Sui Gordon, one of the cast of the hit television show “Pit Bulls and Parolees,” has had to get used to being in the public eye in a way he wasn’t used to until recently.
Despite starring in one of Animal Planet’s top-rated television shows viewed by millions of loyal fans each week, Gordon was still a bit new to making live public appearances until earlier this year when he teamed up with Houston concert promoter and radio personality John Janatsch for a concert benefiting abused animals in Houston.
That seed planted by that appearance has now grown into a full-fledged campaign of personal appearances at fundraisers and motivational talks to young people about staying out of trouble. Gordon, one of the show’s ‘parolees,’ said he started getting into trouble at a young age. Ultimately, Gordon landed in jail — something that separated him from his mother for four years.
Gordon credits Tia Torres, founder of the Villalobos Rescue Center and star of “Pit Bulls and Parolees” with helping him turn his life around… and reunite with his mother on one of the show’s most-beloved episodes.
“I’ve learned so much and it’s just great that I can share that with people,” Gordon said. “The dogs are the dogs and the show is the show, but inside, I’ve learned how to be a lot more responsible. The things that Ms. Tia has taught me — it’s not really a program, but I call it a program — I’ve learned so much.”
Gordon also credits the dogs, that oft-maligned Pit Bull breed, with adding real meaning and motivation to his life.
“When you deal with the dogs, they teach you about behavior, and what you learn, you can even apply to how you relate to people,” Gordon explained. “When I approach people now, I can see if they’re shy or if they’re comfortable.”
During his first appearance in Houston in January, Gordon was invited to visit a rescue center in Tomball. That opened up a chance to do a radio interview, which spawned the idea to make more visits to rescue centers and lend a hand with fundraising efforts.
“It’s great, because we can feed more dogs now. All I really have to do is show up. They’re putting these things together. All of that started with the very first one here in Houston. We’ve done them in Dallas now, and then the Boy Scouts found out about it and wanted to raise money for the rescue centers,” he explained.
Gordon also appeared at a Houston-area elementary school in March to talk about his own life experiences in hopes of convincing youngsters to find something positive in life rather than becoming involved in activities that might lead them down a bad path.
“This isn’t the end of it. It’s just the beginning. Some of the others from the show are starting to get into speaking. It’s a great way for us to help others,” said Gordon.
In May, Gordon will return to the Houston area for another concert-benefit, this time featuring Shinedown guitarist Zach Myers, who will perform an acoustic set of his favorite songs including covers and originals. That show will be at the 18th Street Pier Bar and Grill in San Leon on Friday, May 8.
From there, Gordon and Myers will head back to the Louisiana base of the television show, where Myers will perform a benefit concert with guests NoMara, a rock band featuring ex-Evanescence guitarist John LeCompt. That show will be Sunday night, May 10, at Tahyo Tavern in Chalmette, Louisiana — just east of downtown New Orleans.
Tahyo Tavern is operated by Tia Torres and family as an additional way of raising funds for the Villalobos Rescue Center and its various programs to help animals.
“I don’t think there’s another bar operates to support a non-profit,” Gordon said.
A “Pit Bulls and Parolees” film crew will be at Tahyo Tavern for the May 10 concert and benefit, filming for an upcoming episode.
Just renewed for a seventh season by Discovery Communications, parent company of Animal Planet, “Pit Bulls and Parolees” is set to debut a seventh season this fall, featuring more of Gordon’s exploits as well as footage filmed at the Sunday, May 10 benefit.
Go To a Benefit Show:
Friday, May 8
Sui’s Birthday Bash, featuring Zach Myers of Shinedown with J.R Moore and Zack Mack
18th Street Pier Bar & Grill
101 18th Street
San Leon, TX 77539
Get Tickets: http://www.ticketor.com/ticketplanet/tickets/sui-of-pitbulls-and-parolees-birthday-bash-2236#buy
Sunday, May 10
Zach Myers — A Night Like This Tour — with J.R. Moore and Zack Mack
and special guests NoMara, featuring John LeCompt (fmr. Evanescence guitarist)
2029 Paris Rd
Chalmette, LA 70043
Get Tickets: http://www.ticketor.com/zachmyers/upcomingevents?PageId=5181