This is the story of a man and a bull.
This is an article from the Feb. 15, 2016 issue
The bull is one of those whose lot in life was to be ridden by men, but this bull, whose coat is the color of coffee mixed with blood, was the best the world has ever seen at bucking men off. The reasons for his greatness lay largely within the man, who spent the last six years of his life preparing the bull to rid himself of these human burdens.
The man never tried to ride the bull. He had ridden other bulls when he was younger, and he had been among the best at it in Texas until a red-haired bull in Wichita Falls threw his head back and pulverized the bones in the right side of the man's face, leaving a puzzle there that would never quite be put together. Not long after his fifth facial surgery, the man quit trying to ride bulls and instead took to handling them: transporting them from event to event, feeding them—and doing something with that one bull that would make it nearly unridable.
The man, whose name was Kent Cox, died near Bunyan, Texas, on Feb. 27, 2014. He was found hanging from a rope in front of the pens where he housed his bulls—including Bushwacker, the famous champion with the burnt-rust coat that had, for four straight years, mocked the very name of the Professional Bull Riders tour. The how of Kent's death looked straightforward. The why, few people could immediately discern. Why would the man who had just shepherded the greatest bucking bull in history to its second Bull of the Year title do away with himself at age 42?
The physical evidence at the scene was sparse. The rope was a common livestock rope with a small loop braided into one end, which with a push of the thumb had been crafted into a noose. Kent had left his truck running a few yards away, with his beloved dog Mojo inside, safe from the wind and cold. The police found boot prints in the dirt leading from the truck to the spot where Kent was found, and more boot prints on the steel gate beneath the horizontal pole to which the rope was tied.
Years earlier, Kent had welded that pole to that gate. He'd built all the bull pens on the 38-acre property he shared with his girlfriend, Gina Graham, whom he sometimes called his wife. He had welded all the bucking chutes and alleyways too, and if that doesn't seem like such a big deal, think of a man with no peripheral vision in one eye and no formal welding instruction making a bunch of rhino cages by himself. Think of the importance of doing it right.
The PBR can be like a traveling circus. With some exceptions, folks involved in the tour come out of their trailers and hotel rooms when the arena lights come on and return there when the lights are cut off. They call the people they work with friends. Good buddies. Kent was among the most genial and generous and funny of these road-show role players, but he knew he could count his true friends on one hand.
This select group would be so bewildered by his suicide, so injured by its suddenness, that a few of them would hatch short-lived conspiracy theories based on imagined loose ends. I wonder if the police matched them boot prints to Kent's boots. I heard they didn't even dust for fingerprints. Maybe somebody was trying to get to that bull and Kent got in the way. That woman of his is 10 handfuls, I'll tell you that much.
These ideas were only fueled by the statement given to police by Matt Bohon, a 30-year-old pro bullrider and one of Kent's closest friends. He told police that when he discovered the body at 7:52 a.m., less than 20 minutes after Kent died, Kent's feet were "barely touching the ground." But these notions of foul play have been disproved. More important, the people who harbored them have learned that they didn't know Kent nearly as well as they thought.
Two years on, those who used to wonder Are we sure Kent killed himself? now just ask Why? And when they do, it always leads to another question: Why'd he do it in front of Bushwacker?
The bull was standing right there, about 20 feet away, perhaps awakened by the racket of a man clambering up a metal gate. If Bushwacker is as intelligent and observant as everyone says he is, he watched with ear-twitching curiosity as the living creature that had spent more time with him than any other living creature—the human most responsible for his success, his fame and any feeling of affection the bull might have harbored beneath his furry triceratops shoulders—was extinguished.
The only light inside Jerry Jones's AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, spills from the concession area on the second tier. Among the 30,000 people who braved an ice storm to get here on this Saturday evening in February 2015, only those in one part of the lowest row can see the cowboy-hatted shadows scurrying across the dirt floor, squirting lighter fluid and then scampering back under the bleachers. When the last man vanishes, the anger-metal anthem "Down with the Sickness," by Disturbed, erupts so suddenly from tractor-trailer-sized speakers that drivers outside on sleet-covered I-30 might wonder what the hell is going on in there.
