Performing in front of his hometown fans has always been a dream of Cade Gibson’s.
His dream came true on Aug. 3 when Gibson got to fight bulls at the Zimmerer Kubota PBR challenge at the Allen Event Center.
In May “Gibby,” as he is known in the arena, claimed the world championship in the inaugural Shorty Gorham’s American Freestyle Bullfighting series for the 2018 season. Since that weekend, the Tioga High School grad has seen his career take off. He was selected to join both the PRCA and PBR circuits as a rookie bullfighter and is also working to defend his crown in the AFB.
Gibson currently stands fifth in the AFB world standings, The Allen PBR event was his third event protecting the cowboys on the PBR circuit.
“To get that gold buckle as the first AFB Champion was awesome,” he said. “That was a dream come true. I enjoyed it for a day or two, but then had to get right back to work.”
Winning the AFB World Championship was not the end of the road for Gibson. On the contrary, it was just the beginning. Since that weekend, he has been busy chasing more dreams.
“I have been able to step into the arena and fight bulls with some of the best in the business,” he said. “Tonight [in Allen] I got to fight bulls with Frank Newsome and Lucas Teodoro. Both of them have been to the PBR finals. Frank signed my card to get me into the PBR. He is second to none. I have dreamed of fighting bulls with them, and others like them. Now, those dreams are coming true.”
The PBR event in Allen had three of the top five bullriders in the current PBR standings, and it had some of the best bucking bulls in the business trying to throw the cowboys to the dirt.
Casey Cox of Aubrey produced the event in Allen, and he is a stock contractor for the PBR tour.
“I had been thinking of putting on a local event for quite awhile, but I could not find the right place to do it,” he said. “Then one day my sister called me and said she had just been to a circus in Allen, and that I should check out that arena. Once I stepped foot in the Allen Event Center, I knew it would be perfect for a PBR event.”
Cox would not put on the event without finding a way to support returning veterans. Each year he chooses a charity to help raise money and awareness for the veterans.
“I just had a dream to support veterans,” he said. “Simply put, without them we could not be doing what we do.”
This year, Cox chose The Boot Campaign. The Boot Campaign was started by five Texas women with the same dream – to raise awareness and money for returning veterans. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Boot Campaign, but it’s the first year of its involvement with the PBR event.
Shelly Kirkland, who is with the Boot Campaign, said they have various events throughout the year to help raise funds for the charity.
“We have a ‘Santa Boot’ campaign during the holidays, as well as events like this,” she said. “We sell boots on our website, bootcampaign.org, where we ask everyone to lace up their combat boots as an expression of gratitude to our veterans. We also take donations on our website. This particular event has raised over $40,000 for the charity so far.”
This year, Cox chose an old childhood friend to receive “The Herschel ‘Woody’ Williams Veteran of Honor” award. Morgan Luttrell, a former Pilot Point resident and former Navy Seal, was on hand to accept the award. Luttrell, and his more famous brother Marcus of “Lone Survivor” fame, were elementary school classmates of Cox in Pilot Point.
“When Casey called and asked me to help support the event, I did not hesitate,” Luttrell said. “The Boot
Campaign and I work together when possible to help improve the lives of returning veterans. When I found out what Casey was doing, I was absolutely going to support him.”
After his military career, Luttrell completed his graduate degree in cognitive neuroscience and went to work for the Department of Energy. His work with the DOE and Department of Veterans Affairs has allowed Luttrell to continue to work with and improve the quality of life in a shorter amount of time for returning veterans.
Another thing Gibson, Cox and Luttrell all have the desire to help others.
“Being able to give something back is the real goal,” Gibson said. “I love this lifestyle and the arena I have chosen. We all work hard out here. But, it’s not about the money or the fame or anything like that. It’s about making someone smile. Signing an autograph for a kid. Raising money for veterans or others in need.”
“We have to help those that helped us,” added Cox. “Veterans put their life on the line daily to allow us the freedoms that we have. It’s the least we could do.”
Cox and his staff put on the show in Allen, and “Gibby” was glad to be a part of it.
“It’s probably the closest I will ever be to home,” said the Pilot Point resident. “Many of the guys don’t have a hometown rodeo that their family and friends can attend. I am lucky to have this one so close. It was a heck of a show tonight, and I am glad that many of my friends and family were able to be here to see it.”