December 14, 2022

Let’s Hear it For Timed Event Helper Extraordinaire Cody Cowden As He Rides Away King

Every once in a while, someone stands out so much at something that he’s noticeably absent when we don’t see him somewhere. Such is the case with eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo heeler Cody Cowden, who for the first time since the turn of the century won’t be here at the Lazy E Arena as a Cinch Timed Event Championship team roping helper. The winningest TEC helper of all time—Cowden’s headed and heeled for Trevor Brazile, Kyle Lockett, Daniel Green and Jordan Ketscher for a record six Timed Event wins—has put together an unparalleled run as king of the TEC wingmen spanning 2000-2020.

“I’m finally retired from the Timed Event, and it’s honestly kind of a relief, because helping at such a prestigious event is a huge responsibility,” said Cowden, who will be here in time to watch the last perf of the Timed Event Saturday night and rope in Sunday’s BFI.

California’s Cody Cowden has been a fixture in the heading and heeling helper box at the Lazy E arena for decades. Team Roping Journal Photo

Any sage advice from the helper who’s spent the most time in the Timed Event winner’s circle to the guys helping here this year?

“To be a good helper, you need to show up prepared and with the best head and heel horse you can ride,” Cowden said. “That was part of my decision to bow out this year. I didn’t have the head- or heel-horse power. It also doesn’t hurt to help winners.”

Lockett has Aaron Tsinigine—who’s also his 2021 BFI partner—heading for him at the Timed Event, and Douglas Rich heeling. Lockett won the Timed Event in both 2005 and 2011. Why did Kyle enlist Cowden’s help when he had the chance?

Eight-time NFR heeler Cowden never let the Christmas trees at the St. Paul Rodeo distract him. St Paul Rodeo Photo by Kent Soule

“Cody’s smart, and he’s a good catcher,” Lockett said. “Being a good helper is about as simple as that—knowing what it takes to win.”

The late Leo “The Lion” Camarillo, Green, Lockett, Ketscher and defending Timed Event champ Taylor Santos own nine Timed Event titles between them, which puts them one ahead of Texas’s eight. Why does Golden State cowboy Cowden think the prunies have had so much success here at the Lazy E?

Cody Cowden and Bobby Hurley won both the 1997 BFI and George Strait Team Roping Classic. That’s Cole Bigbee, who grew into an NFR heeler, and BFI founder Feist presenting. BFI Photo

“People underestimate California cowboys,” Cowden said. “That’s a mistake. We ranch and cowboy out here. All the best cowboys lived in California back in the day, and there’s still a lot of cowboy country in Cali.”

The 2021 Timed Event Championship of the World kicks off tomorrow night here at the Lazy E, and runs March 11-13 through Saturday night. Championship Weekend at the Lazy E then rolls right into Sunday’s BFI. And guess who will be out with the first crack of the gate? Yep, Team 1-A is none other than a pair of past BFI champs, J.D. Yates and Cody Cowden.

Yates—who’s one of the rare ropers who’ve roped both ends at the NFR—won the 2010 BFI with cousin Jay Wadhams, and Cowden won the 1997 BFI with Bobby Hurley. Buckle up, boys, it’s showtime at the Timed Event and BFI!

Colorado cousins J.D. Yates and Jay Wadhams getting the BFI goods from Bob Feist in 2010. Yates will head for Cowden at the 2021 BFI on Sunday. BFI Photo


Kendra Santos has written about cowboys all her life, including longtime stints with the PRCA, PBR, BFI and The Team Roping Journal. She’s also mom to two 2021 Timed Event Championship cowboys, Lane Karney and Taylor Santos. (

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