Twelve-Year-Old Boy Dies in Bull Riding Competition

200px-Bull-Riding2-SzmurloWhen 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.

For the full story, click here.

37 thoughts on “Twelve-Year-Old Boy Dies in Bull Riding Competition”

  1. This so gay! Yes stuff like that happens. but I get hurt more doing simple stuff like walking out the door than stuff like jumping off the top of 20 foot bleachers.

  2. I am deeply sorry for the loss of this young bull rider. My 9 year old started riding steers and then moved up to pee-wee bulls after years of competing in various gymkhanas on his horse. This “sport” is not a hobby or an ego booster, this is my son’s identity and this is his way of life. This is who he is. Some of the previous comments paint a picture of a terrified kid being forced onto a full size bull with their macho parents tying their rope and kicking them out of the chute screaming and crying. That’s just not how it works folks! I’ve yet to meet a parent that isn’t terrified when their son gets in the chute and I’ve yet to see a kid nod to open the chute that didn’t want to. Sure there is fear… fear is what drives these kids to make a good ride! This is not gross negligence. Gross negligence is letting a child ride in a car without a seat belt or leaving a loaded firearm on the coffee table. These young bull riders wear professional protective gear as required by the various associations and have at least 2 or 3 bull fighters/clowns in the arena with them. This is an extremely RARE tragedy. Say or think what you want but bubble wrapping kids won’t protect them from life. In my opinion, condemning his parents for supporting him is shameful.

    I pray Wayde’s family can find some peace in the aftermath of this tragedy.

  3. i think this is horrible how can you comment so rudley to a loss of a child
    its not the parents fault! im 13 and i hope to be riding by this summer! if the child truley didnt want to the child wouldnt have besides most parents are terrified of the fact but need to realize if you dont let them try things as soon as possible then the child will want it more and more to the point were they do it neway without protection need from things the parents could provide and possibly and more than likely die anyway! you people need to realize as complex as kids today r we r more likely to be rebelious, use reverse phycology on us! if you dont want us to do sumthing becuz its dangerous, give us a chance get us right up at it, chances r we will chicken out last minute and ull get wat you want
    but if you dont let us try things and give us some freedom chances r our fear will be blinded with rage and adreniline and we will do things without thinking


    i feel terrible for the loss and i am very sorry
    you people should be ashamed of yourselves for these comments, i hope you ALL r influenced by this messeges now i have to go and workout, i have alot of muscle to build before i ride

  4. Mike A., your father placed “you” on the back of a brahma bull at the age of 11! I have heard of some outrageous examples of poor parenting, but this is in the “upper bracket” of parental misconduct!

  5. To Jennifer Botell:

    I am sorry for the loss of your son. I lost my son last November 9th. It is also is sisters birthday and my deceased Mother in Laws Birthday as well. As far a MIL’s she was the best anyone could ask for.

    You will find that a lot of people do not know what to say but feel compelled to say something, for some reason or another. What I have learned is take what you can and leave the rest. I cannot imagine the pain that you have nor can you mine. At least you were doing something constructive with your child or your child was doing something that he enjoyed. Think about that, so many parents get so busy doing what it is that they deem important that they forget the value of the children until they lose one.

    I guess priorities shift once that loss occurs.

  6. To the family,
    I am sorry for the loss of your son. I lost my son, Tommy Botell, on July 29th while on a hiking trip. I know everyone will say not to pay attention to the comments, but I know from first hand expereince it is hard not to. I became fixated on reading them and was so hurt by many of them. I pray that you will find comfort in friends and family and that your heart will not be further hurt by inconsiderate comments….you have suffered the worst possible loss and it will be a dark shadow that you will have forever.
    From another grieving mother,

  7. And in response to the comment about “padding the parents pocket”…..please read on……

    Oh and I forgot to mention, this is not a “cheap” sport! It costs everytime Cody rides,usually $14-45 for his entry fees).

