Colby Lovell & Cody NesSmith: A Story of Inspiration

Team roper Colby Lovell won the World Championship in December 2020 and if you ask him, every time he backed into the box at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at Globe Life Field, he was roping for more than just a Gold Buckle.

Cody NesSmith’s hero and favorite roper had always been Colby Lovell. After meeting Cody and his father, Tony, at the U.S. Team Roping Championships in 2014, Lovell ran into Tony NesSmith again a few years later at a rodeo in Louisiana and asked how Cody was doing, only to find out he had a terminal cancer with a 5 percent chance of surviving. Tony asked how much it would cost him to have his son spend a day at Lovell’s ranch with him, the answer was nothing, he just had to bring clothes. After one phone call, Cody was set to visit Colby the next week.

Cody NesSmith ended up creating the friendship of a lifetime with Lovell and he would impact the professional team roper in ways that Lovell never saw coming.

“They’re so much alike it’s kind of scary,” Tony said. “It’s just amazing the connection they had.”

“The way it came together, it was to serve one purpose. It wasn’t to go rodeo, it was to go win the World. That was the only thing he’d talk to me about, his expectations out of me was to rodeo and do good and do the best I can,” Lovell said. “And he wanted to walk across the stage when I won the World and he taught me to open my arms when it’s time.”

Shortly after Lovell and partner Paul Eaves left for the summer run, Lovell tried to call Cody to let him know how they were doing at a Cowboy Christmas rodeo. He responded with a text message that he didn’t have the strength to talk and a few days later, Lovell returned home to see Cody for what would ultimately be a farewell party.

“I swear the impact of just going through and knowing that it was coming was harder than not knowing,” Lovell said.

On the 10th night of the 2020 NFR, Lovell and Eaves won the Go-Round to complete their come-from-behind World Championship. Cody’s family was in attendance.

“It was a Cinderella story that unraveled right in front of me and I got to be a part of it,” Lovell said. “Cody NesSmith made me who I am......When I roped that steer in the 10th round and I looked up and I hollered, it’s not for me. I wanted Cody NesSmith to hear me.”

Meet the NFR Athletes is presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athletes is Presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athletes are Presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athletes is presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athletes is presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athletes presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athletes is presented by Montana Silversmiths
Meet the NFR Athlete is presented by Montana Silversmiths