Tear-jerker: Cowboy's emotional message after horror injury

Sam O'Connor thanks his supporters after he broke his back in a fall at PBR Rockhampton on New Year's Eve.
Sam O'Connor thanks his supporters after he broke his back in a fall at PBR Rockhampton on New Year's Eve.

RODEO is recognised as one of the most dangerous sports in the world and the competitors who brave the fury of the raging bull are ranked among the bravest.

But one of those hardened cowboys was reduced to tears when he issued an emotional thank you to those who have supported him in the wake of a horry injury.


Tully's Sam O'Connor broke his back at the New Year's Eve PBR at Rockhampton's Great Western Hotel.

He was rushed to Brisbane for surgery at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and is now undergoing rehabilitation at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

In a shocking twist of fate another member of the tight-knit rodeo community, Rockhampton bull fighter Simon Batts, had a farming accident in which his spinal cord was severed just days before Christmas.

He is currently in Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital where he's "getting looked after by some good people".

A charity bull ride for the injured men was organised by the Great Western's owners Colin and Vickie Bowden and general manager Beau Thomas.


More than $17,000 was raised at the January 27 event, which attracted more than 80 nominations and a 600-strong crowd.

Sam and Simon made videos which were shown on the night, and the event was live-streamed, reaching viewers as far away as the US and England.

Sam was overwhelmed by emotion when he detailed how he was faring in the wake of his injury.

"I got flown down here on New Year's Eve. I had an operation, got some screws and rods put in my back, and got a pretty cool scar out of it, 52 staples," he said.

"I got transferred over here to the PA Hospital which is the best spinal rehabilitation place in Queensland.

"They told me it would take months to get here but I got here pretty quickly, by two weeks which is pretty lucky, and (I've) been kicking goals ever since."

Sam's voice trembled as he acknowledged the contractors, the Great Western and the hundreds who turned out to support the event.

"I appreciate it guys, thanks," he said, tears undoubtedly welling under his sunglasses as he signed off.


Simon, too, was also keen to recognise those involved in staging the charity ride for himself and Sam but clearly had not lost his sense of humour.

"I would like to thank everyone for their support," he said.

"I hope you all enjoy your night. It's a shame I'm not there to have a beer with you and get legless."

Topics:  great western hotel new year's eve pbr rodeo sam o'connor simon batts

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