Bull rider Bradie Gray, who was critically injured after being stomped by a bull at the College National Finals Rodeo earlier this month, is out of the intensive care unit and itching to get back on a bull.
“He still had a breathing tube in and one of the first things he wrote on the iPad was, ‘When can I get on again?’” his mother, Sharon, said Wednesday.
Gray left the ICU at Wyoming Medical Center on Wednesday morning, walking to his new room, the hospital reported on its Facebook page.
“He was determined (to walk the whole way),” said his father, Mick. “He’s been walking up and down the hallways at the ICU and the nurses have been chasing him.”
Gray got more good news Wednesday when three-time defending Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion bull rider Sage Kimzey and fellow bull rider Tyler Taylor stopped by to pay him a visit. Kimzey and Taylor were on their way to Cody to compete at the Cody Stampede Xtreme Bulls on Friday.
“I heard about it on Facebook,” Kimzey said. “And we were driving through, so we decided to come see him. He’s in a lot better shape and a lot better spirits than I thought (he would be).”
Added Taylor: “If I was in a similar situation I would want guys to stop by and see me. I’ve never even met (Gray) before, but he would do the same thing for me. I know he would.”
Gray, who graduated from Odessa College last month, suffered massive internal injuries on June 15 when a bull stepped on his chest. He suffered broken ribs, collapsed lungs and a tear in his aorta.
When he arrived at the hospital, Gray did not have a pulse. Doctors there revived him and performed surgeries to mend his injuries.
Gray was the first CNFR competitor to suffer a life-threatening injury since the event came to Casper in 1999. He was was bucked off Frontier Rodeo’s Levi the Boss. The bull then stepped on his chest. Gray was able to stand under his own power and was pulled into a bucking chute by bystanders. Medics treated him at the scene and later took him to Wyoming Medical Center.
But Gray admitted he started thinking about getting on another bull “as soon as I started feeling better.”
Neither Kimzey nor Taylor were surprised by Gray’s admission.
“Something in our bodies just keeps us coming back,” Kimzey said. “He knows that the heart of a bull rider is one where you can never be defeated. He’s got a passion and he’s going to work hard to get back. This is just an obstacle that he’s got to overcome; I know that.
“Definitely where the line of passion and crazy hits is right where every bull rider lies.”
Gray is a native of Australia and has been riding bulls and steers since he was 5 years old. He’s been a professional bull rider for two years.
“I feel pretty good,” Gray said. “It’s really great to have a world champion supporting you … it’s a really good feeling.”