Tag Archives: Jim Codr

Bustin’ Chops, Sweatin’ Bulls

August 26, 2016 by
Photography by Scott Drickey

Jim and Emily Codr are the parents of four children ages 5 to 9, so they trek downtown often to enjoy attractions like the giant slides at the Gene Leahy Mall, the train exhibits at the Durham Museum, walking around the Old Market, and to catch Creighton Bluejays basketball games. They’re admitted city slickers most of the year, but for one day every fall the whole family gets decked out from hat to boots in Western wear for the Aksarben Stock Show & Rodeo.

Last year, daughter Nora (now 7) went from onlooker to participant when she held tight for a thrilling six seconds in the “Mutton Bustin’” sheep riding competition. She placed second in her round.

“She absolutely loved competing in front of a big crowd like that,” Emily Codr says, adding that her daughter is eager to try again this September, perhaps with some of her siblings. “She did it (last year) because she was probably the most adventurous of the bunch…Potentially, I could have three of my four kids compete this year.”

Codrs1The Codr kids aren’t the first rodeo participants in the family. Jim’s father, Frank Codr, has the deepest connection to rodeo, and not just because he and his son have dressed in Western gear at their office (Wiig-Codr Underwriters Co.) during the Aksarben Rodeo days for many years. The horse in the company logo is a nod to Frank’s three years riding on bareback broncos and bulls as a professional rodeo cowboy.

“I remember riding horses (since) forever,” Frank says of his youth on the family farm 10 miles west of Seward. By the time he was the same age as his youngest grandchild, Frank was already a horseman of sorts, riding his beloved pony Goldie to help round up the family’s small herd of milk cows after they spent the day grazing in the pasture. “Sometimes I would ride Mousey, one of my mom’s favorite milk cows, out of the barn,” he recalls, adding with a chuckle: “It was my first bovine incidence of riding.”

Frank won a calf one year at a Butler County Fair calf-catching event, and he raised the Black Angus to become a record-setting grand champion steer at a later Aksarben stock show. Frank learned to train problem horses early on, so when the opportunity to try bull riding came up, he was confident it was something he could handle.

“I didn’t have a problem with bucking stock because I’d been around it my whole life,” Frank explains, but he still ended up on the ground immediately—inside the chute—on his first try. “I got razzed so bad,” he says. Undaunted, he rodeod on weekends while working for an insurance company during the week. The euphoria didn’t make up for the risk and the inevitable injuries, and by the time he was in his mid-20s, Frank retired from rodeo for good, a decision both his boss and his new wife
heartily supported.

These days, Frank is satisfied with being a rodeo spectator and footing the annual family trip to Wolf Bros. Western Store. He has also led the Codr family’s ongoing advocacy of Aksarben.

“Aksarben really does an outstanding job of encouraging agriculture. And I’ve always thought they were a wonderful organization,” he says. “(The rodeo and stock show) is a great tradition in Omaha. I just love bringing my grandbabies and my son and my daughter-in-law there.” 

Visit aksarbenstockshow.com for more information. Encounter

Codrs2

Family Success Story: The Codrs

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Fertility issues are something that Jim Codr wouldn’t wish on anyone—not even his worst enemy. “You just sort of float along indefinitely with no end in sight. You start to question what you are, what you want, and how bad you want it.”

Emily, his wife of nearly 10 years, agrees. “There was a time when we didn’t think we would be able to have any children,” she says. “Our biggest obstacle, as a couple, [was] the difficulty of starting a family.”

Nora, 3.

Nora, 3.

But then, one day, everything turned around for the Codrs. They were blessed with a daughter, Anna. And then twins Nora and Margaret. And then a son, Edward. All of these fairly back-to-back pregnancies were surprising. “We got all sorts of raised eyebrows when we announced No. 4 was coming,” Emily adds.

