A teen from North Carolina is dead after the bull he had been riding in a local rodeo stomped on his chest.
Around 8 p.m. on Saturday evening, 14-year-old Denim Bradshaw was participating in a winter series event sponsored by the Rafter K Rodeo Company in King, North Carolina, about 15 miles north of Winston-Salem. His fatal ride lasted only a few seconds. According to reports, the bull Denim had been riding bucked twice before knocking the boy to the ground. The bull then stomped on the boy's chest, causing him to go into cardiac arrest.
EMTs who were reportedly at the scene at the time of the incident immediately began attempting life saving measures until first responders arrived and transported Denim to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. He died later that night.
Veteran bull rider William Cooper, who had been in a similar situation at a previous event and who witnessed Denim's tragic ride, stated that there likely wasn't anything the boy could have done to save himself. "The way he come off too and everything, I don't know if he had time to move out of the way or not," Cooper said. "It slammed him to the ground like I was. I didn't have time to roll over or nothing. It just slammed me down to the ground hard."
Denim's mother, Shannon Bowman, shared the news of her son's death in a heartbreaking Facebook post. "Last night was the longest night of my life!!" Bowman stated. "My beautiful handsome 14 year old son had went to be with the lord! I awoke in a nightmare for the rest of my life! I hate myself for this call but he was loving every second of it I never seen him so happy as I had seen him last night before his departure.
"Denim baby you did it!! You did that!! I’m so proud of your braveness and your courage! My lil cowboy I will love and miss you so much and I know God will take care of you."
Rafter K Rodeo has also released a statement thanking first responders for their help and requesting prayers for Denim's family. "This is a tragic event and words cannot describe the pain felt by this loss. We ask everyone to come together and pray for his family for comfort and healing in this difficult time," the statement said in part.
Before they are allowed to compete, all rodeo participants, regardless of age, must sign a consent form, which acknowledges the dangers associated with the sport. Those who are minors must also have a parent sign the form and then have it notarized.
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