Bull-rider lucky to be alive after fall

Oct 20, 2023, 6:16 PM | Updated: Oct 23, 2023, 1:30 am

PLEASANT GROVE — A cowboy from Tooele is lucky to be alive after riding a bull Saturday when things went south.

Dax Preston, 19, hit the bull’s head with his own while riding which landed him in the hospital with severe injuries, in a coma, and on life support.

Dax said he has broken ribs before.

He describes bull riding as something where the rider knows getting hurt is always on the table: It’s just a matter of how, when, and how badly.

“If you’re gonna do it, you have to be all in about it,” Preston said.

Dax recovering in the hospital

Dax recovering in the hospital. (Courtesy Preston family)

Dax Preston has been bullriding all in.

“Something that gave you adrenaline: You wanted to do it, and the more you wanted to do it, the better you got at it,” Preston said.

For the last few years, Preston has been bull riding.

Last Saturday, he was bull riding in Marysvale, which was far from his first rodeo.

“My buddy said I sat up good. Rode him for a few jumps…” Preston said.

Dax riding the bull with his helmet on.

Dax riding the bull with his helmet on. (Courtesy John Pyle Photography)

That is, until his head came down at the same time the bull’s head came up making contact.

“Slid my hand in on the rope and nodded my head. I see that gate open; that bull come out. Then, I just opened my eyes, and I was in a hospital,” Preston said.

Waking up from a 15-hour coma on life support, the ride ended with a fractured skull, brain bleed, and hearing loss.

“I’ll usually just text him and ask, ‘Hey, how was your ride, you know,’ but I just had this really strong feeling and I pulled over and said a prayer with my daughters and just asked for protection over him,” Shana Gardner, Dax’s mom said.

The X-rays of Dax's injuries. (Courtesy Paxton family) The X-rays of Dax's injuries. (Courtesy Paxton family)

Gardner was heading on a road trip across the country when she got the call her son had been seriously injured.

“They say he’s very, very lucky to even be alive. To even be able to walk and talk right now is a miracle,” Garnder said.

Just days later, a walking cane is the only thing that meets the eye left over from the ride.

It could have been a very different story had he not made one last-minute decision.

“When I see them roll that bull into the shoots, I hurried and just grabbed my helmet and put my hat down… thank God I did, because, you know, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t,” Preston said.

The next bull Preston will be taking by the horns will be recovery, with three months of no driving or working while doctors watch him to see if they need to do surgery or not. His doctors said that may be his last bull ride. Preston already misses the saddle.

“I might strap on a few years down the road…I don’t know. I’m just ready to go,” Preston said.

Next year, there will be a bull riding event in Duchense which will benefit Preston. To learn more about how you can help him and his family in the road ahead, you are encouraged to visit the GoFundMe here.*

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Bull-rider lucky to be alive after fall