What's going on: Flames five stories high are shooting out of the earth toward the so-called Jerry World jumbotron, which is showing HD video of men being flicked from the backs of furry behemoths more than 10 times their weight. The massive letters pbr glow burning in the dirt as the top 35 bullriders in the world stride into the arena, chaps flapping, apparitions moving through the orangest part of the flames. This is the realm that Bushwacker metaphorically owned from October 2009 to August '13. This is where Kent Cox's bull chipped away at the Mount Rushmore of bullriding, which had featured only human faces such as Ty Murray's and Justin McBride's, and added a bovine face.
Looking at Bushwacker in his prime, you wouldn't have guessed he was the greatest bucking bull. His weight, 1,700 pounds, was average for a PBR bull, his demeanor unsettlingly calm. There was a time, in fact, when the only thing he had going for him was his lineage. His father, Reindeer Dippin', was known for his big jump and for the twisting bucks he threw at riders while they were linked eight feet off the ground. His mother, Lady Luck, was sired by Diamond's Ghost, who was not as accomplished as Reindeer but just as explosive. As a knobby-kneed 2-year-old in 2008, Bushwacker raised hell each time somebody tried to put a bucking dummy on his back. But once the dummy—a heavy steel box the size of a toaster oven—was strapped on and the gate flew open ... he'd stand as still as a stone. Defiant. "You wouldn't have said he was gonna be anything," says L.J. Jenkins, a 28-year-old PBR rider who retired due to injury in 2015, the year after Bushwacker retired due to age. "But Kent could see he was smart."
J.B. Mauney, the reigning world champion rider who became the PBR's main attraction after Bushwacker's 2014 farewell tour, says, "You can't make him do anything he doesn't wanna do. The bull had to want to buck. That's where Kent came in."
The consensus in the industry is that Bushwacker, athletically gifted as he is, would have been a very good bucking bull had he and Kent not come together eight years ago. Maybe even a champion. But not the greatest.
Monty Samford, 57, sits sideways at a picnic table on his bull ranch near Eula, Texas, recalling how the whole thing got started. "Julio said, 'I wanna leave my bulls down here with you,'" Samford says, referring to Bushwacker's California-based owner, Julio Moreno. Texas, Samford explains, is the bullriding hub of the U.S., a place from which bulls can be driven to competitions anywhere in the country in less than a day—perfect for athletes that don't like to be cooped up in a trailer. Unfortunately, Samford's pens were full. But, he told Moreno, "I've got a guy."
"Julio said, 'Aw, I'll just bring 'em back to California.'
"I said, 'Listen to me, I got a guy who is gonna do you a good job. Just give him a chance.'"
Two decades earlier Samford had taken in an angry stray teenager he simply called Cox and taught him the bull business, allowing the kid full access to the dung-scented Juilliard that was Samford's Flying S ranch. Kent learned to improvise there. He blared classic rock at the bulls to accustom them to the sounds they would hear in competition. He loosened his flank rope to let them buck unhindered. He visited thoroughbred farms to see how they fed their animals. The most common term for Kent's job is handler, but Kent became much more than that.
"He was really a trainer, a manager, a doctor, a caretaker, all wrapped up into one," says Samford. "It's a job takin' care of these son-of-a-guns. I mean, on a day like today, when them pens are god-dang knee-deep in mud, and there's frost hangin' off them son-of-a-guns' backs, and the water's froze up? Then right about the time you think everything's done, Kent would have to go pick up a load of feed. There were a bunch of times he was supposed to be in high school, and I'd get home at 1 p.m. and he'd be in the house watching bull videos. I'd say, 'Why aren't you in school?' 'I don't wanna go to school.' He was consumed."
Kent's passion for bulls survived the shattering of the bones surrounding his right eye and the near destruction of the optic nerve behind it, which he suffered as a rider in 1995. After he quit riding and, in 2008, was entrusted with Moreno's stock, he began focusing that passion on one bull in particular: the auburn calf that was as stubborn and spindly legged as Kent was. The one he would train to stand confidently in the bucking chute, without twitching or jostling like the others. The one that would stand that way in his pen as the sun rose over the hill on Feb. 27, 2014, watching.
I've never seen him this dirty," says Moreno, sun-chapped and smiling, as he squishes through the muck left by winter rains at his ranch in Oakdale, Calif., about 100 miles east of San Francisco. Bushwacker, three months into retirement, reposes on a raised chunk of earth surrounded by a steel fence about 20 yards square. His farewell tour, which began under the cloud of Kent Cox's death, ended that fall with his third world title.
