If you haven’t heard, Kent Cox, Bushwacker’s trainer, was found dead this morning, a probable suicide– but you’d never know it from looking at the PBR’s website.

Cox had recently been released from a mental health facility, where he was placed last month after police determined that he was a danger to himself. He had been arrested in front of City Hall, holding a gun and refusing to cooperate with police who wanted to take it from him; he was sent to a county jail. Police dropped the charges of resisting arrest so that he could be evaluated by mental health professionals.

The PBR released a statement of condolence, but do you think there’s a front page story knocking any other news off their website? Noooo. The news is all about the Iron Cowboy event this weekend.

If Bushwacker had dropped dead, you can bet that bull’s photo and obit would be splashed all over the PBR homepage, and a two-page press release would’ve gone out to media all over the world. Does that mean Bushwacker is more important than the man who spent more time with him than anyone else, and helped him be what he is? What does it take to stop the PBR machinery for an hour to write and post something about this terrible news? It didn’t take me long, and I found out less than an hour ago, without being in the PBR pipeline.

Really shabby, boys. I have a few choice words for you, but you can fill in your own blanks.

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33 Responses to KENT COX

  1. R. Kraball says:

    A tribute story to someone like Cox is not an easy thing to write … and given the apparent circumstances of his death, I think it was tasteful to release a short statement early and then a story like this one later:

    It’s a lovely tribute and I don’t think it’s such a problem that it came a week later.


    • Esther says:

      I agree with you completely. It was nice to read the words of those who knew him and I’m sure it took some time to gather those statements.


      • …and to trash the nasty messages some people were directing to other people who posted. I wonder if they were people trolling to pick fights?

        Carole Ann’s post was a wonderful antidote to the negative stuff.


  2. Carole Anne says:

    There is two distinctly different issues here regarding the tragic loss of Kent Cox’s life. One is the sadness that I feel for Kent and his family. After years of working in mental health, I am all-too familiar with suicide and the range of emotions that family and friends experience when their loved ones take their lives. As an equestrian, I know all too well about traumatic brain injury and sports-related injuries, especially with bull riding, rodeo, and horses in general. People do what they love and Kent Cox was a gifted individual-no one can take that away from him. TBI and depression are often closely linked-if indeed he suffered from that. The issue about how the PBR handled this however, is important to me. I will never know how much or how little support they give people in their business-as a culture, we still have a stigma about mental-health issues. We approach physical injury much differently. I was extremely disappointed at what I perceive as a lack of acknowledgement for the loss of this particular life. I miss the old PBR. It’s become such a big business and seems to be so much about image and marketing. Small, independent owners seem to be shut-out. It’s too much about celebrity and $$$. I call it the “country club culture.” There simply seems to be too much personal politics. I have decided to boycott them and put my support behind other groups. In closing, I simply want to say that I think Kent Cox represented everything that was right about bull riding-and the business. He was hauling my best friend’s bull “Sweet Thang” and had made my friend’s dream come true-to have her bull get the level of recognition he deserved. She and myself are forever in his debt and we will never forget Kent.


    • AMEN!! I found it absurd (and aggravating) that people couldn’t make the distinction. Would you be all right with me putting your post on the homepage (with or without any identification, whatever you choose)? You have elucidated it so clearly.

      I truly appreciate your intelligent, feeling, reality-based comment!


  3. Stephanie says:

    I completely understand why the PBR wouldn’t give out so many details. It’s a matter of privacy. Privacy for Kent, and privacy for his family. It would be disrespectful for them to write about his suicide and his mental instability at this point. What happened is tragic, but I’d rather mourn him than be angry. I’m saddened, the details sadden me, but the greatest loss is just of the man himself.
    If you can’t see this, if you can’t see why the PBR made their statements in the way that they did, then shame on you. The PBR is trying to work through this, as difficult as it may be, and Kent is finally at peace. Let him rest.


    • There is no need for the “shame on you.” NOBODY is asking for details. NOBODY wants the PBR to write about anything other than their respect for him. The PBR’s statement was fine–diplomatic and respectful. What was not respectful was that they didn’t give it more than a day before they went back to their theme song of JB Mauney. Maybe they’ll write an appreciation of Kent later; one can only hope. I just wish people would read these comments more carefully, and not assign motives or meanings that aren’t there.


      • Elizabeth Butterfield says:

        He was a wonderful man, such a shame. Somebody asked what happened to him and were told “google him” very cold.
        I have never heard a better description the JB Mauney theme song. He sure has them all fooled.
        Rest in Peace dear friend we will all miss your smile.


  4. Judy Long says:

    Well said D Scott


  5. Judy Long says:

    Wow , so sad that Kent’s death is causing so much controversy ,when it should only be illiciting sadness in our hearts and support for his family, friends and fans. We have no idea why PBR officials made the choice they made and we have no idea why or what ‘perhaps’ made Kent to take his life. The hoopla is not justified for lack of information and just plain insensitive.. Please can we not just hold him in our hearts and grieve.


  6. The only people being bashed are the people at the PBR who made the decision to get rid of their statement of condolence and replace it with yet another story about JB Mauney. Everyone posting to this blog has expressed nothing but sympathy for Kent and his family.


