January 12, 2016 – When is the last time you got into a ring with a raging bull? It’s not an action most of us would take, but for the Dickies Bullfighters of Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR), it’s their job.
For nearly 25 years PBR has entertained millions of fans, holding more than 100 events across the U.S. every year. From pyrotechnics to pulsating music and special effects, each event is different, but the goal is the same – hold tight for 8 seconds.
Once the cowboy has fallen, it’s up to the Dickies Bullfighters to protect the rider while he runs to safety. From cracked vertebrae to multiple broken ribs – the durable Dickies Bullfighters have been through and seen it all. Below we dive deeper into the backgrounds of Dickies bullfighters Shorty Gorham, Frank Newsom, Jesse Byrne and Cody Webster - who intensely understand what it means to “take one for the team.”
Beginning at the age of 14, Shorty aimed to become a professional bullfighter who was always at the ready when his name was called into the ring. Because he was so anxious to grab his gear and get his career rolling, Shorty never quite finished high school, electing instead to set his sights straight to the industry top - becoming a bullfighter for the PBR. He fought bulls in the rodeo circuit for several years, earning the respect of the cowboys he protected and worked his way up to higher levels of competition, eventually landing at PBR where he’s been a Dickies Bullfighter for a decade. When he is not seen battling it out with bulls in the ring, he can be found in Cotulla, Texas, spending time with his wife and two kids. Follow Shorty on Twitter @ShortyGorham
For more than 15 years, Frank has been an invaluable member of the PBR Dickies Bullfighters. Beginning his career at the age of 17, Fearless Frank has become the best in the business at “turning back” the bull – working the bull into a spin so that the bull faces the exit chute, lessening the cowboy’s chances of injury once thrown off. Frank’s special talent involves thinking about where the bull’s eyes will travel next. He crouches down, working into position - and almost immediately the bull turns to make eye contact, then the turn back begins. Outside of the rodeo arena, Frank lives in Paoli, Oklahoma, raising cattle with his wife and three children. Follow Frank on Twitter @NewsomFrank.
Carrying on the family tradition - Jesse whose father, mother and two brothers have all competed professionally in rodeo - has nearly a decade of experience as a Dickies Bullfighter. Jesse’s father, an ex-bullfighter himself, has over and over again stated that Jesse has a natural knack for seeing a wreck before it happens, he just towed that out from him, beginning at the age of 16. Having to protect his younger cowboy brother in the ring is definitely a unique feeling – like a good bullfighter does, Jesse worries about his brother’s safety more than his own. When he’s not participating in PBR, Jesse resides in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada with his brothers Tanner and Bo Byrne. Follow Jesse on Twitter at @jb_bullfighter
Cody, the 23-year-old rookie of the Dickies Bullfighters team, has been the prodigy of Frank Newsom since he was just shy of his twelfth birthday. Cody has just finished his first season as an alternate bullfighter on the Dickies team - meaning he is the top bullfighter summoned to the ring when Frank, Shorty or Jesse are unable to compete. The Wayne, Oklahoma, bullfighter believes that being able to work side-by-side with the top three bullfighters in the industry is only helping him increasingly get better. Frank can frequently be seen watching Cody from afar, acting as a father figure to Cody who frequently refers to the Dickies Bullfighters as part of his true family. Follow Cody on Instagram @cody_webster405.