Young rodeo rider suffers extensive injuries at Smithers fall fair

A young rodeo rider who was thrown from a horse in front of a packed crowd at the Smithers fall fair has undergone surgery in Vancouver.

A young rodeo rider who was thrown violently from a horse in front of a packed crowd at the Bulkley Valley Exhibition on Saturday has undergone surgery for extensive injuries at Vancouver General Hospital.

Kevin Cunin of Prince George broke several ribs, punctured a lung and fractured his vertebrae when he hit the ground head-first competing in the bareback bronc riding competition about 5 p.m.

The accident unfolded in front of hundreds of people who had gathered to watch the event, which is a popular attraction at the annual Smithers fall fair.

Witnesses report seeing him fall backwards from the horse and land on his head moments after he broke from the gate.

He was the second rider to enter the ring on Saturday.

Local company Jade First Aid were first on the scene to treat the man, who was in a critical condition when B.C. Emergency Health Services arrived and transported him by ambulance to Bulkley Valley District Hospital.

He was transferred to Vancouver General Hospital that day and underwent surgery on Sunday.

B.C. Rodeo Association president Trish Kohorst, who was at the Smithers rodeo when the accident happened, said injuries as severe as Cunin’s were rare despite the dangers of the sport.

It is not uncommon in the sport to have some types of injuries but the severity of this one is not something we see very often,” she said.

Kohorst said riders underwent training to help prevent severe injuries and rodeos adhered to a strict set of safety rules.

There are also restrictions on the types of animals used in the rodeo, such as limitations on horn-length, she said.

Despite the inherent risks, Kohorst said a passion for the sport kept rodeo riders returning to the ring.

I’m a competitor as well,” she said.

If it’s your passion it’s your passion and whether you are mountain-biking, motocross racing, rodeoing, playing football, they all have different risks.”

She said the rodeo community had been hit hard by Cunin’s accident and riders across B.C. were praying for his recovery.

The rodeo world is a family — it’s a sport where, seconded by none other where we stand behind each other,” said Kohorst.

Certainly, everyone is behind him and prayers and hopes for his recovery are everywhere.”

She urged the community to express their support for Cunin’s recovery and thanked paramedics for their quick response.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: Town of Smithers lifts alert for high levels of chlorine in water

Residents are advised town water is now safe to use

Garry Merkel has been recognized for his work in culturally appropriate Indigenous education with an honourary doctorate from the University of British Columbia.
Tahltan educator recognized with honorary doctorate from UBC

Garry Merkel has dedicated his life to improving Indigenous educational outcomes

Gareth Manderson, general manager BC Works, and Bandstra’s Zach Runions and Steve Collins. Photo supplied
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Most Read