AUSTRALIA’S largest rodeo riders’ association says the fast-paced sport is as safe as it can be, despite the injuries sustained by a Forest Reefs bull rider recently.
John Crasti was crushed by a 680-kilogram bull in the chute at an Orange rodeo on October 27.
He suffered neck and spinal injuries and has been confined to a wheelchair at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.
“There’s only so much you can do but I think we’ve got it to a good point,” Australian Professional Rodeo Association (APRA) rodeo administrator Steve Hilton said.
“In my time [30 years] there’s only two or three blokes I’ve known that have been paralysed and put in a wheelchair and that’s everyone, not just our rodeos.”
Mr Hilton said all bulls in an APRA rodeo are vetted before taking part in the rodeo to ensure they are familiar with being in the chute and able to be ridden.
“We get rid of bulls that play up in the chute,” Mr Hilton said.
In addition, insurance is compulsory for all bull riders taking part in an APRA event.
“We just think it’s important,” Mr Hilton said.
APRA represents more than 1500 riders in up to 24,000 individual rides each year.
From this, Mr Hilton said there were an average of 20 to 25 insurance claims.
It is unknown if the Rodeo Services Association event Mr Crasti took part in insisted on insurance for its riders, as they were unavailable for comment yesterday.
A Royal North Shore Hospital spokesperson said Mr Crasti was in a stable condition awaiting a transfer to the Royal Rehabilitation Centre in Ryde.