Cleveland organization arranges special weekend for 8-year-old aspiring game warden

Gabe Pope, 8, shakes hands with retired Texas Game Warden Mike Boone at a Dolen ranch on Saturday. Pope aspires to be a game warden like Boone, his childhood hero.

There is an old adage that says, “You should never meet your heroes because they might disappoint you,” but that wasn’t the case on Saturday when 8-year-old Gabe Pope met his hero – retired Texas Game Warden Mike Boone, who has appeared on numerous episodes of the Animal Planet series called “Lone Star Law.”

The show follows the lives of the men and women of the Texas game wardens as they encounter poachers, rescue wildlife and break up illegal activity. The meeting between Pope and Boone was organized by Liberty County, Texas-based Dirt Nap Affliction, a collection of outdoor enthusiasts committed to sharing their love of hunting, fishing, camping and communing with nature.

JD Dudley of Cleveland, one of the founders of Dirt Nap Affliction, helped to organize the meeting between Pope and Boone after randomly being sent a photo of Pope dressed up as a Texas game warden for Halloween. Last weekend, they surprised Pope and his parents, Ash and Jen Pope of League City, who were in on the surprise, by inviting the boy to a hog hunt on a farm near Dolen.

Gabe Pope and his parents, Ash and Jen Pope, of League City, are pictured with retired Texas Game Warden Mike Boone (right).

The next day, under the guise of filming his experiences of the hog hunt, they surprised him with a visit from Boone, a Hardin County game warden who has since retired. Though slightly star-struck, Pope chatted with Boone and shook his hand before being given a special pin by Boone for his shirt.

Pope said he has been watching Boone on Lone Star Law for the last couple of years and now wants to be a game warden when he grows up.

When asked what he likes about the job, Pope said, “They help the wildlife.”

The event on Saturday also included a concert with country singer Jason Allen.

Gabe Pope, 8, was given a special pin by retired Texas Game Warden Mike Boone.

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