What the Codrs didn’t realize was that the little blessings they had hoped for would turn out to be just as testing on their marriage as the fertility issues. “Having four children under 4 made life very stressful,” Emily says. “We had heard that multiples put a lot of stress on a marriage, but we had no idea just how little time we would have for each other, let alone ourselves.”

Each day presents a new set of obstacles for Jim and Emily. Not only do they have to ready themselves for work every morning; they also have to feed, dress, and drop off their four kids at school and daycare. It’s quite the hassle already, but it can be even more taxing when the children don’t want to cooperate. “[It] requires a great deal of organization and pre-planning the night before,” Emily says.

Eddie, 2.

Eddie, 2.

Fortunately, Jim and Emily, who both grew up in Omaha, have plenty of support around them to take some of the edge off of raising four young children.

“We lived in Kansas City for about five years prior to moving [back] to Omaha. I came to work for my father,” Jim says. “We came to that decision primarily because we [knew we] wanted to start having kids and thought the career move would be a better fit…Boy, I’m glad we did. The flexibility and benefits are huge.” Emily, too, has a flexible job that allows her to attend to the needs of her family when problems arise.

“We have an amazing network of people that have done nothing but help us along the way,” Emily says. “We have wonderful friends that didn’t forget about us when the days were long and hard caring for multiple babies…We often remark that life would be a whole lot more complicated for us outside of Omaha. [It’s] such a wonderful place to raise a family.”

When it comes to parenting, Jim and Emily try to stay away from the “divide and conquer” philosophy and focus more on working together. Leaving the house is a perfect example. Going anywhere with their children is one of the most hectic things they deal with on a regular basis, but they’ve gotten to the point where they have a system. “Logistically [for us], we simply need two adults minimum…It has sort of forced us to another level of parental participation,” Jim explains.

“We always wanted a big family…We may not be taking our kids on trips around the world, but at the end of the day, we tuck in four, healthy, balanced children whose parents love them and love each other.” – Emily Codr

“We don’t have roles as parents. If something needs to be done, we just do it,” Emily adds.

“I disagree with Emily about roles. She has a role—just do everything!” Jim counters with a laugh. “But seriously, she is a really terrific mom and keeps the engine going. I’d be lost without her.”

Having so many young children so fast brought the family closer together, in the Codrs’ opinion. Before they had kids, Jim and Emily had been more “carefree and freewheeling…even self-absorbed and a little immature.” Or, at least, that’s how Jim saw himself. Nevertheless, being parents has taught them many lessons.

Anna, 6.

Anna, 6.

“Being together is a priority for us,” Emily says. “We do most everything as a family, and we enjoy sharing experiences with each other. We [also] appreciate the ordinary days.”

“You learn what patience and determination really are,” Jim says. “It’s very easy to lay blame when things are going wrong, especially when they’re out of your control…You learn to stop hitting below the belt and lean on each other instead.” He adds that he admires his wife for her calm collectiveness. “I wish I had the grace under fire that she does.”

Although raising four children is quite enough to deem Jim and Emily saints in some people’s eyes, they don’t feel like they’re doing anything extraordinary. “We always wanted a big family…We may not be taking our kids on trips around the world, but at the end of the day, we tuck in four, healthy, balanced children whose parents love them and love each other,” Emily says.

Of course, the Codrs say their kids are just like other kids (in other words, they fight constantly). But in the end, they work well together and love one another.

Maggie, 3.

Maggie, 3.

“One of the coolest things about having several kids stacked together is that they have such an emotional attachment to each other,” adds Jim. “They always want to do things as a family. They love the weekends and nicknamed it ‘family day’…Their sibling relationships are just as important as the child-parent relationships. We try to stress that.”

“From what we have been told, parenting doesn’t get any easier as the kids get older, but we are sharpening our teamwork skills every day, and life must be getting easier because we cannot imagine how we did it,” Emily says.

“Oh yeah,” Jim adds. “It never ends. But that’s part of the fun, right? You get better. The kids get better. We’re all learning how to cope with one another.”