BELL COUNTY, TX — The Rodeo is a cowboy's paradise, full of entertainment and adrenalin-fueled high stakes competitions.
Each event is more dangerous than the last, but nothing tops the danger of sitting on a bull when the chute opens.
”Bull riding is a very dangerous sport. Those bulls are huge, they have horns, they’re aggressive, and they’re performing. They’re doing everything they can to get that rider off of their back.” said Jay Taggart, Bell Co. Expo Center Board of Directors.
Anything can and does happen, as 18-year-old bull rider Cody Hooks found out when the bull he was riding hit him in the head with his horns, leaving him unconscious on the ground.
”The last thing I remember is taking my wrap before nodding my head and that’s about it. From what they all tell me, the bull hit his hip on the side of the bucking chute and kind of cocked me sideways. His horn hit me right behind the ear in that little knockout spot.” said Cody Hooks, 18-year-old bull rider.
With the bull raging and Hooks unconscious, his father did what he could to protect his son.
”That bull did take a swipe at him and if his dad hadn’t of been there, there’s no telling what could have happened with the horns and the weight of that bull. It could have stepped on him or anything,” said Taggart.
It was a heroic effort by a father whose son says he wasn’t surprised.
”It’s not the first time he’s done something like that as most people don’t know. He’s done it a couple of times. It's kind of funny.” said Hooks.
Like a true cowboy, Hooks has a message to all the young riders out there.
”Don’t let that stop you, it’s going to happen, be ready for it, it’s coming. One day or another, you can’t get around it. You just got to bear down through it you know. Don't let go,” said Hooks.
Cody and his dad will make full recoveries as soon as the doctor clears him. Hooks plans to get right back in the chute, for another ride.