In January, 2016, Bonner was laying on the dirt of a PBR arena, immobile, no feeling in his limbs, his neck broken. It was getting hard to breathe. The bull rider started mentally saying his goodbyes, preparing to die. 14 months later, the Texas Cowboy is on “Dancing with the Stars,” paired with veteran dancer Sharna Burgess.
Bonner had split his C-2 vertebra when dismounting the bull at the PBR’s 2016 season opener in Chicago. He was temporarily paralyzed and given 1% chance to walk again. After spinal fusion surgery, water therapy, yoga, cryo, heating the body, freezing the body, and lots of oysters, a miracle food in every sense, Bonner was signed by IMG Models, featured in a Saks Fith Ave campaign, and shot by world-renowned Mario Testino for a feature in V Magazine.
“In different ways, the odds are stacked against anyone dealing with an accident, injury, or illness,” says Bonner. “Physically, I feel good. I’m very thankful for what I’ve overcome, and I hope to inspire and motivate others who have challenges.”
PBR now has 61 million fans and gets TV ratings often only #2 to the NFL.