The Saratoga Sun -

Fatality at rodeo

Jason Blasdel dies in bull riding event


Eight seconds may not seem like a long time, but spend those eight seconds on top of a massive animal that is mostly muscle and weighs nearly a ton and those eight seconds can turn into an eternity. Unfortunately, apart from all the excitement that surrounds bull riding, there is no small amount of tragedy.

Rodeo and bull riding have been a part of world history for centuries. Elements of bull riding can trace their origins to the Minoans while much of what we know today as rodeo in the American West borrowed greatly from Mexican culture. While informal rodeos were held between neighboring ranches, the first formal rodeo began in Deer Trail, Colo. in 1869 or in Cheyenne, Wyo. in 1872 depending on who you ask.

Bull riding has often been considered one of the most dangerous sports in the world. On average, bulls weigh between 1,000 to 2,000 pounds. According to a 2015 article from Colorado Public Radio, however, breeding programs for those used in the bull riding events are producing far more muscular bulls than their predecessors. Between 1989 and 2009, according to the New Yorker, 28 riders suffered what were described as “life-changing” injuries while 16 riders died during that same time.

Arguably one of the deaths that had the most lasting effect on bull riding was that of Lane Frost. Frost, who was born in Colorado, lost his life in 1989 in Cheyenne during Cheyenne Frontier Days. After Frost’s death, the bull riding sport underwent a major change when vests became required for all riders. Despite these new precautions, it is estimated that, on average, the sport sees approximately one to two deaths per year.

On July 7, another Colorado-born bull rider lost his life in Wyoming. Jason Blasdel, who was from Fruita, Colo. was participating in the second night of the Platte River Rodeo Association (PRRA) Rodeo when he was killed by the bull he had been riding.

“His helmet had a huge dent in it, the bars on the face mask were completely separated,” said Cady Hunsaker, who was present that night.

According to Hunsaker, despite wearing the now required vest, Blasdel sustained significant damage to his chest and stomach along with his head. First responders who were present at the rodeo worked for approximately 45 minutes in an attempt to stabilize Blasdel, but those efforts were unsuccessful and he succumbed to his injuries.

On their Facebook page, the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association wrote “Our hearts are very heavy following the lost of CPRA bullrider Jason Blasdel on July 7th in Saratoga, Wyoming. We send our most heartfelt prayers and thoughts to the Blasdel family during this difficult time.”

Blasdel leaves behind two young daughters, both under the age of five, and a wife.

This is the first bull riding related death that Juma Rodeo Stock, owned by Byron Juma of Torrington, Wyo. has had in 30 years according to Hunsaker.


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