Koben Puckett: A Cowboy with Big Dreams

It's been said that Koben Puckett was born to ride bulls.

Dan Pucket, Koben's dad, says,"Literally, one of the first words he ever said was 'baw-bull,' which meant bucking bull and he would buck like a bull before he could even walk."

"As a kid I would set pens in the ground and buck like a bull and put on events," Koben says.

Koben grew up on the back of a bull, and his dad, Dan, being the supportive father that he is, bought bulls for Koben to practice on. This started a new chapter in the Puckett's lives.

Koben says, "I started raising bulls in 2000. The first bull that I got in ended up making it to the PBR Finals in 2004 and 2005. His name is Double Ought and he's the foundation the start of my herd."

Koben started entering in high school rodeos and eventually made his way to the Professional Bull Riders Touring Pro Division.

"I was feeling pretty close to making the cut list of getting to be on tour. I was doing what I was supposed to do, and what I loved to do and I was doing well at it," Koben says. 

The beginning of Koben's fall 2008 bull riding career would change his life.

"It happened September 6th of 2008. I wanted to be riding bulls and unfortunately, circumstances changed the direction in my life after having a spinal cord injury," explains Koben.

Koben sustained a fall near the 8-second mark of his ride breaking his neck, fracturing his lower back, puncturing a lung and breaking his ribs.

Vana Puckett, Koben's mom says, "We never dreamed in our wildest dreams that he would sustain such a traumatic injury and really robs him of life."

Koben's bull riding career came to and end, but it was the beginning of a new chapter in this cowboy's life.

Dan says, "You know he's my best friend and I guess that's what you do for your kids. You lay down your life for them. You give them the best opportunity to recover as possible."

Koben's ride to recovery has been a long one-- spending time at Project Walk, an extensive therapy and exercise program in California and Austin.

Vana says, "Several moms in California started their own non-profit foundations to raise funds to help others to get to Project Walk, and so we found out how to do that and we started up our own non-profit foundation in 2012."

The goal of the Press On Foundation is to give people with spinal cord injuries a chance at recovery,and a chance for Koben to pursue another dream.

Koben says, "I've always dreamed of doing is putting on a production and an event with ranch bronc riding and bull riding in it."

The Koben Puckett Invitational Ranch Bronc and Bull Riding Challenge is a way for the Press On Foundation to fund its scholarships. Some of the top cowboys in the world like Professional Bull Riders, Kasey Hayes and Jordan Hupp, and Working Ranch Cowboys Association Bronc Riding Champion, Garret Maness, will be riding at the event. These guys are also long-time friends of Koben's.

Koben says, "I have a dream and a goal and it's been instilled in me for a long time. I want to help others along the way." 

The Koben Puckett Invitational Ranch Bronc and Bull Riding Challenge is Friday, June 20th. It starts with a barbeque, silent auction and live music at 4 p.m.  The bull and bronc riding event starts at 7:30 p.m. A portion of the ticket sales and all the funds raised at the silent auction and barbeque benefit the Press On Foundation. Koben's going to award 5 individuals with scholarships to attend Project Walk.

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