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Nine-thousand five-hundred in attendance with an expected sell-out tomorrow afternoon. From the crow’s nest I could hear wild cackles and beer-fueled banter across the earthen arena. Primal yells issued from the grandstands along with howls from the bucking chutes as the cowboy cheered on their fellow riders. The smell of blood must have been in the air – the outlaw stock were not to be trifled with. As it turns out, today’s livestock has been determined to be the most vicious so far; it’s no wonder that the day’s roster was marked to hell with turn-outs. I hadn’t given it much thought, but I suppose it makes sense. These guys have to take into account future events before making the hard decision to risk life and limb – mostly limb. An early injury can put a competitor out for the whole season, not just one rodeo.
Of thirteen bareback bronc riders slated to perform, only nine took the plunge. Of the fourteen saddle-bronc riders, only seven saddled up.
Today was a day for the bulls. Literally.
Of more than a dozen rides, only seven boys made the eight seconds. And with two injuries to report, it could have been a better day for the bipeds.
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Marcus Michaelis of Caldwell, Idaho had a run of sorry luck today. Not only was he thrown headlong from a sizable piece of beef named Danny Boy, but the 33-year-old southpaw was stepped on, then nearly railroaded, as the bull-fighters (rodeo clowns) tried to steer the bull toward the pen on the north end of the arena. Most of these guys wear helmets for a reason – today it likely saved Marcus’ life. Danny Boy’s hind leg came down with crushing force on Marcus’ head before stepping on his sternum; he’s lucky the impact didn’t stop his heart.
After lying motionless in the dirt for several moments, the announcers up in the booth were able to see that he was conscious and talking. Paramedics helped him to his feet and he left the arena upright.
According to Rick Foster of Justin Sports Medicine, Michaelis has a concussion but no indication of any neurological problems. With a few minor cuts and some monster bruises, he’s expected to be just fine, although he’ll be sore as hell come sunrise tomorrow. While putting his boots on in the trailer, Marcus was heard saying, “I guess I’ll just have to tough it out.”
Ye gods. That’s a healthy attitude after being nearly trampled to death.