Life is a Ride: Story of Cody & Korie Nance

Cody Nance, PBR Springfield, MO
photo: Addie Hilldenburg / Western Media and Sports
Life is a Ride: Story of Cody & Korie Nance
Written by Monica Stewart, free-lance reporter Western Media and Sports

Published by Sheri Smith / Western Media and Sports

Photography Addie Hillenburg / Hillenburg Productions / Western Media and Sports
                      Eva Scofield / Scofield Photography / SmithPRO LLC 

Tennessee native cowboy, Cody Nance, just made the eight-second whistle on a great ride in Albuquerque, New Mexico, one of the Professional Bull Riders’ many tour stops during the year. His wife Korie and youngest boy Nash stand on their feet on the sidelines cheering in excitement. Cody made his way over and leans over the fence to give his son a big high five to celebrate the ride. This was a memory the family will never forget. As the twelve-year professional bull rider explains, “My best memories aren’t about me winning, they’re about spending time with my family and getting to experience things that most people don’t get to, because of my career.” With amazing love and support for one another, this couple is staying busy and cherishing every moment they can.

How They Met

After spending two years in Hawaii as a nurse, Korie was back home spending time with her family when she got an invite from her brother-in-law, who grew up with Cody over the years. He told her they should go, and it would be fun as Cody was having an event nearby at his house. Not sure of what the event really was or giving it much thought, she decided to go.

“I decided to go but I actually had to beg someone to take my shift, so I could go.” Korie said.
After, watching Cody fall flat on his back after a ride, he ran over to the fence and that’s when her brother-in-law took full advantage of the moment.

“I got a nurse! Do you need a nurse?” he yelled jokingly. After the event when Cody and her brother in law were visiting, she could not help but notice how charming, polite and respectful the bull rider was.

 “He had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen,” Korie said. From then on, the two were inseparable. After meeting up after Cody’s flight back to Nashville one day, they went out for dinner and got to know each other. She bought him a beer and as Cody states, “that was it, I knew”.

Before the Bright Lights

Korie Nance grew up in a caring home with her mom a respiratory therapist and dad as a police officer. She attended college where she played soccer and followed her dream of obtaining a nursing degree. After much thought on what she wanted to do with her degree, she settled on open heart surgery and has been happy with that choice ever since. She was then signed up to do travel nursing but has put that life on hold as she has been mainly traveling around the country with Cody for the PBR tour. For Cody, things have been a race to the top ever since he was a little boy.

“I was two years old when he came into my life, he rode bulls and I thought he just hung the moon,” Cody described about his stepfather who started his initial passion to ride. 

When his stepfathers’ friends would come over to practice on the dummy, Cody knew he would soon get to practice too. As his mom has told him, he was always glued to the fence once it was time for the bull riding at the rodeos.

“Bull riding was just the one thing that stood out to me,” Cody said.

Cody Nance, PBR Springfield, MO
photo: Addie Hilldenburg / Hillenburg Productions / Western Media and Sports
Cody grew up with horses and riding which he believes helped him become the rider he is today.

“I guess that created a foundation so whenever I started riding bulls it wasn’t as hard for me as it may have been others because I knew how to use my legs and balance and I could understand animals and how they moved,” Cody said.

 He was constantly on the back of a horse, but finally got to try his hand at riding a bull when he was 15. After much convincing to his mom to let him try, he had the opportunity to ride a few bulls at a practice arena.

“My step dad, he did some convincing. He told her I’d probably get bucked off and stepped on and wouldn’t want to do it anymore,” Cody laughed as he explains how he got lucky enough to go ride.

 After riding his first bull successfully he realized he never got the chance to practice how to get off. He soon had to improvise and pull his hand out of the rope and pushed back and scooted back on his hips and let him kick and when he kicked he threw him straight up in the air and landed straight on his back. When asked by his mother how he liked riding he responded, “I love it!”. Cody laughed, “That was obviously not what she was hoping for!”

After unsuccessfully covering his second one out of the chute, he thought to himself that he knew this is what he wanted to do and was already feeling a passion for the sport.

