The date is Friday, May 20, 2022. Rodeo fans in and surrounding Redding, California were amped and ready for an exciting night of rodeo. Boy, were they in for a treat. The entire Friday night performance of Redding Rodeo had gone off without a hitch until the final event of the evening, bull riding. While bull riding on its own is a pretty dangerous sport, it’s usually only dangerous to the cowboys climbing up on their backs. In this case, the crowd was about to get a taste of what it’s like to be up close and personal with these bucking machines.
In a matter of seconds, after a cowboy had been thrown from the back of one of Bridwell Stock Contracting’s bulls, the bull runs away from the chute, looking for the outgate. Which is where the bulls are shown ahead of time, where to exit the arena. In this case, the bull had his own ideas and launched himself up and over the perimeter of the arena and right into the cheering crowd. You can catch the full video below.
While that occurrence is a once and a lifetime event, it was about to change the life of a young woman who was sitting in the front row of all the action.
Paige King, who is a 25-year-old resident of Redding, CA, was one of several people that was hit and injured when the bull made his great escape. She is also the daughter of rodeo committee members, Erick and Jennifer Mattson, who were working the rodeo that evening. Amidst the chaos, Erick’s first response was to make sure that fans were safe from the event, but unbeknownst to him, his daughter was one of the people sitting front row.
While Paige’s injuries weren’t severe, it was enough to warrant a check by the Justin Sports Medicine team, who is onsite at every rodeo to keep cowboys and personnel safe. They recommended that she head to the hospital to get checked for any lingering injuries besides the kick to her back that the bull inflicted after jumping the fence. At the hospital, she had a full workover and a CT scan. In addition to the CT Scan, the doctors found a mass on her neck that was a bit concerning so they recommend she get to her primary care doctor to get it checked out.
This was when things took an abrupt turn. After a long wait to get results from the mass on her neck, the verdict was in. Paige had cancer. Cancer that would have otherwise gone undetected had she not gone to the hospital that night of the accident. Paige was then diagnosed with early-stage thyroid cancer.
After the diagnosis, Paige, who is a housecleaner, was going to a client’s house to do a job and found out that it was the owner of the bull that has now saved her life. In a quote from the KRCR News, King said,
“I was able to smile about it and laugh. I was scared at first, but it was fun,” King said. “It was a full circle moment, and I’ll cherish it forever.”
After everything was said and done, Pro Rodeo Announcer Bob Tallman reached out to the family advising them that the best place they could take their daughter for cancer care was MD Anderson Treatment Center in Texas. He assured them that it was the best option for treatment there was. So the family set out to make initial appointments in Texas. In fact, we were just filled in that they had their initial appointment this week and Paige is scheduled for surgery next week, so the family will be traveling back and forth for treatment.
The King family has a long road ahead of them and while insurance covers some of the cost, it won’t cover everything. In a time where prayers go a long way, they are also asking for donations to help with travel expenses as they continue to fight for their daughter’s life. If you would like to donate, please visit their GoFundMe page for more information.
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