A 23-year-old bullfighter was critically injured by a bull at the Big Valley Jamboree on Saturday morning.
The incident happened during the Bulls for Breakfast event at the country music festival in Camrose.
Video sent to Global News showed the man lying in the middle of an arena after he was previously seen as part of a group of rodeo clowns or bullfighters, whose job is to protect the riders from the bull.
Chuck Erman, operations manager with the festival, said a rider was bucked off a bull and the bullfighter ran in to distract the animal so the rider could safely escape.
But Erman said the bullfighter was hit and was knocked out, and then the bull spun around and stepped on the man, who he identifed as Casey Berg, who is from the area.
STARS Air Ambulance was dispatched shortly before noon and rendezvoused with EMS at the Camrose Hospital. The bullfighter was airlifted to the University of Alberta Hospital in critical, but stable condition.
Erman wasn’t aware of the extent of the Berg’s injuries but said he was awake and responsive at the hospital in Camrose.
“He just took a pretty good shot when he got hit that knocked him unconscious, and then when he went down, it’s just the bull spun and stepped to get his footing, and he just stepped on him,” Erman said.
“Everybody said a cowboy prayer for the young bullfighter to make sure he had a speedy and fast recovery.”
Erman said “Bulls for Breakfast” has been a tradition at the festival for 28 years.
“We’ve had bangs and scratches before in some riders,” he said.
“But in this sport it’s not ‘if’ you’re going to get hurt, but when.”
Big Valley Jamboree hosts over 30 of country music’s top recording artists at the Camrose Regional Exhibition over the August long weekend.
Global News has reached out to BVJ organizers to find out more details.
— With files from Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press