• 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

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, April 1

    by Brett Shepard on Apr 01, 9:05

    Southcentral More of the same. Mostly cloudy again with some rain showers over the Prince William Sound and eastern Kenai Peninsula. Southeast Cloudy skies with rain at times. Interior Mostly to partly cloudy skies and mild. North Slope Mostly cloudy with some snow to the west. Western Alaska Mostly cloudy with some showers over the […]

  • Crime

    Guilty plea for meth, mail fraud ringleader

    by Kate McPherson on Apr 01, 8:44

    The leader of a mail theft ring pleaded guilty to multiple counts of fraud, identity theft and drug dealing just days before his trial was set to begin. “We were looking at one point at 50 to 60 witnesses,” said Erin Bennett, a special assistant U.S. attorney who was preparing for Jonathon Escalante’s case. Bennett […]

  • News

    Native corporation plans to open old Bethel grocery store

    by Associated Press on Apr 01, 8:21

    The village Native corporation for Hooper Bay has announced plans to open a store in Bethel in the old location of the former Swanson’s store. Bethel radio station KYUK (http://is.gd/RpFISf) reports the Sea Lion Corp. plans to open the store near the riverfront around April 15. Plans call for subsidiary, UCI, to operate the store. […]

  • News

    In Sitka, VPSOs undergo firearm training ahead of Friday’s graduation

    by Emily Carlson on Apr 01, 7:59

    Starting next week, a few Village Public Safety Officers will have an added weapon at their disposal: firearms. Lawmakers passed the controversial bill allowing VPSOs the ability to bear arms last year, and on Friday, the first group graduates from training. At first, many of the regional corporations that employ them were skeptical and some […]

  • News

    Layoffs confirmed: ConocoPhillips reduces workforce in Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 01, 6:59

    Some Alaskans are losing their jobs because of lower oil prices. Natalie Lowman, a spokesperson for ConocoPhillips, says its 1,300-employee workforce in Alaska was recently reduced by 2 percent. She did not say specifically where in Alaska jobs would be cut. Lowman says job cuts could continue if the market remains weak and that it’s […]

  • News

    Alaskan authors made priority at proposed Spenard bookstore

    by Heather Hintze on Mar 31, 21:55

    Growing up in a family of writers, Vered Mares had a love of books long before she entered the publishing world. In New Mexico, she would take trips with her dad to the Living Batch Bookstore in Albuquerque and learn about her stepmother’s writing process. “It was impossible to not be completely submerged, surrounded and […]

  • News

    Palmer monofill appeal denied

    by Shannon Ballard on Mar 31, 21:32

    An Anchorage company had hopes of building a new landfill in Palmer, but it turns out, the third try is not always the charm. After denying the Anchorage company twice, the Mat-Su Borough denied Central Monofill Services (CMS) again at an appeal hearing on Tuesday. Whether the landfill happened or not had a lot of […]

  • News

    In Anchorage, hundreds pack PFD office ahead of deadline to file apps

    by Dave Leval on Mar 31, 19:41

    Lines like the one that could be seen outside the Permanent Fund Dividend office in Anchorage Tuesday resembled that of people waiting for tickets to a big concert. Eligible residents stood in line to to apply for their annual PFD checks. “I didn’t want to come, but got to,” said resident Kenneth Welch. “Mom’s got to […]