"He knows when he's in the limelight," Moreno says, his forearms on the top bar of the pen. "When there was a competition, he knew when it was. You could back a trailer up right here, and he'd run in without you even doing anything. He knew when it was time for him to go do his thing." As if on cue, Bushwacker hoists himself to his feet, the muscles in his flank bulging. The thin ankles that somehow support his massive girth are caked with dried mud. His umber face bears its trademark splash of white. His eyes wear the same dull expression they've worn his whole life.
Moreno repeatedly spurned offers in the high six figures for Bushwacker so that the animal could instead make good on the promise that used to run atop Moreno's Facebook page: "Semen sales available at all times." Breeders gladly paid $10,000 for a beaker. Among the many things left unresolved when Kent Cox died without a will were the fates of some of Bushwacker's offspring. That part of this story, Moreno says, began about a dozen years ago: "That's when [Kent] fell in love with that girl. They never married, but she ended up with everything. She has all the bulls from Bushwacker." He's referring to the calves, chips off the champ's block, that were born from the 20 "straws" of semen that Moreno gave Kent years back. "There's nine of 'em," Moreno continues (Graham disputes this number), "and I'm trying my best to get 'em back."
Moreno is hesitant to say more. He told a News-week writer two years ago that he had "a lot of questions" about the way Kent died, but he was urged by higher-ups in the industry to avoid saying anything similar in the future. Later, forgetting this advice, Moreno says, "I know one thing: Kent didn't wanna hang himself. No way."
So the question remains: Why? Moreno and other friends of Kent's would like to pose a few related questions to Gina Graham, the red-haired, doe-eyed former barrel racer Kent lived with for 12 years but split up with two or three months before he died. For starters, they want to know why Gina took up with another man, which Kent confided to Samford, Moreno, and Kent's best buddies, Toby Floyd and Dean Wilson. He told them all the same story: When he came home early from Vegas after shooting a commercial with Bushwacker in December 2013, he found what he thought was physical evidence that another man had been in his and Gina's bed. The greatest bull man in the world slept in his truck for three days, his heart smashed, before his neighbor J Brooks moved him into an unused ranch house on Brooks's property.
Kent's friends also want to know why Gina declined his marriage proposals over the years yet was described as his wife by The New York Times in 2011 and the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2013. Why did the Stephenville [Texas] Empire-Tribune refer to Gina as Kent's girlfriend a month before he died, then his ex-girlfriend and finally, in his obituary, his "wife of 10 years"? And why was she so quick to stake her claim to Kent's herd and his Bushwacker semen, and the personal property she packed up and carried from J Brooks's ranch house within hours of Kent's death?
These questions are also asked by Kent's immediate family in Waco, who aren't the only ones to wonder why Gina showed so little sympathy toward Kent's mother, Cheryl Lawson, and sister Cotii Cox Huggins during the dispute over Kent's property that ended with the family's exhausted surrender and the naming of Gina as administrator of Kent's estate.
Gina's rodeo career, like Kent's, had been halted by injury. Her right arm was severed above the elbow in a 2004 highway accident. But when she met with a reporter in January '15, it was Kent's wounds she most wanted to discuss. "Everyone always called him the bull whisperer," she said as she sat demurely in a hotel conference room. "For some reason he did not like that term ... but that bull didn't want anything to do with anybody else.... I have videos of [Bushwacker]—when he would get done buckin', he'd turn around and stand there and look at Kent for approval.... That was Kent.... He was so shy around people, he was so worried that people were judging him, but with animals he was comfortable. That was his place."
Why did Kent kill himself? "The way I describe it, it was the perfect storm," she said. "His father killed himself when Kent was young—he was only 15—and he never got over it. [And there's] the chemical side of it, the depression ... it ran in the family. He struggled his whole life with that. Kent had 13 confirmed knockouts [as a bullrider]. We lost count of the concussions. Two or three years prior to his death, we went through the study they did with Cowboys football players [at the Center for Brain Health in Dallas].... They found three—I think they call them lesions—places where the brain had died and suffered damage. His family history, the constant battle with depression, then add the concussions, it was the perfect storm."
