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I grew up around cattle and horses my whole life. My sister was a barrel racer, so I used to go to rodeos all the time. I’d have to watch her at rodeos and she had to come watch me play baseball, because my dad would never let me ride bulls. After graduating high school and moving away, I thought, “Well, I can do what I want.” So I started riding bulls. I found out I was decent at it and made some money. I loved it.
My mom was okay with it. My dad was not. My dad was a great man, and supported me through everything, but over five years he didn’t come to watch me ride. The last time I rode, I begged my dad to come and my mom gave him grief about it, so he showed up. Unfortunately, what happened was the guy opening the chute tripped, his momentum took the chute gate, slammed it, and it came back and caught my leg and flipped me underneath the bull. The bull came down on top of me, busted my ribs and punctured my kidneys. It was bad. My dad was there to see it and I felt terrible.
He decided he was going to support me, whether he wanted to or not.
I asked my dad later on in the hospital, “Why did you decide to come?” And he said, “Well, I used to race dragsters. Your grandfather was a great man, but he never watched me race. Not even on TV.” That hurt my dad, and he decided he was going to support me whether he wanted to or not.
At the time, my first child was on the way. And back then, if you get hurt and don't work, you don't get paid. So, after that conversation, my dad just looked at me and said, “You have a child now. You need to grow up. Time to be a man.” A lot of my friends were in rodeo. Rodeo was everything to them and they abandoned their families. That wasn’t me. That's how I got into construction.
After hanging up his rodeo spurs, Drew got his riding fix on horseback, working with his wife and five children to help drive cattle at his in-laws’ ranch in Arizona — one of the largest in the state. The Suffolk family was stunned and saddened when Drew, who worked in operations at the company for more than 25 years, died in March 2023. His leadership, authenticity, patience and friendship left a lasting impact on all of us.
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