• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 32s

Rodeo Alaska members buck up to support injured riders

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: John Thain - 8:18 PM June 13, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

As cowboys at a bull riding clinic in Palmer prepare to kick off the start of rodeo season, they can’t help but feel a void.

On their minds are fellow bull riders Mike Sunderland, 19, and Ryan Palmer, 21.

“Its just tragic. Nobody wants to see that happen to their friends,” Bull rider Kraig Morris said.

On June 3 the men rolled a car several times before hitting a tree. Since then Tammy Sunderland has lost her son five times.

“I called the hospital. They said he’d been air flighted and that his heart was beating but he wasn’t breathing on his own and that’s all we knew,” Tammy explained.

But yesterday Mike woke up. He has traumatic brain injury, and is on a long journey to recovery.

“A common phrase for us since he’s woke up is just eight seconds Michael. You can do this for eight seconds. We know you can,” Tammy said.

Ryan is down the hall at Providence with a broken femur and pelvis.

This weekend Rodeo Alaska is asking people to buck up for a good cause – to help ease medical expenses for Mike and Ryan.

“We just tip a cowboy hat upside down and folks give what they can afford to give,” Rodeo Alaska announcer Dan Fowlie said.

Alaska’s cowboy community is quick to contribute.

“I’m going to dedicate all my rides to Mike from now until he’s healed,” Morris said.

The strength to become a bull rider comes from within; the mentality of getting back on when you get knocked off.

“I’m sad he’s not going to be here but I know he’s going to be again,” Tammy said.

Rodeo Alaska will be passing the hat for Mike and Ryan all weekend, selling t-shirts for the cause, and taking donations online.

Latest Stories

  • Halfway house walkaways decrease significantly but remain a problem

    by Daniella Rivera on May 25, 21:56

    Before Howard Watson, 32, got into a confrontation with Anchorage Police that sent him to the hospital with critical injuries Thursday, he was was already a wanted man. In a Nixle alert sent out Monday, APD said he left the Glenwood Center halfway house with permission to go to work. He showed up at his […]

  • News

    Memorial Day weekend events in Southcentral Alaska

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 25, 20:18

    Memorial Day Weekend – May 26, 2017 – May 29, 2017 4th Avenue Theatre’s 70th Anniversary Saturday, May 27 Street Fair on 4th Avenue between F and G Streets 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Entertainers on the 4th Avenue stage Anchorage Jazz Ensemble, The Blue Notes, Reading of 4th Avenue Theatre memories 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. […]

  • News

    Mothers of four young men killed by gun violence make plea in viral video

    by Shannon Ballard on May 25, 19:50

    The faces of four Alaska mothers are spreading rapidly across social media The women all have different stories to share, but they’ve come together because of what they have in common: each has recently lost a son to gun violence. Aleaka Tate’s says a video posted to her Facebook page was created to encourage a […]

  • News

    RVs a growing business for Alaska, big bucks for Anchorage

    by Dave Leval on May 25, 19:37

    The Norbert Family of Eagle River will get out of town for the Memorial Day, and for the first time, they will do so in style. “We have always wanted to rent an RV, and my son’s birthday is this weekend, so, we were excited to go out and explore Alaska,” said Lisa Norbert. The […]

  • News

    Delta offers seasonal flights to Capitol city; Juneauites hope to keep competition

    by Liz Raines on May 25, 19:29

    It’s been one week since Delta Airlines started offering daily flights between Juneau and Seattle– breaking the Alaska Airlines monopoly– at least for the summer. Over the years, the capital city’s small population and harsh weather conditions have made it hard for companies to compete in Juneau’s skies. For year-round service between big cities and […]

  • Shots fired, suspect dead in Fairbanks pursuit

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 25, 17:15

    A man died Thursday afternoon after leading law enforcement on a pursuit that ended in shots fired in Fairbanks. Around 3:15, Alaska State Troopers in Fairbanks saw a known individual who has warrants and attempted to initiate a traffic stop on Old Richardson Highway but the suspect did not pull over, according to troopers. Fairbanks Police […]

  • Oregon, California governors seek salmon disaster aid

    by Associated Press on May 25, 15:37

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and California Gov. Jerry Brown are seeking a federal disaster declaration to help salmon fishermen enduring a second bad year in a row. A record-low number of fall-run Chinook salmon returning to the Klamath River has led to fisheries restrictions, including the cancellation of the season along […]

  • News

    NTSB investigating helicopter accident on Herbert Glacier

    by Associated Press on May 25, 15:32

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a helicopter crash on a southeast Alaska glacier that resulted in minor injuries. Clint Johnson, NTSB’s regional aviation chief in Anchorage, says investigators are working with Coastal Helicopters to determine what happened. Coastal Helicopters, which offers a Juneau Icefield excursion, has said its helicopter […]