McKennon Wimberly has already beaten the odds once. So when he says he will ride bulls again on the Built Ford Tough Series, don’t count him out.
McKennon Wimberly, who suffered a brain shearing injury on Jan. 22 in Anaheim, Calif., said he was told that 95 percent of people who sustain such head trauma do not wake up from their comas, “and the 5 percent that do never are the same.”
Despite the prognosis, Wimberly is confident he will return to riding bulls at the highest level in the world.
“I don’t think I’ll have any problem,” Wimberly said. “I’ve been around bull riding all my life, my dad rode and I’ve been around guys getting hurt – seriously hurt. I’ve always said that I will not come back from an injury until I can compete and win.
“So if it takes me a month getting on bulls in the practice pen and working at it every day, then I’ll do what it takes to be able to come back better than I was when I got hurt.”
A benefit bull riding in March raised money to help Wimberly pay his enormous medical bills. Another event, the Weatherford (Texas) Battle of the Bulls McKennon Wimberly Benefit PBR Touring Pro Division is this Friday and Saturday, July 15-16. He is a former winner of the contest, held only about 12 miles from where he lives in Cool, Texas.
Wimberly, who turned 23 on June 16, finished 11th in world last year. He had five Top-5 performances and won a career-high $145,283. He captured the fifth round of the 2010 PBR World Finals with an 89.25 on Hawaiian Ivory (Flying U/Cindy Rosser Bucking Bulls).
Wimberly had covered five of his first nine bulls this season when he climbed aboard Moebandy.com in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round of the Anaheim Invitational. The D&H Cattle Co./Moe Bandy bull jerked him down, their heads collided and Wimberly lost his helmet. When the bull turned back to the left, Wimberly’s now-unprotected head crashed into Moebandy.com’s head again. About a minute later, a stretcher entered the arena to pick up the unconscious bull rider.
Wimberly said he’s watched the replay numerous times but hasn’t found anything he did wrong that he could correct in the future.
“He kind of slipped in his hind end and got me leaning back a little and then really hit the ground hard with his front end and just yanked me forward,” he said. “From looking at it, I was in a good position and riding really aggressive and riding good, and it was just one of those freak deals. It just happened.”
Wimberly has been spending time in Montana with his girlfriend, PBR stock contractor Mesa Pate. He’s been riding horses and hauling bulls and said he feels “really good.” They also spent 10 days in Hawaii last month.
“I’d just like to thank everybody that was praying for me and kept me in their prayers and kind of supported me and helped through all this,” he said. “And I’ll be back.”
If you would to help McKennon with the medical costs associated with his injury, you can send a contribution to:
McKennon Wimberly Benefit Fund
c/o First Financial Bank, College Park
P.O. Box 1299
Weatherford, TX 76086
— by Chris McManes
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