When Kent took his life, Gina added, "that wasn't Kent. He didn't know what he was doin'. He wouldn't have done that to me. He would have never left Bushwacker! That's why I think it was the meds. That's the one thing I keep coming back to through all of this: It was those meds. He was not thinking clearly, and he was not in his right mind." According to Kent's mother, two of his sisters and Gina, Kent tried several antipsychotic medications over the years, at varying intervals and dosages. Police found a prescription slip in his truck that listed three medications: the mania suppressant lithium and the potent antidepressants trazodone and bupropion. The latter two were found in his system.
To the suggestion that her involvement with another man steepened Kent's decline, Gina responded: "No, it wasn't even that. It was me saying, 'I can't do this anymore.' There had been several incidents at the house where he had pulled a gun on himself. Just watching someone you love go through that, and then wondering if they're gonna actually pull the trigger in front of you—it was horrifying....
"There was a friend of mine [a cowboy her age, from her hometown, who was staying in the extra trailer], and [Kent] had it in his head—and this was another problem that I'd had over the last few years—almost like obsessive-compulsive disorder, once he got something in his head you couldn't talk sense to him."
On Kent's final night, she said, they worked at the regular Wednesday night bullriding in Stephenville, then convened with friends at a bar, where they argued. "I wasn't affectionate enough with him that night when we were out," Gina explained, "and it tripped that trigger, and I couldn't calm him down.... It was the same spiel [from Kent]: 'Your life can be better off without me, I'm hurting you, I don't need to be here, I'm a piece of trash.' He was just beat down. His whole life that was how he felt."
If you really want to know Kent, Gina said, start with his father, Dwight, who used to take his grade-school-age son to bars, scrawl their address on a matchbook, hand it to the kid and tell him to give it to a cabdriver if Daddy drank too much. "That's why Kent collected matchbooks everywhere he went for the rest of his life," Gina said. "You need to talk to Aunt Wanda. She has a lot of insight [into] Kent's father."
In an interview shortly before her death in October, Kent's aunt Wanda Lunn told SI that her brother Dwight had his leg crushed by a school bus when he was 12, and that most of the subsequent year he spent in the hospital was devoted to trying to cure his resulting addiction to painkillers. "For the rest of his life, he couldn't stand pain," Wanda said in an 84-year-old voice that was frail yet lively. "I mean, the least little pain, and he had to have something for it.... And I think that changed his life.... He wasn't a carefree little boy anymore."
Like his son, Dwight Cox rodeoed at a Texas junior college, South Plains. After that he managed cotton gins for a living. He married two more times after Kent's mother, Cheryl, left him when Kent was four. Dwight fathered four children in all. "There was a suicide on my mother's side," Wanda recalled. "Her brother committed suicide when he was 43 years old. Dwight was 42 when he took his own life, and Kent was 42."
Wanda mentioned Bushwacker just once during this long conversation, when describing Kent's leanest years as a stock contractor: "He fed that bull whether he fed himself or not. If he didn't have time to eat, that was O.K. Bushwacker ate. That was his kid. His project. It was more than a job."
When Kent was a teenager, she recalled, "he went and lived with Dwight a few months. And they got in an argument about something. I think Dwight hit Kent. [Kent's mother and his sister Cotii confirm this.] Two or three months later Dwight called Kent and said he was sorry. Kent was still mad. Kent [rejected the apology], and that was how it ended. That was the last conversation he had with his father. Kent told me, 'What I'd give to call him and say: Yes, I do forgive you.'"
Police records and local newspapers tell us that Dwight Cox, former saddle bronc champion at South Plains College, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head sometime between midnight and 1 p.m. on April 16, 1987, in Room 277 of the La Quinta Inn in Lubbock. On a table near his body were a bottle of Schenley vodka, three-quarters empty, and a bottle of orange juice, three-quarters full.
Most people who knew Kent near the end of his life didn't know the first thing about his dad—or his mom. By the time he was 16, Kent was dividing his time between his mom's home and Monty Samford's ranch. When he was 26, at the peak of his bullriding career, he married a woman his best friends describe as a blonde schoolteacher who looked like Carrie Underwood. Today his former wife's Facebook page shows her presiding over a happy, seemingly affluent family—husband, two small kids. Attempts to contact her by phone and twice by letter went unanswered until June 2015, when a short note arrived describing Kent as "a good person with a great heart. Unfortunately, he had big demons."