    The protective gear:
    Helmet $150
    Vest $250
    Gear bag ($50-75)
    Rope ($180)
    Bell ($35)
    Rosin bags ($20 per bag)
    Mouth piece ($10)
    A couple pair of boots, ($160 per pair)
    Spurs ($50 per pair)
    Wrangler jeans ($25 per pair gotta be Wrangler for him!)
    Western shirts,($20-25 each)
    Gloves ($35 per pair which he is on his 3rd pair now!)
    Membership dues,(varies from location to location usually $50-100)
    Chaps ($200-300
    Cowboy hat ($50-150)
    Ads/banners for the programs for the rodeos at the end of the year ($25-160)

    Padding OUR pockets?? I don’t think so! Cody received his first points check for bullriding, it was $14.00….you can do the math…..$14.00 vs what we pay out……I wish OUR pockets WERE padded….just like with any sport….football, baseball, cheerleading….it costs alot….

  8. My heart goes out to this family. My 13 year old son decided about a little over a year ago that after 8 years he wanted to put his baseball bat and glove away and try riding bulls. Needless to say, it scared me to death! And still does, I have been seen by many at the rodeos snapping pics with one hand while the other one hides my eyes so that I can not see my son (or the other boys) if/when they are bucked off. My son has been stomped on, had a broken arm, and bruises like you wouldn’t believe. A month or so ago, he was bucked off and stomped on bad enough that the guys at the rodeo said he needed to go to the hospital to be checked to make sure his spleen was not injured, so off we went. While enroute, I texted our Pastor and other friends and family, and asked that they pray for Cody. They did xrays, blood work and a urine test, then the DR told us he had blood in his urine and would need an MRI to determine any organ damage. They did the MRI. While waiting, we, along with others were praying that there would be no organ damage. The xrays showed nothing broken, blood work came back good. The DR came in shaking his head, when I asked what was wrong, he said, “Nothing, nothing at all….I just dont understand it…this young man was stomped like that and he has no broken bones, and no organ damage”….I just smiled at him and said, “oh I understand why….God protected him, just like he always does”….the DR looked at Cody and said “you are a tough little boy”…Cody just smiled and said, “Yes sir, thats why I ride bulls”…because he loves riding those bulls! Our family just returned from Louisana attending a Bullriding/Bullfighting school that PBR guys, Chris Shivers, Mike White and Shorty Gorham instructed these young men for 3 days of the “how to ride” and “how to protect the riders when you fight the bulls”. The last 3 days were very interesting, and my son came home with ALOT of knowledge, and so did we. The steers and bulls they had there are “VERY RANKED”…meaning they are BAD TO THE BONE! My son rode 10 bulls in 3 days, and was his little boney legs were stomped several times a day, he has the bruises to prove it. Cody weighs about 85 lbs soaking wet, we are talking about 800-1200 lbs bulls he rides……I have begged him to take up something like…….golf! He just laughs at me and says, “Mom this is what I want to do, please don’t make me do something I don’t want to do”… there you go, “don’t do something I don’t want to do”…when he said that to me, I thought why MAKE him play golf when his heart is not in it….just like the reader who said, their father signed them up to ride bulls and they were scared to death, the kid didnt ask to do it and didn’t want to do it, the parents wanted him too…..don’t get me wrong, I do not want Cody riding these bulls, BUT, he wants too and we have to support him. His father passed away 2 years ago and his stepdad goes with him to every rodeo, sometimes I can not go due to a conflict, but I always try to be there too. I have only missed a couple. We, as a family usually are there for him. Me, his stepdad and his two sisters. His bestfriend rides too and his family is usually there also. This sport is a very Christian organization….and they pray before every rodeo for safety for the riders and the livestock. Cody’s motto is “Ridin on Faith”… do I as his Mom handle seeing my 13 year old son climb on that big bull in the chute? I pray alot………God Bless all these kids that have the passion in their heart to ride bulls. This IS the “Toughest Sport on Dirt”…and the most dangerous. But we have to be there and support our kids…if we don’t they will be in the streets getting in trouble….so support them in whatever they decide to try, although it might just be once or twice, or it might be a career… them, support them and pray for them. God Bless you all! DeLisa Brown – Locust Grove, Ga

  9. I find it interesting that you have judged Wayde’s parents. This is something that he wanted to do and they supported him. Rodeoing was not for their egos or pocketbooks. Believe me, his parents knew the risks. He could have been shot by one of his classmates at school, hit riding his bicycle, or died in a plane crash what’s the difference. Even though as tragic as it is, Wayde died doing something he loved doing!

