SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Less than two weeks after Hurricane Harvey wrecked utter destruction on Houston and its surrounding communities, the state of Florida and the East Coast is now bracing for the impact of Hurricane Irma.
The Category 5 hurricane is the latest attack from Mother Nature against the United States, which has also been dealing with catastrophic wildfires in the northwest this summer.
There is already talk that Hurricane Irma could lead to the largest evacuation in U.S. history and that over 9 million people are facing the possibility of losing power.
2016 World Champion Cooper Davis and 2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel spent the last week at home in Texas as their state continues to begin the slow recovery process from Hurricane Harvey.
As one part of the country faces a grave threat, their state continues to rebuild.
“It is tragic,” Davis said. “I hate to use that word, but it is pretty rough. Pretty much 80 percent of the people I know, their houses are or were underwater. A lot of (my wife) Kaitlyn’s family’s houses are underwater.
“It is just a mess.”
Teel added, “It is a bad deal. You know people that didn’t have flood insurance and never thought they would need it. Next thing you know and it is pretty crazy.”
Teel currently lives in College Station, Texas, which is two hours north of Houston, but his heartstrings were pulled on when he began to see images from his hometown of Kountze, Texas, during Hurricane Harvey.
There were two images that really put into perspective how fast the water was rising in the town where he began his love for professional bull riding.
Teel was sent a photo on Aug. 28 of a sign acknowledging his 2012 PRCA championship in Kountze that was halfway under water. Two days later, it was completely submerged.
“My hometown of Kountze got hit pretty hard with a lot of flooding,” Teel said. “A lot of people lost their homes. Even though I don’t live there anymore, it is still home.”
Teel was in jeopardy of losing some cattle in Winnie, Texas, during Hurricane Harvey, but he eventually found out that his cows had found a dry piece of land and survived the storm.
Davis’ father-in-law’s tire business was submerged with flooding during the storm, but has since reopened and is undergoing interior renovations.
Cooper and Kaitlyn had recently moved into their new home in Buna, Texas, earlier this year and were thankful to not experience much damage at all.
“Our land in the back floods when we get small rain, so I was thinking we would at least get a little bit of flooding at the house,” Cooper said. “And we got no floods, no water even around the house. We got lucky. All of our problems are very minimal. Everything was good at the house. Had to cut a few trees down, but nothing serious compared to most.”
Davis went 1-for-3 in Thackerville, Oklahoma, last weekend – winning Round 2 with an 88.5-point ride on Ice Pick.
He admitted after spending the previous week evacuated in Dallas with his wife and son, Mack, that home was obviously on his mind some.
“It was, but my mind was kind of at ease knowing everything was OK back at home,” Davis said. “Sure everybody lost their house, but their health is what is most important. You can look at it as being tragic, but we still have a lot to be thankful for.”
Davis and Teel are both scheduled to compete at the PFIWestern.com Invitational, presented by Bass Pro Shops, this weekend at JQH Arena.
Davis will look for his second 90-point ride on Cut The Cord after previously covering the bovine athlete for 91 points in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in March.
The Jasper, Texas, native is ranked sixth in the world and is 1,334.17 points behind world leader Kaique Pacheco.
Davis has drawn Relentless (0-0, BFTS) for Round 1 on Friday night.
Fans can watch Round 1 exclusively on PBR LIVE beginning at 8:45 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, Teel, the No. 11 man in the world standings, will attempt to kick to the curb his seven-consecutive buckoff streak when he takes on Switch Hitter (3-3, BFTS).
Teel earned 500 world points for his runner-up finish as The Music City Knockout in Nashville, Tennessee, last month, but was admittedly frustrated with his performance.
“I was very disappointed,” Teel said. “I felt almost ungrateful and irritated because it went so poorly for me, not getting any rides going. It was pretty weird having everybody come pat me on the back and telling me good job and I didn’t ride more than 3 seconds. It was a different format and it caught up to me.”
Teel was 0-for-3 in Thackerville last weekend, but he is ready to turn the corner beginning on Friday night.
“It was a week off last week so that is the past,” Teel said. “It is a fresh week, and hopefully I can finish this second half off strong.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko