New South Wales bull rider Bradie Gray is in a Wyoming hospital after suffering horrific injuries:
Wrecks happen in rodeo. Injury is part of the sport. The excitement of each 8-second interval can’t happen without an accompanying danger. It’s a trade-off that never goes away, but can be sometimes forgotten.
The rodeo community got a jarring reminder of that Thursday night when Odessa College junior Bradie Gray was stepped on by a bull at the College National Finals Rodeo, leaving him in critical condition.
“That was pretty hard to watch,” said steer wrestler Kodie Jang, who, like Gray, hails from Australia.
Gray was left without a pulse, according to Odessa College rodeo coach C.J. Aragon. It was the first life-threatening injury to occur at the CNFR since it moved to Casper in 1999.
Fellow competitor Aaron Williams was realistic about the danger involved in riding bulls:
“It’s not if you’re going to get hurt riding bulls,” said Williams, who was bucked. “It’s when and how bad. So we all kind of know it’s going to happen and it can happen. We just don’t want it to. If you let it bother you, it’s going to bother you, then it’s going to bother you, but it’s one of those deals where you’ve got to accept it and just go on with it.”
Williams knows something about wrecks himself. In 2014, he was stomped by a bull and left with a shattered femur.
“I don’t recall my own injuries,” Williams said. “I put stuff like that out of my head.”
Getting trampled is an obvious danger but a rider can be seriously injured while mounted, as champion rider Tuff Hedeman discovered while riding Bodacious, “the world’s most dangerous” bull:
Here’s hoping Gray recovers, as did Hedeman, and continues riding bulls.