Lee Brice is best known for crafting music born of his Southeastern roots, but loved the country over for its down-home emotions and values. He […]
Written by: Lily Landreth< Back to Articles
By day, Shorty Gorham is a bullfighter, now in his 12th season working PBR events across the country. By night – and even into the wee hours of the morning – he’s a hunter, either hunting deer or tracking bobcats with as many as 14 hunting dogs leading the way.
Originally from Orange County, California, Shorty moved to Cotulla, Texas, after marrying his wife, Amanda. “There are a few things I miss about California, but not very many,” says Shorty. “One of the cool things about south Texas is it’s really easy to transplant any game that’s non-native, like elk and a lot of different African game.” Cotulla is on the edge of what hunters call the Golden Triangle, a region that produces some of the country’s best whitetail deer through rigorous deer management, feed, and genetically improved breeding stock. Shorty uses Record Rack deer feed, while his hunting dogs are on Nutrena food, the parent company of Record Rack. “The deer are healthy as can be, and I’ve noticed with both my dogs and the deer that their coats are shinier and they’re fleshier,” Shorty explains. “I’ve been hunting my dogs hard enough to know that their food is doing them justice.”
Shorty did his share of coon hunting in California, but had to transition from coon hounds to fox hounds when he started hunting bobcats in Texas. “These dogs are Running Walkers, and they have more endurance and speed. Coon hounds are bred for their treeing ability, but these dogs are bred for running game. About half of them I’ve purchased already trained, but the other half I’ve trained myself.” The bobcat population is so dense that they are considered varmints, and Shorty does predator control for several ranches in the area, which also benefits the turkey and quail population. “I have GPS trackers on all my dogs so I know where everyone is at all times. You turn the dogs loose and follow them; I try to drive through areas that are bobcat habitats. You wait for the dogs to pick up a scent, which they’ll hopefully follow, and then you listen to some good old-fashioned hound music.
“The down-side to these dogs is that you have to hunt them really hard to keep them tuned in,” Shorty adds. “There are days I’m tired, but the dogs don’t care – they still need to hunt. When I’m beat up and sore, it can feel like a job, but this is my enjoyment and my therapy. I hunt alone a lot, and it’s peaceful. It lets my mind rest and just enjoy good dog work. And hopefully we catch some cats!
During the first few months of the year, Shorty’s PBR schedule keeps him on the road five or six days a week, flying from San Antonio to any of the major cities hosting the PBR. “This season has been going really good. We’re on track to break records again as far as attendance, and we have a young bunch of bull riders coming on the scene with that old school mentality of coming to win a world championship, not just be there their first year. If it keeps on course, this will be one of the more exciting years of my career,” he says. “When I was working rodeos, there were three or four month stretches where I never saw home, but now it’s just three to four days a week. I’m gone just enough that my family doesn’t get tired of me, but the dogs don’t bark at me.” Shorty and Amanda have a son, Tanner, and a daughter, London, who both compete in rodeo.
Shorty has also entered the stock contracting world, recently partnering with his wife’s cousin to put together a string of Spanish fighting bulls. “The freestyle bullfighting industry has taken off,” says Shorty. “It’s been on hiatus for twenty years, and it’s making a resurgence. I’m getting a little long in the tooth to be fighting bulls, so hopefully we’ll have everything together with our bulls so when I’m ready to hang up bullfighting, I can step into the stock contracting. I’m also working with Nutrena on building a feed for our fighting bulls, so we’re experimenting with different energy sources to enhance their performance. It’s been fun to have that relationship with Nutrena and Record Rack.”