LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A veteran bullfighter with the Championship Bull Riding Circuit is still in serious condition at a Tyler hospital after a bull hit him at the David Wisener Memorial Bull Riding event held at Lufkin's George H. Henderson Jr. Exposition Center Saturday.
"The latest update was that the doctors reduced Cody's pain medication to help bring him out of the coma," Chuck Griffith, the coordinator of the event, and the owner of Lufkin Ranch & Rodeo, said Monday morning. "Once he started responding, they put him back on the pain medication. From what I've been told, this was a very, very encouraging sign."
Cody Hollums, 27, a bullfighter with five years of experience with the CBR circuit, was protecting a bull rider that had gotten thrown from a bull during Saturday's event. Hollums stepped in to distract the bull, and the fallen bull rider was able to escape without any injuries.
"Cody and the other bullfighters are professionals," Griffith said. "They know the danger involved; it's a rough job, and they do it willingly. The other two bullfighters did an outstanding job of protecting Cody while he was down."
Griffith explained that the bull spun around and hit Hollums in the chest, knocking him to the ground. He said the bull continued to spin, and one of its rear legs struck a glancing blow to the side of Hollums head. The blow knocked Hollums out, Griffith said. It also left a shallow cut over his ear.
At that point, the "pick-up man," or the horse-mounted cowboy who picks up the bull riders to get them away from the bulls, roped the bull. Then the cowboy and his horse dragged the bull to the other side of the arena to get it away from Hollums. Griffith said the pick-up man basically let the angry bull tire itself out before taking it out of the arena.
"The pick-up man did an amazing job," Griffith said. "He jumped in immediately and got the bull away from Cody."
On-scene paramedics rushed to Hollum's side within 15 seconds, Griffith said. They loaded him onto a stretcher and took him to a Lufkin hospital. From there, the bullfighter was airlifted to East Texas Medical Center Tyler for treatment.
Hollum's entry on the CBR Web site stated, "Before I go into the area, I always: pray." The Midland native was also an All-State football player for Greenwood High School.
The David Wisener Memorial Bull Riding event was held in memory of David Wisener, the general manager of Lufkin Ranch & Rodeo. Wisener was killed in a three-vehicle accident in the Midland area in March. He had been hauling livestock to Glendale, Ariz. when the accident occurred.
Griffith said the bull riding event raised more than $40,000 for the Cross Timbers Cowboy Church Area Fund and the Texas Region V High School Rodeo Scholarship Fund. However, despite the event's success, Griffith said that Hollum's recovery is their primary concern right now.
"We're all deeply concerned about Cody," Griffith said. "He's an outstanding young man."