  7. NOBODY is trashing Kent Cox!! It’s natural that after a tragedy, people try to make sense of it, and they are expressing compassion for him and his family. There are facts available, if the local news reports were accurate: last month he was arrested, but the police decided he was a danger to himself, so he was admitted to a mental health facility for evaluation. Obviously the man was suffering, but for whatever reasons, he didn’t stay there. NONE of that information is trashing his name. Nothing that happened is his fault. I hope that’s clear.


  8. This is extremely sad. Wasn’t anyone helping this man with his problems? Friends? Relatives? Things should have never gone this far. He was crying out for help but only Bushwacker heard him. But what could he do? My condolences to Kent’s family…


  9. Trying to be a fan says:

    Did he have an injury that made him quit riding? Maybe too many concussions? If so, I worry about Ben Jones. The NFL is a perfect example of what too many concussions does to an athlete. Many have committed suicide because of their brain injuries. Only difference is that the PBR has a players union and health care protection.


  10. Bull Fan says:

    The PBR uses people until they are no longer useful & then drop them like a rock.


  11. DDMZ says:

    Everyone’s coming across in a pretty hostile manner about this tragedy…who knows if the PBR has been asked by his family or even instructed by the police not to make a more detailed announcement or posting due to the investigation that I’m sure is now getting started.

    It’s really sad that people can’t have a little more empathy for someone who was clearly struggling with some demons…the likes of which none of us have any knowledge of and nor should we considering 99.99% of us may not have even know him personally.

    I’d encourage everyone to take a breath and read what they’re about to post…it’s not always pretty. I’m all for free speech don’t get me wrong…but someone who meant a great deal to a lot of people (and quite a few bulls I’m sure) is gone.


    • What everyone has posted here so far isn’t a demand for gory details. Everyone wants the PBR to show more appreciation and respect for the man. I’d like to see stories about his career, his comments on the sport, his connections with riders, trainers, stock contractors, and bulls. Stories of his life, not his death. I’m sure his family wouldn’t object to showing his achievements and what he meant to his friends.

      Instead, we get a 2-day canned blurb on the PBR website, and what’s right back on the front page? JB Mauney. (Like we haven’t had enough of the hype!) The PBR’s behavior is disgraceful, disrespectful, callous, and greedy. (Rake in those Iron Cowboy ticket sales and TV ratings!) They’re trying to focus everyone’s attention on their favorite cowboy and the event, instead of the reality that cowboys are human beings, not immortal tough guys.


      • This was what I was wondering is all, Maybe the PBR was told not to make a big comment by family. Just sayin, Emotions run high when a good Cowboy has perished especially by fans who just find out. Makes me so sad RIP Kent Cox, and Prayers are sent for his family. Still Crying about it


  12. ST says:

    So very sad to hear. He was truly passionate about bulls. I remember an article from the NY Times article that I thought really captured his relationship with Bushwhacker. You have to wonder if all those concussions (Article below) had an affect on him. RIP.


  13. B.V. says:

    I feel so sorry for the whole Cox family. My prayers go out to all of them.


  14. S. says:

    It’s hard to tell what their radio silence means. On the charitable side, I will say, it’s not entirely clear what happened but it sounds like discretion on the part of the PBR isn’t an entirely bad idea until more information is available and the family has had some time to process.

    However, there’s also the unfortunate possibility they are still on the “if something bad happens, we won’t talk about it” track, along with a dose of “the cowboy way doesn’t allow for a lack of mental toughness.”

    I would expect some sort of article about him in the next few days, or a spot during the Iron Cowboy, though. There’s no reason the PBR can’t put up some kind of tribute — if they don’t, well…

    It all sounds very sad. I hope his family and friends have a lot of support — these situations are very difficult.


    • The least they could do is put a box on the website saying something nice and vague until further notice. They’re definitely not going to admit what happened. That “cowboy up” mentality probably was what kept him from getting help. (Him, and a lot of other cowboy casualties.) I do feel sorry for the family.


      • S. says:

        They finally have something up.


      • Gary says:

        I didnt realize that PBR invented Cowboy up. Good to know 😉 Suicide is a very sensitive tragedy. It especially effects family and close friends who feel that they could have prevented it. I am sure they were asked to keep it low key and not mention suicide which is usually how suicide is treated. Cox wasn’t a Bull rider and PBR didnt have much if any control over anything he did or didnt do. After his arrest in January PBR didnt demand him to go back to work. Maybe you should be pointing your anger to Julio. Its not proper to use a death to take out a resentment on PBR. RIP Kent, may your memory always be a blessing to your family and friends.


      • Who ever said the PBR invented “Cowboy up”? Not me. (But I do happen to know who first used that expression.) I totally agree that in this case, the cause of death shouldn’t be mentioned. I also happen to have had first-hand experience with a suicide. It’s just a shame that when Cox did go into a mental health facility, he left too soon.
        Why on earth should I be angry at Julio Moreno?
        You have completely misread what I’ve written. I am NOT accusing the PBR of having anything to do with Kent Cox’s situation. I was just disgusted with the way the PBR shoved their acknowledgment of Cox off their website as soon as possible, and replaced it with more Mauney propaganda.


  15. Well, you can’t expect people who think just manning up and toughing it out will solve everything to acknowledge a suicide, can you? I’m surprised the PBR has made Gary Allan their unofficial songster, seeing as how his wife killed herself.


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