April 15, 2022 (Carbon, TX)
If you have ever given Tom Gipson “4”, you know what a special person we all lost on April 13, 2022.
Tom was so many things to so many people, that he seemed larger than life, and the wonderful thing about him, is that he really was. His wide range of knowledge cannot be summed up by just talking about “the oil field”, “rodeo” or even “he was an inventor”. He rolled all of those things up into one big ball, and his mind sorted it out to be brilliantly unique. With approximately 20 patents under his belt, he knew how to make things work uniquely and well.
After completing the 10th grade, Tom joined the Wheat Harvest, and soon after joined the US Military. “Do you want to know what I did in the Air Force?” Tom would ask. Immediately after, he would answer, “I drove a truck.”
After his time serving, he went to work as a rough neck in Illinois. Riding the waves of the oil field, Tom built a successful career with Calvert Drilling, and eventually became President of Calvert Western. After 35 years at Calvert, Tom endeavored his own path in the Oil Industry and started his first company. During this time, he began inventing new ways to drill with coiled tubing, which led to 16 US Patents.
Tom’s success in the oil field allowed him to pursue his life long interest in horses, and he learned to rope.
Rodeo became Tom’s passion, steer roping in particular. As evidence of his grit, strength and determination, in 2007 at age 76 Tom was given the title as the oldest man to win PRCA money at the Historic Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo.
As previously discussed, Tom was an avid steer roping contestant and rodeo supporter. What not many people know is the origin story of his greatest invention to hit the Team Roping world – the Chute Help Fully Automatic Roping Chute. Unhappy with the years of operating cattle equipment available at the time, he felt that there could be some thing more. One evening while winding a family heirloom, Tom was inspired by the way Rolex utilized a rocking mechanism to do so. He put that thought to use and the eventual power source of the Fully Automatic Chute Help Chute was born. It became evident that he had something worth pursuing.
After that patent was approved in 2011, with 23 claims in the US and Canada, Tom decided to start a company to sell his brilliant product with his 24 year old Grandson, Austin Laramore.
After years in the making, and just months before Tom’s passing, a new patent was applied for to be approved for a Fully Hydraulic Cattle Chute that does not require an electrical hook up.
Carol, Tom’s beloved wife, and Austin, President of Chute Help, will continue on with the vision that they share with Tom – to produce the best, most innovative and safest equipment in the livestock and equine industry. The family legacy does not end here, but continues to honor the strength of their relationship as family and business partners.
Other surviving family members are his daughter and her spouse, Nickey McKay, step daughter and her spouse, Toni Karre and step son and his spouse, Scott Laramore. He is also survived by grandchildren and their families, Tucker McKay, Sooner McKay, Colter McKay, Amanda Watkins, Chris Gipson, Sam Gipson, Milee Karre, Dakotah Karre, Kane Laramore and Taylor Ribble.
A Celebration of Life will be held on June 16 at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Event Center. To attend, please visit chutehelp.com/tom to RSVP.
Donations can be made in Tom Gipson’s honor to austism.org
Written by Austin and Katherine Laramore