Things can change in a moment while riding on the back of a bull, as Qualicum Beach’s Brooke Starkey found out the hard way.
Starkey, a 21-year-old currently living in Alberta, was tossed to the ground and the bull she was riding stepped directly on her chest. Two collapsed lungs, a bruised heart, a small spleen laceration and four fractured ribs later, Starkey has since returned to her parents’ home in Qualicum Beach.
“It was an eye opener,” Starkey said. “It was pretty scary at first but there were some good people taking care of me as soon as it happened and things turned out for the better after everything settled down.”
She was taking part in the Blue Dust Diesel competition trying to earn a spot at a four day camp at Professional Bull Riding (PBR) co-founder Cody Lambert’s Texas ranch.
“The timing for the injuries wasn’t the best,” Starkey said. “It would have been really cool to be a part of all of that and be able to head down to Texas for that camp but unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards for me after I took that fall.”
For now, she’s recovering well and is looking forward to getting back to training.
“Yeah, I’m going to be back out there,” Starkey said. “It was a scary thing and at first, I really thought about not doing this anymore. But it’s part of what we do, we know that the danger is always there with such a strong and powerful animal. But I’m going to get back in there and ride again, for sure.”
Starkey got involved with riding at an early age and spent two years in an equine program at university in Olds, Alberta.
“It’s opened up a different world for me,” she said. “I feel right at home when I’m out there riding. I was a bit of a shy kid growing up and being able to go out and ride like this was something that really made me happy. It’s allowed me to really build confidence in myself, both with riding and in life. It’s great to see how you can get a good ride in and once you do, it feels really good. I love it because it’s a rush and I get to feel something that I don’t really feel with too many things in life.”
Starkey is thankful for the support around her and knows that she’s fortunate to have walked away from a scary scenario.
“It’s nice to have so many people being supportive,” Starkey said. “I’ve had lots of support from friends and family about this as a career and there was even more support from people just wishing me well in my recovery. I feel very fortunate with the way it’s all turned out.”