Cody Nance vs Bruiser
photo Eva Scofield / Scofield Photography / SmithPRO LLC

He kept the momentum going by participating in high school rodeo and had great success in it by making it to National High School Rodeo Finals in Wyoming three years as a member. On December 23, 2005 Cody turned 18 and his father-in-law bought his PBR permit. He turned down a scholarship to college and teamed up with a mentor that took him under his wing to get practice in.

“A guy named Jeff Tilley let me come down and live with him. He raised so many good bulls and that was an opportunity for me to just go and be about bull riding,” Cody said.

Soon after, Cody had the opportunity to work for a friend by the name of CJ, hanging guardrail.
“I lived in a walking horse barn with five other guys and built guard rails. It was cool, kind of like a bull riding camp and eventually I could ride everything he owned,” Cody reminisced.

While there, his mentor made a phone call that got Cody lined up to go to his first event at the top level. It quickly became a turning point in his career. He ended up placing and kept the moment going with more wins to move into the tour soon after. Cody shared advice from his experiences, “Keep working and don’t give up, cause if you keep pushing and keep pushing, God will bless you like he blessed me. If he can do it for me he can do it for anyone.”

Cody Nance, PBR Springfield, MO
photo: Addie Hilldenburg / Hillenburg Productions / Western Media and Sports

Juggling Travel and Family

Korie and Cody have been busy ever since the start of this journey together as part of the PBR tour and making life work with now having a family as well. Korie soon realized that being busy had a brand-new definition.

“I give props to Cody and all the guys in the PBR,” Korie said. “Cody has been doing this for ten years and I have only been doing this with him for two years. It can get really overwhelming! You sacrifice time elsewhere to do what you love, which is your profession.”

When the couple does get a chance to be at home they rush to get errands, chores, and visiting time in as much as possible. When time to themselves does make its way around, the Nance’s like to fish, hunt, and anything else they can do with their kids as well.

“We love having the kids with us! When they’re with us, it’s like our favorite thing in the whole world,” Korie said.

Cody also shared that the family has a camper they take with them when they are traveling, and the kids love when they take it along. When the married couple thinks about the lifestyle they have built they try to remember that this is temporary and in the future the Nance family be able to relax more and have more time to do some of the things they have wanted to do.

The couple’s three kiddos sure do carry the same passion for rodeo and riding following in the footsteps of their father. Their little girl loves the horses and the two boys love talking about bull riding and participating in the mutton busting.

“Nash, our three-year-old, rode a sheep this summer and he had no fear, he was like a little Cody! Wyatt, he is six now and he will get on a small bull, but he was terrified as a muttin’ buster, he would not get on that little sheep! He would cry and just refuse to get on. But he will get on a bull and we have a little zebu as well and he and Nash love it.”

When the family is home it is either spent outside with the animals or down at the Kentucky lake by their home to cool down and take a swim in the summer months. Korie and Cody cherish the kids a lot more when they are with them after traveling so much with the PBR’s demanding schedule.

What PBR Means to Them

Sheri Smith, PBR Sports Agent believes Cody is a talented athlete. “Cody is known for throwing his handkerchief into the stands to a lucky fan,” Smith said.  “He is a gentleman and truly kind to those he interacts with.”

The sport has made a lot come true for the Nance family and continues to be a great career choice for Cody.

“Bull riding has given me everything and PBR has been great as I would be working 9-5 without it and I have everything I have now because of it,” Cody said.

The PBR professional’s wife describes her husband as very determined and so passionate. Korie says it best when asked what is most important to her and her family, “The most important thing to us is our faith. Without God we wouldn’t be able to do any of this. We know when we fail there is a bigger plan, through all of this we know that there is God’s plan and we know that even through the hardest and darkest times, God can use this for good. And maybe not in our lives but in someone else’s life. Cody ideally to me is a Man of God and he is how a man should be strong in his faith and my biggest hope is that kids can see that in him and want to be better and more like Christ. Life traveling is a lot easier when you have support and love. Our family supports us and this life so much; my family never owned anything Wrangler before Cody!”

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