Snap Crackle and Pop

Snap Crackle and Pop

Doc Spoon Prevents and Patches on The Road to Cheyenne

Snap, crackle and pop are all familiar sounds to the professionals of the Rodeo Sports Medicine Team standing forty feet away from the bull riding action. Anytime one of the best bull riders in the world face their one-ton opponents at Championship Bull Riding’s on The Road to Cheyenne Tour, Doc Spoon has the staff on hand to make sure they receive the best possible care.  

Truman “Doc” Spoon, Fort Davis, Texas, is currently the Director of Sports Medicine for the CBR. He is also the Director of Rodeo Sports Medicine. In his professional life he has been affiliated as a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, South West Athletic Trainers Association, and Texas High School Coaches Association.  He is also a graduate of Cisco College, and Sul Ross State University. Spoon has been taking care of the bull riders on the Championship Bull Riding tour since 2005 when he was recommended to Tuff Hedeman by sports medicine guru Dr. Tandy Freemen of Dallas, Texas. Doc and Hedeman were not strangers, besides both being graduates of Sul Ross Univeristy, Doc had treated Hedeman professionally in the sports medicine room on more than one occasion. 

Founded in 2007, by Truman “Doc” Spoon, the Rodeo Sports Medicine team offers peace of mind for both the athletes and their families on The Road to Cheyenne. The sports medicine room is a busy place, and that's a good thing. It's a place where the cowboys can come to check out their stiff muscles and aching joints, not to mention injuries during the competition. A casual cruise thru the sports medicine training room can look like a spa or an emergency room depending on the time of day. It's a basic service that looks like a luxury when you're on the bull riding circuit.

Wrapping ankles and wrists, massaging knots out of sore muscles, and evaluating injured contestants and sometimes arena personnel the goal is to have the athletes leave healthier and with more money than they came with," Spoon says. On average, he says, the team will treat ten to fifteen people a night, but no two performances are alike.

A rodeo athlete's life is precarious. You have to pay to enter the event, and you make money only if you win. Free medical care is a blessing. But the contestants are not the only ones that the sports medicine team treats.

James Pierce from Thibodeaux, Louisiana, is an instrumental member of the CBR’s arena personnel. Responsible for catching and pulling the 200 pound gate, he is the man responsible for getting the gate out of the way for a clean departure which allows the bull and the bull rider to get a safe and fair start. The father and son duo of James Pierce and James Pierce, Jr. have been pulling gates for about 100 performances for CBR. In the past he has been lucky and only had tight muscles. But on night two in Del Rio at the George Paul Memorial Bull Riding, the second generation James Pierce’s luck ran out. “James’s broke his left collar bone when a bull hit the gate hard as it was being pulled back, causing the gate to hit Pierce”, said Spoon. “We helped him out of the arena and applied a figure eight wrap and ice to the injury to assist with the pain and swelling. I have to admit I was worried because the injury was awfully close to the artery and stabilizing before transporting him to a hospital was vital.”, according to Spoon.  Pierce is recovering on schedule and is expecting to be back in action at Cheyenne in July.

“They keep us going to the next one down the road is the common thought process among cowboys (and crew), but the common wisdom that rodeo athletes want only to get patched up and back into the arena is only partly true”, Spoon says. These athletes are very much a part of their generation. "They're in tune with their bodies," he says. "They understand and take better care of themselves than in previous years." But if you say to them "I wouldn't go out there some will listen and some won't, it’s gratifying to get them back into what they love to do," says Spoon, "because this is what we love to do."

Before the CBR World Finals competition in Cheyenne, Charlie Harrington and the team will be busy wrapping ankles, wrists and ribs, but during the competition, the team stands at the out gate just steps away from danger. The gurney parked nearby is a reminder of how fast bad things can happen.

For more information contact: Leigh Ann Schroeder – 940.902.1112 or