DALLAS – When bareback rider J.R. Vezain was paralyzed, the reality of rodeo injuries emerged again on Sept. 22, 2018.
Vezain suffered a broken back that required surgery and has left him paralyzed from the waist down at this point. He is undergoing rehabilitation in Houston and will continue that beyond his time in southeast Texas. All the while, expenses that come with his injury will keep adding up.
“The rodeo industry is one big family, and when one of our family members is down, we all need to pick them up,” said Pete Carr, owner of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo. “We put on rodeos, so my heart told me that the next rodeo we produce could be a benefit rodeo for the Vezain family. All the proceeds from the Stampede at the Ike rodeo in West Monroe (La.) will go directly to J.R. and Shelby.”
In addition to serving as stock contractor for two dozen events nationwide, Pete Carr Pro Rodeo produces the Stampede at the Ike, which will take place Jan. 4-5.
“J.R. is a tremendous athlete and a remarkable young man,” Carr said. “He was closing out the regular season when the injury happened. He actually finished 14th and qualified for his sixth NFR. I’ve seen some posts made about his work in rehab, and having known J.R. for several years, I’m not surprised with his overall strength and faith during this challenging time.”
“This was an opportunity for our whole crew and partner Buckshot Sims of the Deep South Rodeo in Winnsboro (La.) to show our support for J.R. and his wife.”
Vezain is undergoing rehabilitation at the TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital and will remain there for a few more weeks. His treatment will continue after that, and the Cowley, Wyo., cowboy is weighing options for where it will take place. He’d like to return closer to home if possible.
“Every time we run our hand in, there’s a chance of something like this happening,” Vezain told the PRCA in late September. “You can have two attitudes: You can either look to blame and get mad and ask why, or you can make the most of it and find the positive and start working to get better. This has been humbling. I’m at a loss for words to see how many friends I truly have and everybody who has stepped out to help me out.
“The calls, the fundraising came together so fast, and all I can say is thank you to everybody. I do believe the good Lord will make something good from this, and I will be a walking miracle here before too long. I want to be the story that changes lives for the better. That, to me, is way more exciting and more important than any gold buckle that can be won.”