Bull Riding Model Bonner Bolton to Compete on Dancing with the Stars

By: Andrew Giangola
March 01, 2017

PUEBLO, CO (March 1, 2017) – Bonner Bolton, a professional bull rider who suffered a nearly catastrophic bull-riding injury 14 months ago and was given a one percent chance of walking again, was today announced as a contestant on the new season of the ABC hit series Dancing with the Stars.

In the Professional Bull Riders’ 2016 Built Ford Tough Series season opener in Chicago, Bolton had been leading the event before landing on his head when dismounting the bull, splitting his C-2 vertebra. Bolton was temporarily paralyzed.

Beginning with spinal fusion surgery, the 29-year-old from Odessa, Texas began a remarkable recovery. While Bolton was still immobile, IMG Models, a leading global modeling agency, signed him worldwide. IMG Models and PBR are divisions of WME | IMG, a leading global sports, entertainment and fashion agency.

As Bolton continues to recover and branch into new areas, he has been profiled in major magazines and newspapers around the world, shot an ad campaign for Saks Fifth Avenue, and posed for world-renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino for a major feature soon to appear in an international men’s magazine.

“The odds are stacked against anyone dealing with an accident, injury, or illness,” Bolton said. “Physically, I feel good. I’m very thankful for what I’ve overcome, and I hope to inspire and motivate others who have challenges.”

Bolton, who finished seventh at the 2015 PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, is receiving advice from Ty Murray, a nine-time world champion cowboy and founder of the PBR who competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2009, making it to the semifinals.

“Bonner has the right attitude and is preparing mentally and physically,” Murray said. “He’s a legitimate cowboy and has the support of the entire bull-riding and western sports community. Bonner is going to be a tremendous ambassador for PBR and all cowboys.”

Bolton is paired with Sharna Burgess, a 31-year-old professional dancer from Australia, who has been a runner-up several times on Dancing with the Stars.

“Bull riding and dancing both require balance, strength, posture, form and muscle-reflex memory,” Bolton says. “In the PBR, there’s a premium on rhythm and timing, countering those bulls move for move. The bull leads, and you follow. Sharna and I have already developed great chemistry, and I’m relying on her to teach and lead me.”

Dancing with the Stars returns with a live premiere on Monday, March 20, 8:00-10:01 p.m. EST

  • Courtesy PBR
  • Courtesy ABC
  • Courtesy ABC
  • Courtesy ABC
About Dancing with the Stars
Hosted by two-time Emmy-winning host Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews (sports host and ”Dancing with the Stars” season 10 finalist), “Dancing with the Stars” is the hit series in which celebrities perform choreographed dance routines which are judged by a panel of renowned ballroom experts, including head judge, Len Goodman, dancers/choreographers Bruno Tonioli, Carrie Ann Inaba and Julianne Hough.
About the PBR (Professional Bull Riders)
The world’s premier bull riding organization began as a dream of 20 bull riders 24 years ago and is now a global sports phenomenon. On its elite Built Ford Tough Series, the PBR features the Top 35 bull riders in the world and the top bulls in the business. The televised PBR Built Ford Tough Series, the PBR Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour, the PBR Touring Pro Division and the PBR’s international circuits in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico have paid more than $150 million in earnings to its athletes. Thirty bull riders have earned more than $1 million, including two-time PBR World Champion J.B. Mauney who has become the top-earning athlete in Western sports history with more than $7 million in career earnings. In May 2015, PBR was acquired by WME | IMG, a global leader in entertainment, sports and fashion. For more information on the PBR, go to, or follow on Facebook at, Twitter at, and YouTube at
About IMG
IMG is a global leader in sports, events, media and fashion, operating in more than 30 countries. The company represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is one of the largest independent producers and distributors of sports media. IMG also specializes in sports training; league development; and marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, a leading global entertainment agency.
Media Contact:
Andrew Giangola at or 646-871-2402