BY Michael Austin, The Western JournalJanuary 31, 2023
1 year ago
 | January 31, 2023
1 year ago

Boy, 14, Dies After Cardiac Arrest, Being Thrown Off Bull at Rodeo: 'A Nightmare for the Rest of My Life'

A 14-year-old boy died after riding a bull for the first time Saturday in North Carolina.

Local emergency personnel arrived at a rodeo event in King, just north of Winston-Salem, on Saturday night in response to a call about a cardiac arrest, WRAL-TV reported.

The report said Denim Bradshaw "was riding a bull at the time of the call, but it is unclear what caused the cardiac arrest."

According to the Greensboro News & Record, Stokes County emergency management director Brandon Gentry said the teenager "was one of the participants when this happened. He was riding a bull and was thrown off."

Denim was lying unconscious in the rodeo ring when EMS workers arrived, Gentry said.

The teenager was taken to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where he was pronounced dead.

Denim, a student at Walkertown Middle School, was making his first bull ride, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Bradshaw's mother, Shannon Bowman, published a Facebook post on Sunday about her son's death.

"Last night was the longest night of my life!! My beautiful handsome 14 year old son had went to be with the lord! I awoke in a nightmare for the rest of my life! I hate myself for this call but he was loving every second of it I never seen him so happy as I had seen him last night before his departure," Bowman wrote.

"Denim baby you did it!! You did that!! I’m so proud of your braveness and your courage! My lil cowboy I will love and miss you so much and I know God will take care of you."

She went on to emphasize the need for EMTs in the sport of bull-riding. According to WGHP-TV, prior to the arrival of Stokes County emergency personnel, two EMTs contracted by the rodeo company attempted to perform lifesaving procedures on Denim.

The company that ran the event, Rafter K Rodeo of Union Grove, North Carolina, also put out a Facebook post regarding the teenager's death.

"Everyone here at Rafter K Rodeo Company, LLC would like to give our sincere condolences to the family and friends of bull rider, Denim Bradshaw," the company said Sunday. "Our sport is truly a family and we are so thankful for everyone that was there to help. We are thankful for our on site EMT’s, paramedics and law enforcement that work so hard to care for the cowboys.

"This is a tragic event and words cannot describe the pain felt by this loss. We ask everyone to come together and pray for his family for comfort and healing in this difficult time."

Denim's sister, Persephone Bowman, set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help pay for his funeral expenses.

"No one expects to lose such a young soul, and we were not prepared," the GoFundMe's description reads. "We graciously ask all who are able to please donate and send prayers for the family during this most difficult of times."

"Denim adventured into the world of bull riding and fell in love," it says. "The boots, the cowboy hats, and those big belt buckles-- he loved it all. He got to ride his first bull on January 28th, and his excitement was palpable. None of us could believe that this first ride would cause his death, and we are beyond devastated.

"Our sweet 14 year old boy lost his life during what was the most exciting moment of his short life, and we are now lost without him."

As of Tuesday, the GoFundMe account, which had a goal of $15,000, had raised more than $18,000.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Michael Austin, The Western Journal



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