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Skelton on the Mend, Will Return at Reno Rodeo

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Eight-time World Champion Team Roping Heeler Rich Skelton is making steady progress in his recovery from serious injuries suffered in a road accident May 15 near the Llano (Texas) Municipal Airport and will return to competition later this month.

“I had a CAT scan done last week and (where) I had had some blood on my brain up till then, the CAT scan (showed) all that was gone,” Skelton told the ProRodeo Sports News June 5. “They just told me to kind of ease back into things, and do as much as I feel like I can do.”

Skelton, who is ninth the June 1 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, is planning on returning to action at the Reno (Nev.) Rodeo June 19-27. Skelton is roping with header Nick Sartain, who is 11th in the standings.

According to a report in the Llano County News, a truck pulling a livestock trailer was unable to slow down and rear-ended a passenger vehicle, slamming it into the rear of the tractor that Skelton was driving. He was ejected through the top of the canopy on the tractor as it was knocked on its side.

Skelton was located about 25 feet from the tractor and was airlifted to a Round Rock, Texas, hospital for treatment, along with the driver of the passenger vehicle. Skelton left the hospital May 20.

“I bruised pretty much all my major organs: my spleen, my heart, and my liver,” said Skelton, 49.

Skelton had just completed a roping clinic at the Llano Event Center and was driving his tractor back to his house, which is just over three miles from the arena.

“I remember getting hit and the tractor kind of getting turned over,” Skelton said. “Words can’t describe how lucky I was … that I wasn’t hurt more than I was. They put me in a coma the first night and the next day I woke up and I really didn’t remember much that had happened.”

Skelton also was overwhelmed with all the support he received following his accident.

“I would like to thank all my friends and fans who checked on me and were truly concerned,” Skelton said. “I think I had like 17,000 people go on my Facebook page and wish me well and I would like to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart.”

Courtesy of PRCA