A 12-year-old Colorado bullrider was killed Sunday when he was thrown from his mount and trampled, rupturing his heart's left ventricle. That's awful enough. Then everyone sprinted through all five stages of grief and headed straight for damage control.
Vanessa Miller of the Boulder Daily Camera reports:
Richard Wayde Hamar, of Yuma, was riding a bull in the Little Britches competition about 11 a.m. when the bull threw him off and trampled his chest and stomach, according to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office. Wayde was wearing a helmet and vest, said his mother, Angie Hamar, who was watching the event with her husband, Mitch Hamar, and their younger son, Zach.
I don't presume to tell anyone how to mourn, least of all a dead child's mother, but the immediate response was frankly bizarre. People were in an awful hurry to absolve themselves and the sport.
"It was nobody's fault," Angie Hamar said. "It could have happened on a horse as easily as it did riding his bull."
"That's what that kid lived to do," his mother said.
Despite Sunday's tragic accident, Hamar said, she wouldn't have done anything different.
"You can't keep your kids locked up in a closet," she said. "There are some kids who take motocross racing, and we take our kids rodeo riding."
"We just want to make sure nothing negative is said about the sport of rodeo or bull riding," Hamar said. "Accidents happen all the time."
Everyone, in fact, seemed preemptively defensive:
Joe LaFollette, manager of the Boulder County Fairgrounds, said Wayde was wearing a helmet and a vest that provided some protection from the full-grown, 2,000-pound bull that sheriff's officers said Wayde was riding. But, LaFollette said, some accidents are unavoidable.
"There was not a lot any vest could really do," he said.
LaFollette said his staff spent Monday reviewing the accident and making sure everyone followed protocol.
"Everyone did their job accordingly," he said. "I don't know what else a person could have done, really."
Paramedics were by Wayde's side in seconds, LaFollette said.
"You could have the National Guard standing by, and things like this still will happen," he said.
As the Denver Post notes, Hamar was at least the fourth young rodeo participant to die since 2005. I know we supposedly live in a savagely litigious society and all that, but doesn't it seem more than passing strange for everyone to start talking like depositions before the kid's body is even cold?