FORT WORTH, Texas - Like all professional bull riders, Colby
Yates knows all too well the dangers of the sport.
He also has firsthand knowledge of the financial impact injuries can have on a rider and his family when a rider is out of competition for an extended period of time.
Yet the 30-year-old was taken aback during a recent conversation with Pistol Robinson.
"He said his doctor bills were right around $200,000," Yates
said, "and I just took a step back. I said, 'It's going to take you
forever to get past that.'
"Whenever you're not able to make any money, whatever you (have) is gone. You can count it gone. It takes a lot to live. With the help of the Rider Relief Fund and these benefits, we can help him get to where he's not going to have to struggle too much, so he can come back with no worries on his mind."
Robinson has been out of competition since breaking both legs in a wreck with Carrillo Cartel in the season-opening Built Ford Tough Series event in New York in January.
Yates has put together an online benefit auction that will begin Monday, June 25, at TheBreedersConnection.com, which is known among breeders and stock contractors as "a selective online auction service."
According to Yates, the weeklong auction will include semen sales from some top bulls, donated by stock contractors. Yates also had two high-dollar heifers donated by Lufkin Ranch & Rodeo, and a leather worker has donated a custom leather belt, in which the highest bidder can choose their own design.
Yates said he's still in the process of collecting items for the auction.
Although Robinson, 28, is a couple years younger than Yates, they grew up less than 20 miles from each other and rode their way to the PBR by competing at a lot of the same junior bull riding events.
"The best way to explain it is that we're on the road all year long," said Yates, explaining the cowboy way of looking out for one another and lending a helping hand, "and we're like family. When we leave our family, this is our second family. We see each other every weekend and we take up a bat for one another. I mean, we're there - whatever they need - and that's the case with Pistol. I've known him ever since I was little.
"It's not that I wouldn't do it for somebody else, too."
Robinson sustained a right thigh mid-shaft femur fracture, along with a left leg tibia and fibula fracture when he was stepped on after being thrown off Carrillo Cartel in the third round of the Madison Square Garden Invitational.
"When we leave our family, this is our
second family. We see each other every weekend and we take up a bat
for one another."
He had covered two of three bulls and was en route to a Top 10 finish when he was transported to Bellevue Hospital's trauma center.
The recovery and rehab is expected to take a minimum of one year.
"It's a setback in life," Yates said, "and something that would take him years and years to pay off - 10 or more years. I mean, that's a lot of debt.
"When he said $200,000, I'm thinking, 'My goodness.'"
Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.
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