ago and I got hit in the head with a horn to the face,” said Rostockyj, who started his two-year term as bull riding representative on the PRCA Executive Council, April 1. “It didn’t look like a bad wreck at all, but it kind of stunned me and paralyzed me for two minutes. I came back to after a couple of minutes and was able to move my body again, but it was tingling from my neck to my toes. The tingling went away except for my arms and my hands. I went to the ER that night and I didn’t have a broken neck or back, but they wanted me to go see a neurologist, so I did. They did an MRI and told me I bruised my spine.

"The way they explained it was that it was kind of like a concussion, once you get one, they can come more frequently and easier. The same thing with my back, that I might get hit again and nothing could happen or it could bruise it easier or I could get paralyzed.”

That latter possibility was what led to Rostockyj walking away from the sport. Rostockyj joined the PRCA in October 2009 and earned $363,734. He was 45th in the April 8 PRCA | RAM World Standings with $11,486.

“I like holding my wife and kids, and I figured I would be smart and retire,” Rostockyj said. “Bull riding is not a forever job, you are going to have to retire one day. I think I had a couple of years left in me, but would rather leave knowing I could go play catch with my kids and take them to do stuff. Having a family made it a lot easier to make this decision. The thing I will miss the most is the camaraderie between the bull riders and getting to see them and joking and cutting up.”

Rostockyj and his wife, Tomile, have a son, Collin, 6, and daughter, Zoey, 3. The family lives in Lorena, Texas, near Waco.

“I have a couple of odds-and-ends jobs I do, and I make some money, and if the kids need something I can take off,” Rostockyj said.

Rostockyj will continue to keep close tabs on bull riding after being elected to serve as the bull riding representative on the PRCA Executive Council. 

“I wanted to do it and I was still going, and it would make it a lot easier,” Rostockyj said. "But now with me being retired, I can pay more attention to things and do an even better job."

Without question, Rostockyj’s career highlight was making the Wrangler NFR in 2016. He placed in four rounds and split the Round 7 win with Garrett Tribble and Shane Proctor, when Rostockyj had an 85.5-point ride on Andrews Rodeo’s Monkey Punch.

Rostockyj finished sixth in the Wrangler NFR average and earned $64,718. He finished seventh in the world standings with $153,287.

“It was a dream come true to get to compete at the NFR,” Rostockyj said. “You rodeo your whole life, and in your mind, you’re the best, you’re going to shoot for the NFR every year. But look how many people strive for it and never make it. It is the Super Bowl. To say I made it once, I can say I did it.”

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