Rodeo community remembers teen who lost life to West Nile

It's been one year since Elgin teen Cody Hopkins died after contracting West Nile Virus.

It's been one year since Elgin teenager Cody Hopkins died after contracting West Nile Virus. 

Those closest to him remembered him by hosting a memorial rodeo at the Circleville Store in Taylor Saturday.

"Tonight's a celebration of life," Hopkin's father, Greg Lashmet said. "It's celebrating Cody's life and we want to make sure that people remember him." 

Lashmet said his son could ride a bull with the best of them.  

"He was doing really, really well," he said. "He was aspiring to be a professional bull rider." 

Hopkins was training every week when he lost his life to West Nile one year ago. He was only 13. 

RELATED | Memorial bull riding for Elgin teen who died of West Nile

"It's been tough," Lashmet said. "It's been really tough. You never thought something as simple as a mosquito bite would take the life of your child so it's been a huge adjustment for my family. It's taken its toll on us." 

It's also taken a toll on those who used to see Cody practicing in the arena every week.

"You know in rodeo we're a family and when we lose one of our own it's quite a hit," rodeo announcer Aaron Presley said. 

After Hopkin's death, the rodeo community came together raising money for his family, then naming an arena after him and hosting a memorial rodeo in it. 

Hopkin's family said if he could see all this he'd be in shock. 

"I mean to have all this for him with his name on the everything would mean the world to him," Lashmet said. 

All the proceeds from the memorial rodeo will go toward West Nile research.

MORE | Parents of teen diagnosed with West Nile want to stop more cases

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