Eastern Kentucky University alumnus Cody Buell, a 2013 double master’s holder and a 2005 Model High School graduate, said it was probably his hobby of catfish noodling that got him on season 32 of The Amazing Race, but it was his critical thinking skills learned at EKU that helped him while he competed on the show. Buell and his close friend Nathan Worthington are one of 11 teams that will appear on the multi-Emmy award winning reality television series. The Amazing Race premieres at 9 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Oct. 14, on CBS.
After finding his professional calling in safety at EKU and obtaining master’s degrees in public administration and public health, Buell headed to Dayton, Tennessee to work at La-Z-Boy as the sustainability manager for branded manufacturing. That’s where he met Worthington, now his good friend and teammate on the show.
With an adventurous spirit, Buell wanted to get his feet wet with noodling – fishing for catfish by hand – and Worthington offered to take him. Noodling is not as simple or as easy as it sounds. The catfish bite the noodler’s hand, enabling the noodler to pull them out of the water. Getting waist-deep in muddy water to find catfish and pull them out with their bare hands provided the footing for Buell and Worthington’s friendship eight years ago. Buell said their noodling avocation was not only the catch for the producer casting him and Worthington, but also what enabled them to build a true friendship bond.
“I think that noodling in and of itself is a skill that builds a lot of other skills,” Buell said. “I would entrust Nathan to save my life if I have problems. We’re really good at communicating to where we can tell people’s movement underwater – whether they’re running out of breath or whether they need help. You can almost just have a second sense from hours upon hours of noodling.”
Although the Paint Lick, Kentucky native can’t yet share details about what happens on the show, Buell said, “It was exactly as it sounds - it was amazing.” The best part for him was making friendships with the cast, sharing memories and experiencing new things with his good friend, Worthington.
“Everybody on the cast was absolutely wonderful,” Buell said. “They’re everything that you would want in a good friend. We text every day, and we call and talk, and we FaceTime, and everybody knows everybody’s families.”
The show was filmed nearly two years ago over a course of five weeks. Since then, he said the cast has remained close and continues to get together at reunions, even apart from CBS.
He’ll be watching Season 32 for the first time with the rest of the world and said the entire cast is nervous to see the show.
According to CBS, “This season, 11 teams will embark on a trek around the world. At every destination, each team must compete in a series of challenges, some mental and some physical, and only when the tasks are complete will they learn of their next location. Teams who are the farthest behind will gradually be eliminated as the contest progresses, with the first team to arrive at the final destination winning the $1 million prize.”
The competitors start at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California, and their first stop is Trinidad and Tobago. Along the journey, the teams travel to France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Brazil and more.
A true EKU Colonel, Buell says, “I want to share and spread positivity. I want everyone to always think they can do it. No matter what you do in life, it means something to somebody.”
Learn more about Buell on his social media channels and online: Cody Buell on Instagram and YouTube, jeep88xj on Snapchat, and www.catfistinkings.com.