Eight years after Kent's 2001 divorce, only a couple of riders he had competed against were still around to sit on his new red bull. Sit on him for a second or two, anyway. This was around the time people began suspecting that Bushwacker was smart enough to remember the men who got on him. "He knows how your legs feel," says Mike Lee, 2004 PBR world champion. "The kind of pressure you're puttin' on your legs, pressure on your spurs, he knows that kind of feel."
"I'm sure he could," says Temple Grandin, the famed professor of livestock behavior and welfare at Colorado State. Grandin believes that there are two kinds of bucking bulls: "those that do it because they love it and those that do it because they're scared or angry." Bushwacker, whose career Grandin has followed closely, falls into the former group, she says. "If a bull is totally scared and bouncing around in the chute, he doesn't care which rider is on him. Just get him off. But Bushwacker was bucking in a much more cognitive way: He was relaxed enough to know who's on him and how to throw this guy off."
No one tried to ride Bushwacker more times than 28-year-old J.B. Mauney, the blue-eyed, black-banged PBR rock star who committed himself early in his career to becoming the third man to ever ride the bull he respectfully called Big Red. (The first two men who rode Bushwacker did so in 2009, when he was just a 3-year-old.) "I've been on him 13 times, I think," says Mauney (pronounced Mooney), a two-time PBR champion who stood fifth in this year's PBR standings through Sunday, "and he never did the same thing twice."
During Bushwacker's four-year streak of 42 straight buck-offs, a PBR record, fans delighted in watching Mauney's flailing flights off the bull's back, including a helicopter crash in Anaheim in 2011 that everyone agrees put Bushwacker on the map. "When I got on him in Tulsa [in August '13]," Mauney recalls, "Kent said, 'Well, I'm pretty nervous.' I said, 'For what?' He said, 'There's only so many chances we can give you.'"
When the gate flew open that night, Bushwacker catapulted himself left out of the chute, horns and rump seesawing a thousand miles an hour. He spun right and then left before making a sustained twirl to the right. The rising screams from the crowd drowned out the eight-second horn, which was followed a hundredth of a second later by the thump of Mauney's ear slamming into the dirt. Eight-point-oh. The streak was over. The first person Mauney hugged was the man whose limp body would be lowered to the dirt near Bushwacker six months later. A beaming Kent Cox returned Mauney's embrace, swatting the young rider on the back, capping the most memorable bull ride in PBR's 24-year history.
Julio Moreno will tell you that his lucky number played a role in that moment. The owner of the famous red bull with 13 branded on its flank had carried 13 cents in his pocket for good luck since his days as a champion calf roper. Mauney, whose last name begins with the 13th letter, finally rode Bushwacker on his 13th try. It happened in 2013, in Tulsa, Oklahoma (total number of letters: 13).
You can argue with these folks that these are coincidences, but it gets harder to do when you hear Gina mention that Kent had "13 confirmed knockouts" as a rider. And 13 surgeries. Two thousand thirteen was not only Kent's final season on tour but also the greatest season in PBR history, with record attendance, a new TV deal with CBS and the label "fastest growing sport in America" bestowed by Forbes.
And there were 13 bullets in the Springfield .45 that Kent Cox aimed at Adam Strahan—the handsome cowboy he believed was involved with Gina—on Jan. 17, 2014. It was a month before Kent's death.
Kent and Gina were living apart, but his temporary pad at J's place had a clear view of the 432-square-foot cabin that he'd built and shared with Gina for so long. In the police report about the Jan. 17 incident, Gina said that she and Kent split up in December. "I started seeing Adam Strahan," she said. "Kent went off his meds about a week ago. He has been distraught and extremely depressed, crying every day. He has made threats against Adam several times.... [Kent] admitted to me that he was watching Adam and [me] through binoculars at the other end of the property—saw us holding hands. About 6 p.m., Adam pulled in...."
Both sides—Gina and the friends to whom Kent told his side (Strahan did not respond to requests for his input)—agree that Kent then threatened to kill both Adam and himself, and that he held the pistol to his own head in the driveway. They agree that Gina talked Kent down, got him to give her the gun and sat with him in his truck for a few minutes.
"I didn't know what to do," Gina recalls. "Do you leave him alone? Is he gonna kill himself right then? If you stay with him, is he gonna kill you? You don't wanna lock him up, but I felt like I had no choice."
