A gentleman who never knew a stranger, Brent Thurman grinned his way through life. Some have said they did not know another person who liked to smile so much with their front teeth missing. Not only was Bret a world-class champion bull rider, he was a motivator of life.
Thurman was born in Austin, Texas, on March 3, 1969, into a family of Central Texas supporters. His mother, Kay Thurman, Said “Whatever was happening at the moment is what Brent wanted to do.” Football, basketball, track and bay fishing were only a few of Thurman’s athletic endeavors. His second favorite sport was golf. He won a city tournament and was determined to join the Senior PGA when he hung up his riding gear.
Brent’s bull riding career began at the fearless age of 8 at Cecil Hill’s arena in Austin. Several bull riders commended Thurman’s unique style of riding. He carried his free arm lower than most riders and used his feet more than his upper body. In 1993, Thurman qualified for his first National Finals Rodeo. After Brent’s fatal accident in Las Vegas, he finished 9th in the World PRCA Standings. He was also a three-time competitor in the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo. After Thurman’s first professional career year ended in 1989, he went on the be ranked in the top 30 bull riders in the world. He was plagued with small injuries for several years which kept him from qualifying for the National Finals sooner.
Great riders and friends like Ty Murray, Randy Thornton, Brian Herman and Michael Gaffney noted that many children looked up to Thurman who basically got along with everyone he met. He volunteered in the special rodeos, competitions for physically and mentally disabled youth, and judged bull riding events throughout Texas in his spare time. He was very close to his family, loved children, loved a challenge and knew how to find humor and joy in life.
“He was the perfect example of good attitude, devotion to his God and respect for his friends. He was a hero. He was a cowboy”
– Rodeo Video Magazine