Cody Johnson has announced that on Saturday, March 11, 2023, he will take the stage at the Texas Rangers Globe Life Field in Arlington, TX as the headlining act for The American Rodeo.
This will be a full circle moment for the country star as he used to work the rodeo circuit as a bull rider. Now, he will be returning to Western sports’ richest single-day event as a performer (tickets available HERE).
“I’ve been a big fan of The American Rodeo since it started. I’ve been able to attend a few times and usually every year we wind up on the couch sitting and watching it all day long cause it’s such a special, unique rodeo,” Johnson told Country Now.
“The fact that contenders get to qualify their way up to get to compete on such a large level for such a large amount of money, it’s a huge, huge deal not only for the rodeo world, but the pro-rodeo world as well. To give people a chance to compete against the people that they watch on the Cowboy Channel and things like that, it’s an incredible incentive for rodeo.”
Johnson’s rodeo roots go way back as his road from the chute to the stage was portrayed in his 2021 award-winning documentary, Dear Rodeo: The Cody Johnson Story. With his experience working with the rodeo, Johnson has developed a true appreciation for the craft and those involved. He explained that because of that, he gets a unique sense of comfort performing at the rodeo in comparison to the venues, stadiums and arenas that he usually plays in.
“It’s kinda like the moment in 2020 when I got to play at the Wrangler NFR (National Finals Rodeo). I was looking at those yellow bucking chutes and thinking, ‘you know, as a kid, I always wanted to ride a bull outta one of those chutes.’ So, yeah to get to perform and stay with my rodeo family and my cowboy family, it’s a lot more special than most days.”
For his upcoming performance, fans can expect about a 30-minute set filled with “as much energy and as much fun” as he can possibly muster up for those in attendance. People may come for the rodeo, but Johnson’s performance is sure to elevate their overall experience.
“It’s my job to engage every one of them, no matter if they’re in the nosebleeds or down there on the floor. So, I think you can expect a lot of energy for sure,” he shared.
When it comes to the setlist, the “’Til You Can’t” singer hinted that the crowd might get to hear his powerful song, “Dear Rodeo.” This tune is especially fitting for the event, not just because of its title but also for the meaning it holds to Johnson.
“When you’re playing something like The American Rodeo, a song like ‘Dear Rodeo’ always sticks out and is special to me because, you know, there’s not a fan in the crowd at The American Rodeo that didn’t dream of being at the stage of getting to compete at that level in rodeo. Every cowboy and every cowgirl has always wondered what it’s like to put that gold buckle on and I was one of those people. So that song, ‘Dear Rodeo,’ it has more meaning when you’re playing something like The American Rodeo.”
Johnson hopes that in addition to performing, he will get to put his skills to the test and try to qualify to rope in it as well.
“That would be like the coolest double whammy ever, but we’ll see how that goes. I sing a lot better than I rope, so we’ll see,” he joked.
Even Johnson’s daughters Clara Mae, 7, and Cori, 5, are starting to get the itch and desire to attend the rodeos.
“They didn’t start growing up with horses and cows until about the last two years, so we’re easing them in,” he explained. “My oldest daughter loves to ride and she says she wants to be a barrel racer and a breakaway roper and we’re gonna work towards that.”
Another bonus to this invitation to attend The American Rodeo is that Johnson will hopefully get to reconnect with some old friends and reminisce on their common passion.
“To get to kind of hang around that circle of friends that we keep and that industry and just watch the competitors, it’s gonna be really special. There’s a lot of great competitors that are friends of ours and are in the horse business, so it’s always fun to watch such awesome rodeo athletes,” the country star shared before adding, “It’s, it’s a tight group of friends that we keep to where nobody really cares about the Cody Johnson guy. I just get to be myself, which is really nice.”
Johnson has truly had a year of success between selling out 40 shows and counting across the country, sending his fan favorite, “Human” to country radio, and earning his first-ever No. 1 hit with his double platinum-selling single, “‘Til You Can’t.”
Co-written by Ben Stennis and Matthew J. Rogers, this powerful song about following your dreams has earned multiple nods this year from major award shows, including a GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Song.
In taking a moment to reflect all the accomplishments he’s had this year, Johnson showed nothing but gratitude and excitement for what the future holds for his career.
“It’s crazy to think that I’ve been doing this for 15 years and it’s just now starting. We have an opportunity right now to kind of be reborn to a whole new group of fans worldwide and that’s something that, you know, all these accolades from the CMAs to the CMT Awards and all this stuff is doing is, it’s opening the door to reach new people, which is what I’m in the business of doing. It’s a little bit overwhelming, I have to admit.”
On December 2, Johnson will release a live album with his longtime touring band, Cody Johnson & The Rockin’ CJB Live. This collection will follow his 2021 albums, Human The Double Album and A Cody Johnson Christmas.
The next year will include at least 65 shows for Cody Johnson, but in between those performances, he plans to have some downtime with his family as well.
“I’m looking forward to the time off cause I have a feeling that the whirlwind that you talk about, it’s gonna keep going into next year,” Johnson said with hopefulness.