She drove Kent to town to pick up a paycheck he was owed. On their way back, she stopped in front of the Dublin Police Department, a little storefront on Blackjack Street. Gina says she had the pistol wedged between her back and the driver's seat. As they sat parked outside the Dublin P.D., Gina says, Kent took the gun and she leaped out of the truck and fled into the police station, where, according to the police, she told the dispatcher that "her ex-boyfriend was in the pickup across the street with a gun and he was going to kill himself."
Four officers surrounded Kent's truck. "Maybe I will have you do it," Kent yelled at them. When the officers finally persuaded Kent to place his hands on the windshield, they grabbed the gun, pulled him from the cab and wrestled with him on the ground as he resisted. They had to tase Kent twice before they could handcuff him. "He was so violent we couldn't take his mug shot," Sheriff Tommy Bryant told the local paper.
Kent spent that night in jail and the next five days at Millwood Hospital, a mental health facility in Arlington, just over 80 miles to the northeast. When Dean Wilson drove there to visit his best friend, Kent remarked, "Gettin' tased don't hurt as bad as you think it does."
The consensus among the bull men, bullriders and veterinary experts consulted for this story is that Bushwacker could sense Kent's despondency during this time. And after Kent's death the bull surely felt his absence. "Bushwacker would probably not understand that hanging killed Kent Cox," says Grandin, "but then they take Kent Cox down and take him away. Well, now [he] is gone. And animals can get really upset when [their] favorite person is gone. How did Bushwacker do after that?"
The PBR's Iron Cowboy event at Jerry World—which promised $1 million to the man who could ride Bushwacker—began two days after Kent's death. Julio Moreno flew to Dallas to do Kent's job there. The animal Moreno found waiting for him, he says, "was crazy. Bushwacker wanted to hook the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. He wanted to tear the fence up. He knew something was wrong."
The most fascinating thing about the video of that weekend's Million Dollar Ride isn't that Bushwacker dispatched Brazil's João Ricardo Vieira (currently first in the 2016 points standings) in 2.17 seconds; it's the speed with which the bull ran to the fence and looked outward, then kicked violently at the retaining wall before exiting the arena. All highly out of character for him.
It's out of character for any member of the Bos taurus species to communicate with a man the way that Dr. Gary Warner, an acclaimed veterinarian at the Elgin (Texas) Veterinary Hospital, saw Bushwacker communicating with Kent Cox in Las Vegas in 2013. Bushwacker, whom Warner calls "the Einstein of bucking bulls," was "probably 40 feet away from us on the other side of this pen, and Kent's about 15 [feet away]," Warner says. "And Kent's talking to Bushwacker ... I could see Kent's jaw moving, but I couldn't hear him, and the damn bull goes to bellowing at him, mooing back at Kent. They talked like that for probably four or five minutes." Warner wipes his eyes. "That bull truly loved that man," he says.
That love is the most likely explanation for Kent's choice to drive to Bushwacker's pen on the morning of Feb. 27, 2014. First, though, he would put down the jug of moonshine he and his buddy Matt had been sipping from, drive to the house he used to share with Gina and shoot a hole in her tire. Kent probably left his truck running near his bull pens because, his friends now agree, he was in such a hurry to get the deed done. Freedom awaited. Freedom from the pain of dozens of broken bones and lost teeth. Freedom from the headaches that began sometime in his 20s and didn't let up for a single day afterward. Freedom from his caustic, can't-live-with-her-or-without-her relationship with Gina. "Keep in mind," she says, "this threat [of suicide] had happened six times prior. After that many times you start to think, Oh, he's not—he's not really meaning this, this is not gonna happen."
He called Gina at 7:33 a.m. and said, "Do you want to hear what a man hanging sounds like?" The question was followed by a commotion.
"The people who wanna blame me because I didn't do enough?" Gina says through tears. "My response is, Where were you? I know who called, I know who texted, I know who came over. Where were you? Where were you the past five years when he was puttin' a gun to his head six times?"
Even if the explanation of Kent's death can't be whittled to a single sharp point, the question of location persists. Warner, the vet to whose office Kent accompanied Bushwacker for even the most mundane visits—not so he could sit in the waiting room but so he could assist—is asked why he thinks Kent chose the place he chose at the end. "I don't think Kent, with his relationship with that bull, wanted that bull to see him die," Warner says. "I think he was hungry for somebody's affection, and he felt so close to that bull he just wanted to be near him."