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Injured rider getting back on the bull [UPDATED]

Published 5:03am Monday, July 1, 2013 Updated 7:11am Monday, July 1, 2013

When you’re bucked off, you have to get back on the horse, as the old saying goes. Coy Thorson knows how true that is more than most, though, in his case, a bull would be more fitting.

Coy, a sophomore at Underwood high school, was competing at a rodeo in St. Peter on June 1 when he was thrown off during a bull riding event. What is usually a normal occurrence suddenly turned violent.

“I dropped over the front and was out for like a minute and a half,” Coy said.

Coy said he and his parents believe the bull turned its head sideways as he was thrown. The bull’s horn came between the small space between his helmet and facemask and caught Coy in the face.

Coy tried to stand up, but he knew instantly that his jaw was broken. He had an open fracture and a broken jaw. The situation became serious because of the bleeding and swelling and he was taken immediately to the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. After surgery, Coy needed a metal plate and four screws to fix the injury.

“I was really grateful that it wasn’t a head injury,” said Coy’s mother, Kelly. “It’s bone and it will heal.”

Coy is a decorated rider and has competed on the Minnesota national team since he was in sixth grade. He was the season leader in bull riding and saddle bronc riding heading into the state finals, but was unable to compete, losing his chance at the championship and a spot on the national team.

“A week later he wanted to tape his jaw up and ride at the state finals,” Kelly said. “It was really hard to see him in pain, but also really hard to watch him not succeed. You shouldn’t feel like it’s a loss, but as far as Coy goes, I know it was hard to just watch.”

The youngest of four children all born into riding, the rodeo has been a home away from home for Coy since he was little. Years of rodeos have prepared the young rider for the determination to ride again.

“Having had our kids ride, if they’ve fallen or been bucked off, we’ve dusted them off,” Kelly said. “We’ve always been supportive as long as they want to do it.”

“I just ride the way I know I can ride,” Coy said. “It’s mainly a head game. If you know you can do it you can do it … I’ll come back and start riding again. Hopefully stay healthy so I can.”

Coy is counting the days until that happens, which should be in time for the next season. Despite the injury, he was awarded three $500 scholarships in rough stock events, saddle bronc, bareback riding and bull riding during the state finals. High School Rodeo usually picks a different cowboy for each event, but Coy’s ability earned him all three.

Coy is determined to improve on an already stellar career. Living a fearless life when it comes to riding, his determination doesn’t surprise his mother at all.

“When he was really little and we were at rodeos, every time we couldn’t find Coy we knew he was at the bull pen,” Kelly said with a laugh. “Even way back then I was thinking, well, I’ll have to accept this situation.”

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