Rider thrown off bronco, killed in West Texas rodeo


Sept. 10 (UPI) -- A 26-year-old bronco rider was killed Saturday after being thrown from his horse during a rodeo at the West Texas Fair in Abilene, Texas.

Skee Burkes was killed during a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association event after riding what the Taylor County Expo Center's general manager described as a "somewhat wild" animal.

"Just happened on an animal that is somewhat wild, and so precautions with that are limited. It's kind of what happens with these," Rochelle Johnson, executive vice president and general manager of the venue, told KRBC-TV. It can happen in these kinds of events, unfortunately. We pray for this young man's family."

Burkes participated in the Ranch Bronc riding event through the United Professional Rodeo Association, though he is not a member, according to a statement by the association.

"Although Skee was not a member of the UPRA, the sport of rodeo is a big family, Skee was rodeo family and when one our rodeo families suffers the unimaginable, we all grieve with them," UPRA said in a press release. The sport lost a great competitor, the world lost a great human.Please join us in keeping his family in your thoughts and prayers."

Emergency responders on the scene reportedly rushed to Burkes quickly after he fell. The incident occurred during the first event of the night.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Burkes' family, the spectators, and the rodeo officials in the arena. For information regarding Burkes and the UPRA, please contact (903) 873-6692," Johnson said in a statement.