Nevada cowboy injured in NFR, another ranked 10th
December 12, 2002
Nevada cowboy Charley Gardner scored an impressive 80 points during Monday’s round of the National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc competition.
But once he landed, he knew it wasn’t a good ride.
“When I hit the ground, I knew I was in bad shape,” he said. “I knew my week at the NFR was pretty much over.”
Preliminary tests indicate Gardner, 32, tore three ligaments in his right knee and damaged surrounding cartilage.
“It is more disappointing than painful,” he said. “I’m sitting here watching everyone instead of riding. I’d rather be getting on a bronc every night.”
Doctors have recommended surgery then waiting at least nine months before competing again.
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“Injury comes with the game you know,” he said. “There’s always a chance of getting hurt.”
Gardner plans to return to his family’s ranch in Ruby Valley where he is starting his own line of buckin’ horses in hopes of stock contracting for rodeos.
He’s not sure whether he will return to rodeo.
“Right now, I’m focusing on trying to get this thing worked on so I can start healing up,” he said. “I’ll have to see what it’s like when I get it fixed.”
Despite his disappointment, Gardner said he is enjoying the camaraderie of being amongst fellow bronc riders.
The night he was injured, competitors rallied by his side.
“They gathered up my saddle and they all came in to see me,” he said. “The bronc riders are all such a good bunch of guys. They’re not here just to win, they just want to give it their best ride.”
Although he said he would like to see his friend Glen O’Neill capture the title, he will be just as happy with anyone.
“All these guys at the rodeo are good friends of mine,” he said. “I just hope they all ride good and where the chips fall they fall.”
Nevada’s other competitor, Randon Adams of Logandale, is ranked 10th in the team roping competition.
Gardner grew up in rural Ruby Valley outside of Elko and attended a two-room schoolhouse there. He was home schooled for high school and entered his first rodeo, The Silver State Stampede in Elko, in 1992.
He won and his career began. He went on to win the Reno Rodeo in 1994, the Las Vegas Helldorado Days in 1996 and won the average at the NFR in 1999.