Former Tumut High School student Cody Ballard has been showing North Americans what Aussies are made of in one of the toughest arenas in the world – rodeo.
Cody, 21, started his career in the saddle at Tumut Pony Club, and has combined his studies at college with competing in an un forgiving environment against great beasts that would crush you as soon as look at you, make no mistake, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
He has been in North America ever since winning a scholarship with West Texas College in 2014, and has been competing in events across the USA and Canada for the last couple of years, but hasn’t merely been making up the numbers.
He made the finals of the Canadian Cowboys Association competition in 2015, but broke two ribs and was unable to compete.
This year, he placed second in bull riding and third in bronc riding, despite missing a large part of the season due to his college commitments and he recently placed third in the Rookies Bronc Riding at the famous Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada.
This success that Ballard is currently enjoying isn’t something that came along suddenly, he was a prolific sports star growing up in Tumut, playing rugby league for the Tumut Blues and played basketball and participated in athletics at Franklin Public School and then at Tumut High.
Cody has never been a stranger to sporting success.
In 2011 he placed fourth in the Australia Professional Rodeo Association National Finals steer ride, first in the Junior Snowy Mountain Muster Stockmans Challenge, second in the Junior King of the Ranges Stockmans Challenge and was deservedly named Tumut Sports Person of the Year.
But far from resting on his laurels, the following year Cody was first junior in the Southern Zone Steer Riding Championship, King of the Ranges Stockmans Challenge and Battle on the Bidgee Stockmans Challenge. He was also third junior in the Snowy Mountain Muster Stockmans Challenge and first in the Stockmans Brumby Challenge. In 2013 he was fifth junior in the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association National Finals steer ride, and in between all these, placed in many campdrafts and sporting events in NSW.