It’s Geaux Time
Deep in the bayou state, there is an athlete from the Baton Rouge area who has surfaced in a sport's national rankings and is not on the No. 3 ranked LSU football team. He is the professional bull rider, Koby Radley.
Radley, the 20-year-old Cajun Cowboy from Montpelier, Louisiana, a town of 214 people near Baton Rouge, heads to Las Vegas to ride bulls for the first time in December after completing his best season professionally since turning pro in 2016. Radley who has wanted to ride bulls all his life, stepped up and out of his comfort zone in 2018 to compete in the PRCA with one goal – qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR).
Radley finished 28th last year in the PRCA and that disappointment turned into inspiration for this year.
"I had to prove myself this year, and I am ready to get after it for the richest 10 days in rodeo," said an excited Radley from a duck blind in Nebraska.
Radley cites respect as the best cowboy tradition, and he earned $97,257.63 of it this year to finish just outside the top ten, No. 12 in the bull rider in PRCA earnings this season.
In addition to qualifying for his first NFR, Koby rode on the Tuff Hedeman tour.
He was recruited to be a member of the Panola Junior College Bull Riding team as well where he represented the club in bull riding at the College National Finals Rodeo riding two of three and advancing to the short round with a top 10 finish.
The 5'7 145-pound bull rider who can be found duck hunting and fishing before getting back on some practice bulls won 10 PRCA rodeo titles including two Xtreme Bull competitions. He finished fifth at Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo winning the first round and leading the average thru the second round.
“My best ride this year was in Mandan, I scored 91.5 points on Dakota Rodeo’s 34 Soup In A Group, a bull that was only ridden once last season, to win the rodeo,” continued Radley.
Radley has qualified for the Texas Circuit three times, and in 2017 he finished 28th in PRCA standings with $52,880 in earnings and three event titles. Radley joined the PRCA in 2016.
Radley is a past International Finals Rodeo (IFYR) Youth World Champion bull rider where he was the only rider to cover three bulls at the 2015 Super Bowl of youth rodeo. He started riding calves when he was 8. He began competing and progressed in junior rodeo including competing in high school rodeo in both Mississippi and Louisiana as a junior bull rider.
“I have been waiting on this for a long time, this is my dream, I started riding when I was 8 or 9 years old when my Dad put me on for the first time,” remembered Radley.
Radley won the Mississippi High School Rodeo title 3 times as a freshman, sophomore, and junior.
In 2016 Koby Radley joined his brother in law as a professional bull rider. Radley’s sister Kortlyn is married to NFR qualifier Jacob O'Mara, and they competed on the road together. In their journeys, they amassed seven CBR event titles with Radley winning the Salina Championship title and the year-end CBR Horizon Championship buckle and the bonus check.
According to Radley, they used their time in the truck wisely talking about bulls and how they can better their riding skills and themselves. With O'Mara retired now from riding, Radley filled his seat in the truck with Eli Vastbinder. The buddy system seems to work for Radley and Vastbinder as they operated together – monitoring and helping each other. The two traveling together, both earned back numbers for the 2018 NFR.
Traveling with Eli Vastbinder, these thicker than thieves bull riders believe being together is one of the secrets to their success. Radley had competed and traveled with brother in law Jacob O’mara when he began his pro career during the 2015-16 season. He learned that studying, talking and getting on bulls constantly with someone has its advantages.
“I’ve always wanted to do this, watching everyone else ride while I was growing up, it’s my dream.”
Radley who describes his ride style as “under control” likes time in the chutes to assure the bull is standing.
As a first time competitor at the NFR, odds are unpredictable but be assured Koby Radley will be prepared. His young life to this point has been preparing for this moment. He lives, eats, and breathes bull riding. He studies bulls, knows bulls and will be prepared for each ride as much as possible.
Follow Koby and the NFR bull riding on Facebook, Tuff Hedeman; Instagram, Tuff Hedeman Official, and Tuff Hedeman Bull Riding.