Brothers’ rivalry spurs success in saddle bronc

Cody DeMoss is called “Hot Sauce” and Heith DeMoss is nicknamed “Danger.” The brothers from Heflin, La., also are known as two of the best saddle bronc riders in the world.

Cody, 28, who used to slather hot sauce on everything he ate in college to make it taste better, surpassed $1 million in career earnings this season and is competing in his sixth National Finals Rodeo.

Heith, 24, who said his moniker “sounds a lot cooler than what it really means,” has made more than $300,000 in his career and is competing in his second NFR.

Cody, who scored 83.5 points Friday to finish third in the second go-round of the NFR in front of a crowd of 17,267 at the Thomas & Mack Center, contends there isn’t a sibling rivalry between them, but Heith said it’s the main reason for their success.

“I try to outdo him every day of my life,” said Heith, who was bucked off his horse Friday but remains fourth in the standings, about $31,000 behind leader Jesse Kruse. “We’re pretty dadgum competitive between the two of us. I think we drive each other to do better.”

While Cody joked if he had known about the rivalry, he “would’ve tried a little harder,” he is seriously proud of his younger brother.

“I’ve been helping him and pushing him a little bit, but now he’s his own man,” he said. “He’s done really well, and he’s got a long ways to go.”

But as supportive as the siblings are of each other, they’ve also gotten into many heated arguments as they’ve traveled across the country together in a conversion van.

“We get right at each other’s throats half the time,” Cody said. “I’ve never punched him, but we damn sure haven’t talked to each other for a while.”

Said a smiling Heith: “It’s regular old brotherly love. Every once in a while, we just kind of have to duke it out, but we love each other more than you can imagine.”

Which is why they relish competing together at the NFR for the second time in three years.

“That’s probably one of the coolest things, to have you and your brother here,” Cody said. “If one of us was to walk out of here with a championship, it would be more special.”

Winning a world title is about the only thing Cody, who placed second in 2004 and third in 2006, hasn’t accomplished. But he said surpassing $1 million in career earnings was a special milestone.

“When I passed that, I felt like I really made it,” he said. “It was like, ‘I am one of the best bronc riders in the world. I passed a million dollars.’ That was pretty cool.”

Despite sitting in fifth place, about $32,000 behind Kruse, Cody said he likes his chances to win this year. Competing without an ACL in either of his knees, this could be his last chance.

“He’s supposed to be getting his knees fixed, and he’s saying that he’s done, so it’s pretty exciting to be here with him,” Heith said. “I’m hoping he’s coming on back.”

J.J. Elshere (Quinn, S.D.) won the saddle bronc competition Friday. Other winners, who each earned $17,139.42, were Kaycee Field (Elk Ridge, Utah) in bareback riding, Shawn Greenfield (Lakeview, Ore.) in steer wrestling, David Key (Caldwell, Texas) and Rich Skelton (Llano, Texas) in team roping, Scott Kormos (Teague, Texas) in calf roping, Lindsay Sears (Nanton, Alberta) in barrel racing and B.J. Schumacher (Hillsboro, Wis.) in bull riding.

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