Sutton epitomizes true cowboy spirit

The inspiring story of saddle bronc rider Billie Sutton's fight to come back from a career-ending spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down is featured in the May 29 edition of the ProRodeo Sports News (PSN) and, in a shorter form, on the PRCA Web site:
The Burke, S.D., cowboy went back to school at the University of Wyoming after the incident to complete work on his degree and has undertaken an arduous program of rehabilitation that has allowed him to go from having no feeling and no movement in his legs to riding a stationary bike with added resistance.
Sutton's rodeo career came to an abrupt end in the chutes at the 2007 Dodge Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo, presented by U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, in Minot, N.D., when his saddle bronc horse reared up and fell backwards, pinning the 23-year-old rider between his mount and the chute.
The impact crushed Sutton's T-12 vertebra, bruised his spinal cord and left him paralyzed. In an effort to stabilize Sutton's back, doctors at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis fused six of Sutton's vertebrae and inserted two rods and 10 screws into his spinal column.
"You have an injury like this, where the doctors tell you that you're just supposed to accept it, move on, live your life normally," Sutton told PSN reporter Marvin Olberding. "I've never been the type of guy to really give up on anything. So I wanted to move forward with trying to walk again."