  10. mespo, needless to say, I wasn’t watching the clock. I’d say I was airborne within 2 seconds of leaving the chute, a record of ignominy that probably still stands. In retrospect, the spurs were probably a mistake.

  11. I’d like to see some statistics comparing it to sports where we know that multiple catastrophic injuries occur. The venom I’ve heard over this incident (not necessarily here) seems out of balance for a single fatality. I’ve yet to hear calls for bans on cheerleading. “Little league” parents unfortunately exist in all activities.

    I have yet to speak with a gun enthusiast who thinks that the child killed with the micro-Uzi was anything but grotesque negligence. A fully automatic weapon of that size is tricky for an adult, that both the parent and the event organizers allowed it was astonishing.

  12. I guess you could argue that this is an ultra-hazardous activity, which is I think what Prof. Turley said. With an adult there is an assumption of the risk, but here we’re talking about a minor. I agree that most of these types of events (as well as child beauty pageants) are for the parents’ ego/satisfaction.

  13. Mike A., -Great story!

    I can’t believe that they permit tweens to participate in this kind of sport. (One where your opponent has a desire, and the ability, to mame or kill you.)

  14. Mike A,

    What a story. I felt your sincerity in writing that. I was too chicken, couldn’t make me do it. The best I did was ride the oil barrel tied to 4 ropes, saddled if you don’t mind.

    The bravest or one of the stupidest things done as a kid was walking the 2X4, from the middle rafter of the barn to the horse shed/paddock. This was over the muddy part of the pen. It is amazing that none of us ever got hurt. Well maybe we did, I am just not aware, you figure after 40 years they’d let me take the sponge hat off. Only kidding.

  15. I have some mixed feelings about this story. To rodeo afficionados there is no difference between a 12 year old participating in bull riding and playing Little League baseball. When I was 11, my father came home from work one day and announced that he had signed me up for the junior bull riding competition at the Otero County (New Mexico) Fair. I have to admit that I felt like quite a cowboy stud walking around the rodeo grounds wearing spurs and a number pinned to the back of my shirt. That swagger melted away instantly as soon as I was lowered onto the back of what to me appeared to be the largest Brahman bull in the history of the world. As the rope was wrapped around my hands to secure them to the bull’s back, I remember thinking that I would not be able to pull my hands out and would remain indefinitely tethered to this wild animal. I was terrified. The chute gate was opened and the bull lurched forward, grazing my knee against the side of the gate on the way out. My next recollection is of literally flying through the air and landing flat on my back. The rodeo clowns were there instantly and helped me to my feet. Then I heard the announcer say, “Let’s give that cowboy a big hand!” My swagger returned briefly as I walked out of the arena to the applause, having set a new record for the shortest bull ride. I was supposed to ride the next day as well, but when I reached the chute, my panic returned and I withdrew. My mother was relieved, and I think my father probably was as well. I did receive a dollar for my efforts, however, which was accurately described as “ground pay.” So ended my brief and inauspicious career in the rodeo. Although I don’t regret the experience, I quite happily repaired to the baseball diamond after that.

  16. I suspect no pre-incident waiver would be enforced on public policy grounds. This is organized reckless conduct in the context of young bull riders who have no capacity to consent to the foolishness of their parents. I find these cases are rarely brought since the parents feel justifiably guilty over the tragedy, and don’t want their own judgment to come under the scrutiny of the jury.

  17. The mentality of these parents is no different than that of parents who push their kids into being the best soccer or baseball player. It is an ingrained mentality. The children at this age do not want to disappoint the parents, so they will do it.

    If you really stop and think about it, this is not much different than teaching a reluctant child to swim. They have to trust someone, even if that someone is themselves.

  18. I fall on the side that says an 8 year old should not be riding wild, dangerous animals who are not trained for riders. The whole idea of this “sport” is for the animal to wildly shake the rider off. I also have a problem with the motorbike racing that children are allowed to do even though they are not even close to being of the requisite age to drive. The same is true for snowmobile riding and boat riding. How can a child not of the legal age to drive a car, be allowed to drive motor vehicles that can go as fast as a car and sometimes in even more dangerous conditions. Sad situation for the family of this 8 year old, but I consider it tantamount to child abuse to allow a child to participate in this dangerous activity.

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