Raising Bucking Bulls with the Gorham Family
Rusty Gorham had been riding bulls for decades when he heard the name of his young son over the rodeo loudspeakers. They were at the Crooked River Roundup in Prineville, Oregon, when one of Rusty’s longtime friends had signed Tyler up for the sheep riding event. It’s a crowd favorite and one that this dad of two would never forget.
“That’s the first time I saw Tyler ride,” Rusty recalled. “Today we’re partners, raising bulls.”
To say the Gorham family knows a lot about bulls and bull riding is an understatement. Rusty rode from the age of six to 36 – quite the career for anyone. Today, he and his son raise some of the most sought-after, award-winning bulls around. They call the company Gorham Bucking Bulls.
The cowboys who get on the back of a Gorham bucking bull during competition know they’re going to get the ride of a lifetime. They and the crowd are counting on it.
“Right now, we have around 95 bulls ranging in age one to 10 years,” Rusty explained, patting one of the bulls on the head like a family pet. “We’re selective and take the time to get it right with each age group of animals. We’re in the process of moving them over to the Mobley Ranch in Kent, Oregon where my son lives with his family. It’s great cattle country over there.”
Tyler, his wife, and young son are naturals at raising bulls. But, in the beginning, Gorham Bucking Bulls was a one-man operation.
“I was raising bulls, coaching soccer, taking care of my family, and helping with the Bowerman rodeo scholarships,” Rusty recalled, brushing a thin layer of high desert dust off his blue denim shirt. “I enjoyed coaching soccer. I even coached the high school team in Lebanon for eight years after my daughter was on the team.”
Rusty’s daughter ended up going to college in Colorado on a rodeo scholarship. His son also got a rodeo scholarship, then found some success riding bulls professionally – just like his dad.
When Rusty was a young cowboy, riding bulls didn’t necessarily pay all the bills.
“It was a lot of fun,” Rusty said. “I wish I was 20-years-old again and could really make some money at it.”
Today’s rodeo stars can make millions. With those kinds of winnings available to the top tier, good riders can make a decent living, too. That’s where the Coastal Farm Challenge of Champions got its start.
“Over 10 years ago, Jason Mattox came to us with the idea for the Challenge of Champions,” Rusty proudly recalls. “We were already doing junior events and knew the industry. He had the drive and we saw the potential. It’s been one of the greatest partnerships. We’re very proud to be part of it.”
Over its fast-moving history, the Coastal Farm Challenge of Champions Tour has become the perfect opportunity for riders to showcase their abilities, earn some money, and show the world what being a cowboy is all about nowadays.
Learn more about the Coastal Farm Challenge of Champions at challengeofchampionstour.com.
“In 2016, we raised the Challenge of Champions Bull of the Year,” Rusty said. “Named him Omaha. Branded 218 after Payton Manning’s number and two Super-bowl wins. We sold him to a pro rodeo company in Red Bluff.”
While he’s not ready to retire just yet, Rusty is enjoying watching his son take over the family business. As a grandfather of three, father of two, and devoted husband to one, he’s proud of the life he’s been able to provide and the memories he’s able to cherish. This is one real-life cowboy who knows the good life when he sees it.
Get Rodeo Ready at Coastal
Stop by your Northwest owned and operated Coastal where you’ll find a full line of western clothing for men, women, and the kids. Try on a new pair of boots, pull on a comfortable pair of jeans, admire yourself in a new dress shirt, or head out into the hot, summer sun with a better hat. Whatever it is you need for your country lifestyle, you’ll find it at your nearby Coastal.