When the dust settled in the arena and the last bull was corralled at the end of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas recently, two cowboy heroes from Southeast Texas stood in the international spotlight. Cody Teel, now 20, of Kountze was named the best bull rider in the world and Beau Schroeder, 25, of Nome was fourth in the world. Schroeder had the best average for the 10 events in Las Vegas and brought home two belt buckles, a new saddle and a check for $181,871. Teel amassed winnings of $201,978.
“It hardly seems real yet,” said Teel in the Schroeder’s western themed home in Nome. “We had so much support from Southeast Texans all season and in Vegas. There was a crowd out there to support us and we appreciate it.” Schroeder agreed and said that it was special to have so many of his family members and friends there to support him and Cody.
“Having big winners from two Texas small towns so near each other is pretty amazing,” said Schroeder. “We like it a lot.”
Schroeder jumped from No. 12 in the world to No. 4 after winning in the ten events in the Finals.
Both riders said they were glad to get home, sleep in their own beds, and eat their mother’s cooking. “I love the fact that I can sleep in and just be with my family and friends, and of course, it is great to be home for Christmas,” said Teel whose mom, Kami, and dad and sister have supported him in his every effort in the arena. In fact, both young men have been blessed to have strong family support. Robbie Teel and Punkee Schroeder were bull riders before their sons, and both boys agreed that they came up in the rodeo world and wouldn’t think of doing anything else. Beau’s mom, Debbie, helps Beau every way she can and often sits in the stands with her eyes deadlocked on that chute.
Each has one older sister who is probably their biggest fan.
We thought it would be fun to get to know better these local heroes who are being recognized nationally and internationally after the big wins. Teel graduated from Kountze High School and is as charming a young man as you would ever want to meet. He’s tall and lanky at 6 feet and looks every inch the cowboy. Schroeder is fun, quick on the draw, and enjoys teasing his friend. He said, “Why, Cody is so dang tall, all he has to do is wrap those long legs around the bull, and tie them in a knot under his stomach and hang on for eight seconds.” Teels says it is not that simple, and Schroeder knows it.
Glory Days is the bull Teel best remembers from the Finals, and Schroeder said King of Kool was a tough ride for him in Vegas. “Getting a good bull is hard to explain,” said Schroeder. “You never know what the assignment will be, and you have to learn to adjust to whatever number comes up when they draw.”
Teel quickly agreed. “You never know what the animal will do when that chute is opened.”
Teel also said that for him the travel discipline was the hardest part of being a professional rodeo bull rider. “It is hard to wake up in a different place each day, pack and travel and be fresh and ready to ride that night.”
Schroeder added, “Some never make it because they can’t adjust. The guy might be a great bull rider, but the road gets to him. Or, he might learn to travel and not be such an outstanding rider. It takes both.”
The future for these two local heroes looks bright, according to all of the experts in the field that we met. Both have some big wins under their belts, and wearing those new buckles that are valued at some $18,000 each has to feel good after all of the hard work. Brand new leather saddles, tooled with some silver and gold, came back to Southeast Texas, too, along with the big winners.
“I am so proud of Cody,” said Kami Teel. “With all of this attention, he has remained humble and kind, and I don’t believe it has affected his character or integrity in any way.”
All of the Schroeder clan, including grandparents Icky and Edythe, are so filled with pride about Beau’s accomplishments this year that it is bound to be a great holiday season in Nome, Texas. Congratulations to both young men for jobs well done.
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.