Rodeo bullfighter’s face crushed by 2,000-pound bull

Posted Friday, Sep. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Last weekend, Heath “Hooter” Boswell was simply trying to protect a bull rider when something went horribly wrong.

As he distracted a 2,000-pound bull named Giggle Drops on Sept. 7 at the Wise County Sheriff’s Posse Rodeo in Decatur, the bull turned and stomped on Boswell’s face after he fell to the ground.

“It crushed everything from his eyebrows to his chin,” said Kim Stepp of Big L Rodeo Co., where Boswell worked. “It was the worst rodeo accident we have ever seen that wasn’t a fatality.”

Boswell was flown by CareFlite helicopter to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where he underwent surgery this week. He’ll have another lengthy surgery this weekend, said his brother, Kelly Boswell.

“He’s in bad shape,” Kelly Boswell said. “He’s going to survive. Both jawbones have been fixed, but he’s facing a long road to recovery.”

A father of three and a grandfather, Hooter Boswell, 41, has been a rodeo bullfighter since age 18.

During the rodeo season, he spends “every other weekend” on the road, traveling throughout Oklahoma and Texas, his brother said.

He viewed many of the bull riders as his extended family and always wanted to guarantee their safety.

“When he first woke up from the anesthesia on Monday, the first question to me was if the bull rider was OK,” Kelly Boswell said. “That’s just the way he is. He is always concerned about everybody else.”

Boswell also worked as a self-employed contractor. Neither that job nor his rodeo career provided health insurance.

Friends and relatives have set up an account at First Financial Bank in Bridgeport for donations. A Facebook page called “Prayers & Updates for Hooter Boswell” has also been created. A benefit auction and team-roping event are also being planned for Oct. 19-20 in Bridgeport.

His brother said Boswell could have a prolonged hospital stay.

“Quite honestly, we’re probably talking months,” Kelly Boswell said. “He walked for the first time today [Friday]. He’s going to be back. It may not be this year. It may not be next year. But he’s going to be back.”

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698 Twitter: @fwhanna

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