Rodeo officials in Wyoming have released little information concerning the July 8 death of a bull rider in Saratoga — the first in the state in nearly three decades.
Jason Blasdel, 30, from Fruita, Colorado, died of internal bleeding at Memorial Hospital of Carbon County after a bull crushed him against a fence the night before during the Platte River Rodeo, Carbon County coroner Paul Zamora said.
Platte River Rodeo Committee member Terri Hinkle and Wyoming Rodeo Association President Gus Cross were at the rodeo but said they did not witness the incident. Cross said he was in the rodeo office when a commotion began near the end of the event.
Hinkle told the Star-Tribune on Saturday that the Platte River Rodeo Committee had begun conducting an internal investigation to learn if there were any institutional wrongdoings.
No information has been offered since.
Hinkle told the Star-Tribune via email that the committee would have more information after meeting Monday. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.
“When something like this happens it’s just tragic,” Hinkle said during her interview Saturday with the Star-Tribune. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
In comments Tuesday, after the rodeo committee’s meeting, Cross reiterated the dangers of bull riding.
“I’m not going to place blame on any one person,” he said. “It is rodeo and anything can happen. You’re dealing with livestock and anything can happen.”
Zamora, the county coroner, said Blasdel was bucked off during his ride and landed on his hands and knees in the dirt of Buck Springs Rodeo Arena. The bull then turned his attention to Blasdel and threw him into the fence. The bull crushed the rider against the arena’s fence several times, causing massive internal injuries.
Blasdel had been wearing the mandatory helmet and protective vest.
An ambulance on standby at the rodeo then tended to Blasdel. He was stabilized at the arena and taken to Memorial Hospital of Carbon County. He was treated overnight but subsequently succumbed to the injuries.
“The autopsy was performed to confirm the cause of death as internal injuries,” Zemora told the Star-Tribune.
Memorial services for Blasdel were Sunday. He is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 6 and 2.
Blasdel is the first known bull rider to die at a Wyoming rodeo since Lane Frost at the 1989 Cheyenne Frontier Days. Famously, Frost had been a world champion bull rider when a bull rammed its horns into his back, causing broken ribs and internal injuries.
Frost’s death was widely publicized and led to the implementation of mandatory vests for all bull riders.
Bull rider Bradie Gray suffered grave injuries at the 2017 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper. Doctors gave him a 40 percent chance of survival. Gray did recover and has since returned to bull riding.