When researchers recently found that cheerleading is the most dangerous sport, they probably did not consider bull riding. The accident happened around 11:20 a.m at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. Richard Wayde Hamar, 12, of Yuma died in the junior bull riding competition held in Boulder County Fairgrounds this week while riding a bull.
The children have to stay on the bull for six second and Richard was thrown off after a couple of seconds. The rear legs of the bull then came down on his lower abdomen. He was wearing a protective vest but the bull hit Richard just below it. He died at the hospital.
The National Little Britches Rodeo Association is based out of Colorado Springs and holds more than 275 junior rodeos across the United States, including the national championship in Pueblo. Little Britches are aged between 8 and 18 years old.
The accident is likely to raise questions over the safety of putting eight-year-olds on a bucking bull. The organizers insist, however, that the safety rate is quite good for their sport. Sgt. Mike Dimond of the sheriff’s office said that accidents are rare but always a concern: “It could happen any time. I’m just surprised it doesn’t.”
The rodeo clowns were too far away and the accident occurred too fast for them to act to separate the bull from the boy. Most of these competitions have extensive waivers, but such waivers may not protect against reckless or gross negligent conduct. The problem with a lawsuit is that such a fatality can occur without gross negligence. The question is whether, even when rodeo clowns and staff are acting reasonably, the sport is still too dangerous of kids as young as eight. The competition tries to select animals that are age appropriate, but these are still huge animals.
Recently, a gun organization faced the same question when a child shot himself in the head with an Uzi, leading to criminal charges. There is clearly no criminal allegations likely here, but there may be some questions of unacceptable risk for children.
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