By: Justin Felisko August 25, 2014@ 06:00:00 PM
PUEBLO, Colo. – Jaxson Kidd woke up budding with anticipation on the morning of Aug. 21, in his family’s Bixby, Oklahoma, home. In a few hours, he would finally be able to meet J.B. Mauney, Bushwacker and some of the other stars of the PBR, while being a part of the PBR’s Back! parade.
Just like the night before in which he was wide awake until midnight, Jaxson couldn’t contain his excitement and began air bull riding his way around the house until the Kidds finally began their 30-minute drive to downtown Tulsa.
Jaxson couldn’t contain his enthusiasm any longer when he saw stock contractor Julio Moreno pull into the staging parking lot with two-time World Champion Bull Bushwacker at the corner of 10th Street and South Boston Avenue. A few minutes later, Jaxson was beaming even more when Mauney, Kasey Hayes, Brady Sims and Mike Collins arrived for the morning’s festivities.
“He was just ecstatic,” said his mother, Gina Kidd. “His whole face lit up. He wanted to run over there.”
It is those precious moments that mean so much to Gina and Patrick, Jaxson’s father. The PBR gives their son something to smile about amid all of the doctor appointments and treatments he has to undergo during his ongoing battle with Medulloblastoma – a form of brain cancer that affects between 250-500 children in the United States every year, according to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Kidd, the PBR’s first participant in its Adopt a Child program, rode alongside Mauney on a Clydesdale carriage and later learned that the PBR will be taking him and his family to the 2014 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas with VIP treatment. He also received a brand new cowboy hat, a PBR Future Champion belt buckle, a PBR baseball cap, a T-shirt and a stuffed Bushwacker doll.
“Oh my gosh, I couldn’t believe she (Senior Director of Public Relations Denise Abbott) said that,” Gina said after a press conference before the start of the Built Ford Tough Series second half in Tulsa. “We are trying to do everything we can to make his time that he has left special and to make sure he is happy.”
Gina remembered during the parade when Jaxson told Mauney that it would probably be easier for him to ride Bushwacker if he used two hands, she laughed.
The 2013 World Champion smiled and replied, “It probably would.”
Jaxson was diagnosed with brain cancer in February 2013. It was just three weeks after the Kidds had moved from Houston to Bixby, Oklahoma, to be closer to their friends and family. Jaxson completed his treatment, which included chemotherapy, in May, but he is still battling the effects of the treatment and the cancer.
It was in Houston where Jaxson fell in love with rodeo and the Western way of life after attending the Houston Rodeo. He has begun to learn how to use a bow and arrow recently, and he has always loved to be outside. He also enjoys swimming and is a Lego-building master indoors.
“This is great. It really is,” Patrick said in Tulsa. “We are from Oklahoma originally, and he has always been an outdoor, cowboy-oriented kid. He really is. He loves going out and shooting arrows.”
The PBR’s honorary bull rider joked while adjusting his new belt buckle that he needs to work on his aim some.
“I don’t have the sight set up, so I don’t know where exactly I am aiming at,” he said. “I just aim and shoot.”
The PBR’s honorary bull rider emphatically described Bushwacker by opening his arms extra wide and pointing at the BOK Center, “He was as big as this door!”
Jaxson was given a behind-the-chutes tour at the BFTS event, while also being introduced to entertainer Flint Rasmussen and many others.
The Kidds were connected to the PBR through Turn Tulsa Pink Director Judi Grove. The PBR was in search of a recipient for its Adopt a Child program and Grove had a contact at a support group called Families Fighting Childhood Cancer that the Kidds belonged to.
“Have you ever had a moment where God is smiling at you?” Grove asked the audience at the press conference. “That is what today is.”
Two weeks later and Jaxson is still smiling – just as he was in Tulsa. On Saturday, Jaxson received an autographed bull riding vest from some of the top cowboys in the world that he met during the rider meeting prior to the first night of action in Tulsa.
During the meeting, Jaxson participated in a pre-event prayer led by Mike Lee. The 2004 World Champion then hoisted Jaxson onto his and Cody Nance’s shoulders as all of the riders posed with Jaxson for a group photo in the back of the room.
Jaxson sent a video message to the PBR and its riders on Monday morning.
“Hi, I like the jacket that you gave me,” Jaxson said. “Thanks. Good luck guys.”
In the weeks leading up to World Finals, Jaxson will be in touch with some of the PBR’s top BFTS riders before attending the five-day competition in Las Vegas where he and other cancer fighters and survivors will be recognized on the PBR’s Cancer Awareness night, Thursday, Oct. 23.
“This is awesome,” Gina said. “It gives him something to look forward to.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.