story by Lindsay Humphrey “I like the super slow looking runs because they aren’t wasting motion,” said Anita Cruse who still considers herself a student […]
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Meet the Member Brandon Gipson
story by Lindsay King
“When I was 7, my mom took me to a rodeo and put me on my first steer. The next year we came back to that same rodeo and I got on another one,” said Brandon Gipson from Los Lunas, New Mexico. That was back in 2005. At just 9 years old, Brandon starting getting serious about steer riding. “I started riding in the Bosque Farms Junior Rodeo series and that’s where it really started happening for me.” For the next few years Brandon was getting on as many steers as he could and making just as many friends at the same time. Once Brandon moved up to riding novice and junior bulls, he was going to more than just one bull riding series.
“Once we got into the bigger bulls, my buddies and I found ourselves with two practice bulls. There were three of us kids to buck out those two bulls. One of us would pull the rope, while the other rode and the third would pop the gate and be the bull fighter.” That’s how Brandon found himself on the other side of the chutes. “I just jumped in there and it came naturally for me. It put me in a position where I had to do it right away. It was a game changer.” On any given night, Brandon might be found on the back of a bull or a saddle bronc horse. Just the same, he might also be in the arena most of the night as the bull fighter.
After high school, Brandon got a full-ride scholarship to ride and fight bulls at Howard College in Big Springs, Texas. After getting certificates in farm & ranch management and industrial technology, he stayed in Texas to work in the oil field. Today, Brandon works for a company that specializes in hazardous material clean up. “Basically, anything people can’t touch, we deal with. We are in the suits with the respirators and everything.” Brandon’s dad has worked for the company for the past 15 years, which inspired him to explore the field. The dangers of the job are nothing for someone who willingly faces off with a 2,000-pound animal on a regular basis.
“I love riding bulls more, but I am better at fighting them. It’s definitely harder to ride them, where fighting is more of a natural thing in my opinion.” Explaining the logic behind this passion is futile for Brandon because he loves so much about it. Not only does Brandon love the sport to its core, he’s also fairly handy at it as well. As the 2016 NMRA Bull Riding Rookie of the Year and 2019 NMRA Bull Fighter of the Year, Brandon takes his role as the 2020 NMRA Bull Riding Director seriously. “I’ve probably rodeoed every weekend since I was about 12 years old. I just love rodeo and have a lot of rodeos and bulls under my belt.”
In 2018 Brandon won three BBR protection matches and won two more in 2019. Despite his accomplishments, Brandon has both feet firmly planted on the ground. Fighting bulls in the arena where Brandon got started has truly brought his career full circle. “They have everything from the youth in the sheep riding up to the seniors. It’s a little indoor arena near Durango.” It’s one of Brandon’s favorite events, and perhaps the reason why he looks up to some unlikely competitors. “All the little kids in this sport drive me to be somebody. I look up to them. They don’t know it, but they encourage me to do better. They make me want to try to be someone worth looking up to.”