Casper College Bareback Rider Recovering, Still Can't Use Arm After Wreck

The family of Austin Broderson, the 19-year-old Casper College bareback rider trampled during a horrific wreck at the National Western Stock Show rodeo last week says he’s doing better every day, but still has no use of his left arm.

RJ
Renée Jean

January 22, 20245 min read

Left, Austin Broderson, a 19-year-old Casper College student, comes out of the chute on Jack Dupp during a ride in the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver on Jan. 15, 2023. After finishing his 8-second ride, Broderson's rigging slipped and he was drug and trampled by the horse. He survived and is recovering in a Denver hospital. Right, Broderson gives a thumbs up from a hospital bed in Denver
Left, Austin Broderson, a 19-year-old Casper College student, comes out of the chute on Jack Dupp during a ride in the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver on Jan. 15, 2023. After finishing his 8-second ride, Broderson's rigging slipped and he was drug and trampled by the horse. He survived and is recovering in a Denver hospital. Right, Broderson gives a thumbs up from a hospital bed in Denver (Rick Andersen, National Western Stock Show; Courtesy)

Austin Broderson still can’t move his left arm after being trampled last Monday during what rodeo insiders say is one of the worst bareback riding wrecks in recent memory, but his intensive care unit status has been downgraded and his mobility as a whole has improved dramatically, family members say.

“He’s awake longer in the day and eating more,” his uncle Braden Van Nistlerooy told Cowboy State Daily. “So that is great.”

Broderson has even been able to sit up in a chair for a couple of hours and throw a photographer a thumbs up from his hospital bed, all while keeping it Cowboy tough and insisting that he’s not really in that much pain.

Family and friends are watching over the 19-year-old at a Denver hospital, who is a sophomore on scholarship for the Thunderbird’s rodeo team out of Casper College. Posts on Facebook and at the young cowboy’s rapidly rising GoFundMe page suggest Broderson has his feet firmly on the road to recovery — though the process is not likely to be easy or quick.

The family, meanwhile, appreciates all the prayers and healing energy being sent their way, as well as the donations that will undoubtedly be needed to help Broderson during his recovery.

“He has full function of everything except his left arm,” Nistlerooy told Cowboy State Daily. “So that’s a really big deal. I haven’t seen the video, but anyone who’s seen it thought the damage would be worse than it was. We really lucked out.”

Whether that arm’s function can be restored is the big question mark hanging over Broderson right now. Swelling has to come down first so that a proper scan can be done, after which there may be more insight.

Pro Rodeo Debut Gone Awry

Broderson was making his pro rodeo debut at the National Western Stock Show in Denver on Jan. 15 on a horse named Jack Dupp, with a ride that seemed storybook pretty.

He successfully made the 8-second ride on the Cervi Brothers Rodeo horse, but almost immediately after the left-handers’ rigging began to slide.

Broderson’s family members were among those watching the televised event helplessly, as the young man was pulled inexorably down the horse’s offside, away from the two pickup men who were trying to catch him.

They both tried unsuccessfully to pull horse and rider more to the center of the arena, while the cowboy immediately alongside simultaneously tried to grab the young man and stop the slide.

Broderson had become tangled in the rigging, however, and couldn’t get loose.

While all of that was taking place, the outside pickup man already had his rope twirling overhead to lasso and slow the horse down. But it was moving fast and the wild ride continued around the ring, with Broderson at times underneath the horse and its hooves.

The young cowboy was slung back and forth and stomped multiple times, as the stadium fell into an uncharacteristic hush, announcers included.

After about 30 seconds, the camera cut quickly away, even as dozens of cowboys from all over the arena converged on the horse and fallen rider, knives drawn, to cut the cowboy loose as quickly as possible.

Broderson was rushed to a Denver-area hospital, with EMTs working frantically in the ambulance to stabilize him. According to one Facebook account, a major artery had been severed during the accident, cutting off blood flow to his left arm.

Broderson’s parents, meanwhile, headed immediately to Denver to be by their son’s side.

Austin Broderson close up

Go Fund Me Pushing $80K So Far

Broderson has been attracting support from far and wide since the accident, with numerous posts on Facebook and other social media platforms calling for support for the fallen cowboy.

The GoFundMe campaign started for Broderson by Nistelrooy already had more than 500 donations totaling just over $77,000 as of Monday afternoon.

Nistelrooy told Cowboy State Daily he has bumped the fundraising goal for Broderson up several times, to allow for more donations..

Posts to the site show many who saw the accident have been praying for Broderson and “sending healing energy” his way.

“Hey Austin, my family and I were there during the horrific accident and felt so helpless during those moments that felt like a lifetime,” a woman identifying herself as RaeLynn Steiner wrote. “As tears poured, all we could do in that moment was pray for you. We continue to pray for you and your family every night.

“My daughter got a little trinket from the stock show that she named Austin. We are rooting for a full recovery and return to life (maybe even the rodeo) We are so thankful that you are alive and in great spirits. If we ever see you in person expect HUGE hugs coming your way.”

Another identifying herself as Amy Bryer said she and her family held hands in the arena as they watched the accident, praying for Austin.

“Still praying,” Bryer added. “Keep getting better, Austin!”

Broderson’s injuries are quite extensive, Nistelrooy said, and there are likely to be many needs going forward that aren’t necessarily covered by insurance.

“He’s a young guy, ready to go to work and go through school and all that, and I just don’t want him to have to, you know, fall behind and have to pay for things out of his pocket and go into debt,” he said. “I’m hoping we can get him out of this somewhat financially secure and no worse, no farther back than he was before this accident anyway.”

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Renée Jean can be reached at Renee@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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Renée Jean

Business and Tourism Reporter