When it comes to rodeo, it isn’t a matter of if you will get hurt, it’s a matter of when.
Robbie DeVore, 21, a native of Joseph discovered that on July 4 at the Haines Stampede.
No one saw specifically what happened during performance in the saddle bronc riding, but DeVore came off his mount and ended up on the ground with multiple upper-body injuries as well as bruises on his face.
DeVore is recuperating with family in Clarkston, Wash., and will return to Wallowa County soon to continue healing, according to his aunt, Amy Ramirez of Enterprise.
“He is in great spirits and is already looking forward to getting on his next horse,” she said. “You can’t keep a tough cowboy down I guess.”
His most recent surgery was performed last week on his clavicle which was broken so badly “there was one spot where the bone was separated by about three-finger width,” Ramirez said.
“He came out of both surgeries (the other one on his jaw) great and has to carry a pair of wire cutters since his jaw is wired shut for 6-8 weeks,” she added.
DeVore, who has been rodeoing off and on for the past three years, had been living in La Grande and working at Intermountain Livestock on La Grande’s southern edge for the past six months.
Ramirez said he has always enjoyed horses and has owned and broke several.
“He’s an avid outdoorsman with amazing hunting skills,” she said. “As a young boy of seven, he would sit on the arm of the couch in his skivvies with his dad’s big cowboy hat on and he would tie himself to the couch as if it were a bronc. He’d fling himself around as if that “bronc” was giving him the ride of his life.”
In June, DeVore had competed in the Broncs and Bulls competition in Enterprise and the Chief Joseph Days Ranch Rodeo in Joseph.
At Haines, the most knowledgeable sources believe, the horse stomped on him with its back feet on his chest and face.
He was taken by ambulance to the Baker City hospital and then life flighted to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.
His injuries included broken ribs, badly broken clavicle, small brain bleed, massive jaw damage, missing teeth and a hole in his cheek.
Ramirez said he had jaw surgery the following day.
“The doctor said it was worse than any high-velocity car crash he’s seen,” Ramirez said. “If the injury had been a few inches up on his head, it would have been a much different story.”
The impact severed nerves on both sides of his body. Those were reattached and doctors are hopeful that one side will heal, but the other will take “a miracle,” Ramirez said.
He could be left with no feeling in his chin or lower face.
“He will likely require further surgery on his jaw and has two metal plates and screws,” Ramirez said. “He may need to have some teeth removed.”
DeVore remained unconscious and in ICU until July 6 when he was moved to a regular room.
“He regained consciousness and, to the therapist’s amazement, sat up and walked plus was able to communicate,” Ramirez said. “He has now been on walks and has been able to dress himself.”
He is unable to lift anything heavier than a coffee cup for at least six weeks and will be out of work for at least 6-8 weeks
YOU CAN HELP
Robbie DeVore did not have health insurance when he tangled with a bronc in Haines on July 4.
A GoFundMe account has been established to help defray medical expenses. Visit bit.ly/2JqNkwU for details.
A donation account has been opened at Umpqua Bank under the name of Amy Ramirez.
“He has multiple follow up doctor visits in Boise so the donation and GoFundMe accounts will be used for medications, travel expenses and ongoing living expenses as it looks like he’ll be out of work for at least three months and possibly more,” Ramirez said.