PUEBLO, Colo. – Stetson Lawrence could have been in a terrible mood on the night of April 22, however a nice burrito made things a tad bit better.
Well, maybe it was the pain killers Lawrence had been given played a role as well.
Lawrence was sitting in his hotel room in Tacoma, Washington, before fellow bull rider Cody Campbell was going to drive Lawrence 13 hours to Billings, Montana, after the four-time PBR World Finals qualifier had just been released from a local Tacoma hospital with a fractured pelvis and was unable to fly home to North Dakota.
“It tasted really good actually,” Lawrence said. “I think everything would have tasted good at that point.”
All kidding aside, the broken pelvis was a tough blow for the Williston, North Dakota, bull rider.
Lawrence, who was eventually picked up by his wife, T.K., in Billings, was 10-for-22 since the beginning of March with three Top-10 finishes before Captain Jack clipped him following Lawrence’s 84.75-point ride in Round 2 of the Tacoma Invitational.
“He was right there to the left and back around to the right,” Lawrence recalled last week. “I kind of got strung out to the end and I was trying to make the whistle. The whistle blew and I tried to check out a little bit and the tail of my rope got caught around my hand a little bit and it drug me back underneath him. He didn’t directly step on me. But from his ankle to his hock, he pushed off at a bad spot at the wrong time.
“If you watch it back, it doesn’t even look like I get stepped on.”
Lawrence didn’t have to get surgery, but he was tasked with sitting out of competition for 12-plus weeks and spending the first 14 days off his legs.
The 28-year-old had earned points toward the world standings in six consecutive Built Ford Tough Series events and was already planning on making a strong run during the BFTS summer break before the injury.
“I definitely had my confidence back and was back to having fun,” Lawrence said. “It was working out for me and stuff was rolling my way. I just happened to get hurt, but that is part of it.”
Lawrence knew something was immediately wrong when he tried to stand up inside the Tacoma Dome.
“It was weird,” Lawrence recalled. “I had a weird feeling in my gut. I was woozy and wanted to throw up. I knew something was wrong right away. I was like, ‘Oh man, that’s not good. And it hurt.’”
Lawrence is returning to competition Friday night at the PBR Canada Touring Pro Division event in Czar, Alberta (Czar Lake Bullarama) at 7 p.m.
It will be Lawrence’s first event in three months.
“If there was any time to get hurt, that was probably the right time,” Lawrence said. “Last year, I tore my groin in Des Moines right before Vegas. I have done this two years in a row.”
Lawrence was able to recover from his torn groin and qualify for the 2016 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals.
The rider currently 24th in the world standings believes a fifth consecutive trip to Las Vegas will accompany his return to action.
In fact, Lawrence (15-for-46) still can potentially surpass his career-high of 27 qualified rides during the final 10 Built Ford Tough Series events and 2017 World Finals.
“Short-term goal is to get my confidence back up again and keep riding consistently more than anything,” Lawrence said. “Make my way into the Top 10 and make a run for it.”
Lawrence’s return to competition this weekend is partially thanks to pulsating electromagnetic field (PEMF) technology.
This kind of therapy keys primarily on stimulating cell metabolism and helps speed up the healing process for some fractures.
The therapy first became popular as veterinarians used the technology to heal broken legs in race horses.
More and more humans, including athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal have turned to PEMF therapy wellness devices to focus on increased endurance, enhanced performance and faster recovery.
Lawrence’s wife, T.K., had a friend introduce her husband to the unit after she had heard her friend talk about using the therapy on her barrel racing horses.
“This horse treatment Life Pulse deal has helped me come back a lot sooner than I expected,” Lawrence said. “We purchased one of them and I have been doing that at least once a week, if not more. It is good maintenance.”
The unit consists of a big coil, which Lawrence then placed on his hips and let the machine pulsate for roughly an hour.
“It increases blood flow and blood cell growth,” Lawrence said. “It is insane. I started that like May 10 or May 11. I do it once a week or whenever I am sore. It is good for your joints and stuff too.”
Lawrence spent most of his recovery traveling with T.K. to various rodeos in Canada as she competed in barrel races.
“I just stood in the rain all day up there,” he joked.
He is now ready to return across the board after getting on some practice bulls this week.
“I have had lower back problems, but this is my first real hip injury. I don’t feel any different right now,” Lawrence concluded. “I feel great.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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