Country song inspired Lovell to gold buckle ‘Dear Rodeo’ PRCA ProRodeo photo by Clay Guardipee Country music singer Cody Johnson, who was the 2019 nominee for CMA’s New Artist of the Year, sang his hit song, “Dear Rodeo,” before Round 10 at the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, Dec. 12.
BY TRACY RENCK T eam roping header Colby Lovell had been to the National Finals Rodeo six times, but he’d never achieved his ultimate result. Still, he kept dreaming about the gold buckle he never put on. Then came Cody Johnson’s song, “Dear Rodeo,” and it struck a chord with Lovell. Before Round 10 at the 2020Wrangler NFR at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, Lovell crossed paths with Johnson, a friend of Lovell’s who played before the start of the 10th performance. That prompted Lovell to think about “Dear Rodeo” and how the song talks about the gold buckle that got away. “I lost my rope to have a chance to win the world (previously), and then I think I rodeoed for one more (year) and ended up coming home for about three years,” said Lovell, who made the NFR in 2010-13 and 2015-16 before qualifying again in 2020. “For people who are out on the road and
they’ve rodeoed their whole lives, whether it’s bull riding, bareback riding, any event, you can really understand what the lyrics of my good friend Cody Johnson’s song, ‘Dear Rodeo’ means. “When it says, ‘I’d be lying if I tried to tell you I don’t think about you and after all the miles and the wild nights that we’ve been through,’ you think about all the nights you have driven and how much time I’ve put into roping to get to that point. Then come home for three years and not rodeo and let my chance at a gold buckle slip away and you hear that song, it can touch home with you. The lyrics of that song lit a fire back in me.” Playing that song at the Finals also meant something to Johnson. “It was a pretty special moment,” Johnson said. “It was a full-circle moment for me.” A couple hours later and Lovell was walking around Globe Life Field with a gold buckle in hand. He and partner Paul Eaves had won Round 10 with a 4.4-second run to vault them to their respective world titles. “When I heard ‘Dear Rodeo’ when I wasn’t rodeoing, I had a pain, an