Professional bull riders surprise young fan in hospital

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by MEG COYLE / KING 5 NEWS

Bio | Email | Follow: @MegCoyleKING

KING5.com

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 6:16 PM

They ride one-handed on a buckin', kickin', stompin' steer - eight seconds of sheer steer terror.

But if you think what professional bull riders do is hard? Try riding a mile in Austin Dunlap's saddle.

"It's a lot different than falling off my horse and getting back up," said Dunlap.

At 16, Dunlap is battling a much bigger, meaner beast: acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The Helena, Montana, native is undergoing treatment at Seattle Children's Hospital.

"That's mostly it - just staying positive through the whole thing," said Dunlap.

Staying positive for the lifelong rodeo fan and rider was a little easier Friday, thanks to a visit from a couple of cowboys. They're here for the Professional Bull Riders Passport Invitational at the Tacoma Dome this weekend-- a show Dunlap had to miss because of his recent bone marrow transplant.

"We decided, heck, we'll bring the PBR to him," said professional bull rider Chase Outlaw.

After all, you can take the boy out of the rodeo, but you can't take the rodeo out of the boy.

"I just grew up watching it and have always been interested in just seeing how smooth they ride," Dunlap said.

"That they've taken time out of their busy weekend to support my son. It's very humbling," said Valerie Dunlap, Austin's mom.

It's humbling for the riders too. These guys know how tough it can be to get back on that horse after a fall.

"He's the real hero," said Outlaw. "That kid, he's strong. It looks like he's handling it pretty good, looks like he's going to kick it in the butt and be back to ropin' and ridin' before you know it."
 
 

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