By: Justin Felisko
March 11, 2017
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Cooper Davis was walking toward the locker room inside Verizon Arena with his son, Mack, when another little boy ran up behind him and tugged at his jeans.
Davis had just ridden Sketchy Bob for 86 points for a third-place finish in Round 1 at the Bad Boy Mowdown after promising this little Cooper Davis earlier in the day he would pick up a qualified ride for him.
“Hey, buddy, what did ya think?” the 22-year-old bull rider said.
The older Davis met the little Davis, a 3-year-old suffering from CMT (Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease), which is a group of inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nerves, before the start of competition on Friday night.
“That was pretty cool to get it done for him,” Davis said. “Heck, I was praying before it started we would get it done for him and we did. I used to be that kid Cooper Davis that was looking up to all of these guys.
“It is awesome. Just getting to see a smile on his face. I am sure there are hardships he has gone through. It is good to see him smile.”
Following the event, the reigning World Champion wiped away a small tear trickling down his right eye after little Cooper gave Mack a stuffed animal and a big hug on the dirt.
Mack recently had a health scare three weeks ago in Arlington, Texas, following the Iron Cowboy.
“After we went through everything with Mack, Kaitlyn (Cooper’s wife) and I have been talking about starting some kind of deal that we can donate to the hospital or donate our time to go see those kids,” he said. “When you are in there, there is nothing to look at but those four walls.
“Those kids need a pick me up and that is important to us.”
Kaitlyn was also brought to tears post-event as she watched her husband and son interact with one of their biggest fans.
It was a reminder of watching Mack play with the kids at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.
“It is eye opening,” Kaitlyn said. “You realize you live in a bubble because you don’t really know. My kid was going to play time with other kids.
“It is hard to think about it.”
The Davis’ have begun taking small steps toward creating a pathway to give back to children and their families suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
Cooper and Kaitlyn are thinking big and small.
Whether it is being available to meet and bring a smile to a face of little Cooper or to one day putting on a benefit bull riding for Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston or individual family, the Davis’ want to do it all.
“Having a little boy, there is no amount of money you wouldn’t spend to have your kid feeling right,” Davis said. “I can sympathize with it. If I can make their lives a little better, that makes mine that much better.”
Kaitlyn added, “We always thought about it. Once we had the health scare, we were thinking we don’t need the money. We were thinking let’s do something for cancer units. All of the proceeds can go to a hospital. It is something we are working on.”
Cooper may be ranked eighth in the world standings and be in contention for the event victory, but he has bigger wishes than a win or another championship.
“It is hard,” Cooper concluded. “That is the worst thing in the world to me, not seeing a kid feeling well. If there is one thing I could fix in this world, it would be that. Hopefully one day they will figure all these diseases out.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2017 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.