Cody Hopkins takes final ride in arena

Friends say one last goodbye to Cody Hopkins, whose parents say he died from the West Nile Virus. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Kravets)

TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — Hot pink was a popular color to wear in Taylor Sunday afternoon. It was Cody Hopkins’ favorite color, worn by friends and family, all remembering the junior bull rider at Circleville Store, Cody’s favorite place to ride.

“He’d be here every Thursday night begging people to get on bulls,” explains Clint Hopkins, Cody’s uncle.

As a bull fighter, it was Clint’s job to protect Cody in the arena. But he couldn’t save his nephew from getting sick

Cody’s family says he died of complications from the West Nile virus. Doctors confirm he had West Nile, but state officials are waiting on test results to see if that’s what caused his death.

“It’s a sad, sad deal. There’s nobody that could protect him,” said Hopkins.

Not even his parents, who helped Cody with his final ride. His ashes placed on the back of a bull.

“It was amazing to see him ride his last ride,” says Robert Kerley, one of Cody’s best friends.

Cody’s parents were also presented with the championship buckle, for Cody’s final ride.

“I know Cody’s smiling right now with the biggest smile on his face,” said Clint.

That is how family and friends will remember the 13-year-old.

“He was the kind of guy when you were down, he’d always make you laugh,” said another one of Cody’s good friends, Gatlin Kirk. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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