• Cindy

Bad Luck Bull Riding

Updated: Feb 17, 2019

Tavia was a cute, pleasant 19 year old living in Wyoming when she broke her leg bull riding. Tavia was riding a red bull when she was suddenly tossed to the ground by the 2,500 pound animal. As she tried to get up. the bull came down on her right leg snapping both bones in half.

Tavia in 2012

She doesn't remember the broken leg hurting badly at the time, but she said her leg looked "kind of sickening. It was flopping around pretty good."

Stevenson crawled to the fence, tried to stand up and collapsed. Finally, somebody came and pulled her to safety.


"It wasn't my night, I guess," Tavia later said.

Injuries were nothing new to Tavia. At the time of the broken leg, she had already suffered a fractured pelvis, a compression fracture in her back, a lacerated liver, a dislocated shoulder (twice), cracked ribs, five concussions, and two gashes in her head.

But she speaks about injuries in a matter-of-fact manner, just like male bull riders.

"I knew going into this that it's not if but when and how bad I'll get hurt."

The 5-foot, 7-inch tall beauty comes by her rodeo toughness honestly. Both her mother, Tonya, and her grandmother, Jan, rode bulls and both still compete in bareback bronc riding.

Tavia's leg was set in the emergency room and she was placed in a splint. Despite doctor warnings, Tavia turned down surgery and chose to spend four months in a full leg cast followed by two months in a below the knee cast.

Tavia showing off her full leg cast earned when a 2,500 pound bull stepped on her leg

As soon as the below the knee cast put on, Tavia started to ride again. Then 20, she tried to find work in a cafe but found the work too difficult on crutches. So, not deterred by a little broken leg, she took a job breaking colts on a Wyoming ranch. She rode with no stirrup on the right side.

Tavia in 2014

Today, Tavia is 34 and the mother of two children and is still involved with rodeos. She and her husband live in Wyoming.

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