OKEECHOBEE — The risks taken by cowboys hit home Saturday when a bronc rider was knocked unconscious in the arena during the Pete Clemons Ranch Rodeo.
The ranch rodeo was held in honor of the National Day of the Cowboy at the Okeechobee Cattlemen’s Rodeo Arena on U.S. 441 North. Ranch rodeo events in a ranch rodeo are based on the skills cowboys use in their daily work.
Dylan Sherman, with Lykes Bros., was the last contestant to compete in the bronc riding. He stayed on the bronc for an explosive 8-second ride. As mounted pickup men rode in to help him off the horse after the successful ride, the bronc continued to buck. The cowboy was airborne, landing flat on his back in the arena.
The crowd cheered for the successful ride, which scored 78 out of a possible 100 points. But the cheers turned to hushed whispers when the cowboy remained motionless on the ground.
Cowboys within the arena rushed to the injured man. Some stood guard to prevent him from being trampled by the bronc until the pickup men could get the wild horse out of the arena. Others knelt at his side, patting his arm and urging him to wake up. More cowboys poured into the arena from the stands, gathering around him in a protective circle, some fanning him with their wide brimmed hats.
The announcer called paramedics to the arena, and then asked the audience to pray for the fallen cowboy.
As the paramedics checked the cowboy for injuries, his eyes fluttered open, inspiring cheers from the cowboys around him. A few moments later, with the help of his friends, the rider stood up to accept applause from the stands.