Bulls get best of riders at Rim Rock Rodeo

Huckleberry — good for pie, bad for bull riders.

A bull named Huckleberry got the best of Wyatt Bronson at the Rim Rock Rodeo on Tuesday in Fruita.

The scariest thing in rodeo is when a bull rider gets thrown, then gets hung up.

Bronson, a 16-year-old from Mack, won the bull riding competition during the first week of the weekly rodeo series, but Tuesday was a tough night.

With Bronson’s right hand stuck in the rope, Huckleberry kept spinning. Three bull fighters jumped in to help free Bronson and distract the bull, but the bull stomped the teenager in the back and his horn slammed the left side of his head.

Getting thrown and hung up is all part of bull riding, but this was a pretty close call.

“I guess it depends on what you mean by a close call,” Bronson said with a smile. “I got stepped on in Rifle, hurt my back.”

After staying on the ground for a few minutes, he was helped from the arena and was up and walking around later, albeit with a big bag of ice on the side of his head where a bruise was already forming.

Jason Blasdel was next in the chute and he said seeing a cowboy get hurt is always a little unnerving.

“It’s in the back of your mind, but you just have to do your business,” he said.

That’s what he did. His bull, Air Freight, couldn’t air mail Blasdel and he got a score of 76 in the first go-round.

“It was a good bull, I’ve been on him quite a few times, so I knew what he was going to do,” he said.

It was a tough night all around for bull riders. Blasdel was the only rider to last eight seconds in the first go-round, and it looked like he might be the only rider to go the distance all night.

That’s when the chute flew open and Quinten Hayden battled Dark Side for the full eight seconds to score a 79 and claim the victory.

Dark Side came out flying and Hayden was off to a great ride, then the bull came to a complete stop before making one last violent buck to try and throw the Fruita cowboy.

“Every once in a while that happens and that’s something we don’t want, it costs you points,” he said about the bull coming to a stop. “It was a decent ride, I did what I could and took what I had.”

The win was the 25-year-old’s second straight at the Rim Rock Rodeo.

Bronson’s dad, Shaun, said it was scary seeing his son get hung up Tuesday night.

“You want to jump in there and help,” he said.

But that’s what the bull fighters are for.

Jon Johnson, 32, has been fighting bulls and protecting cowboys for five years.

“I just knew I had to get in there and jump on the bull and grab his tail,” he said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get a hold of his tail.”

Later in the night, Johnson was shaken up when he caught a horn as he tried to distract a bull away from a thrown rider.

Wyatt Bronson said he plans to be back next week, but Dad has other thoughts.

“I think I’ll make him take a week off,” Shaun said with a grin. “He’s under 18, so I can still tell him what to do.”


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