A chuck wagon racer was taken to the hospital Monday night after falling out of his wagon while rounding a curve at RodeoHouston.
The driver of the Baylor College of Medicine wagon lay in the dirt, unable to get up, while rodeo staff attempted to divert the three horse-drawn chuck wagons away from the driver so he would not be trampled. Two of the driver's horses fell shortly afterward.
Both horses were able to walk out on their own, with one suffering only a small abrasion and mild muscle soreness and the other having no injuries, according to a statement from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. But the driver, who has not been identified, was taken out of the arena on a stretcher as a precaution. He was stable as of Monday night, but was still transported to the hospital for further evaluation, the rodeo said.
"The safety of our human and animal athletes, as well as our guests, is of the upmost importance to RodeoHouston," rodeo staff said in a statement. "Medical and veterinary professionals, including the RodeoHouston Sports Medicine team, are on staff in NRG Stadium during all performances."
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The horses were returned to their owner and are expected to compete in upcoming performances.
Just last week, the Houston Press talked to two longtime chuck wagon drivers about the dangers of racing. Gary Sandstead, a 40-year chuck wagon racing veteran who drives the Chevron wagon, said the chuck wagon benches on which drivers sit were retrofitted after he fell out of his wagon and broke his shoulder and eight ribs last year. Although this time around, it didn't seem the small barrier made a difference.
As driver Rene Salmond told us, however: "Any time you have horses going that fast, you're gonna get some chance of an accident."