CHARLES TWEED/Ponoka News
Jake Vold did what he’s done all season long on April 22 during a Wrangler Tour stop in Clovis, Calif. — hang on for eight seconds but what happened next changed his 2011 rodeo season.
“Nothing much really out of the ordinary, I made the whistle and was waiting for the pickup man and he got a little wide on me so I just crawled back on to check out and I’ve done it a million times and I put my foot in the ground wrong and snapped ‘er,” said Vold.
That bad break turned out to be four exactly.
Vold flew home the following day to Calgary where a medical team at Calgary’s Foothills Hospital diagnosed the fibula had been broken in four places.
He underwent surgery the following day where doctors used two plates to mend the broken ankle.
At the time of the injury Vold was sitting in eighth spot in the PRCA’s world standings in bareback with almost $25,000 in winnings — the top 15 are invited to the National Finals Rodeo at the end of the season. Making the finals may now be a bit of long shot but Vold believes there’s no point in not going for it.
“There is always a chance. The doctors told me three months and I’ve heard that might be a little aggressive coming back that early,” said Vold. “But if I’m ready, I’m definitely going to give ‘er hell and hope for the best. You never know what could happen.”
The 24-year-old Ponoka native has dedicated himself to all aspects of the sport this year and the extra time spent in the gym had been paying off with results. Now he expects it’ll be that same positive mentality that he’ll use to battle through the adversity.
“It’s something that you can’t control and you might as well keep your chin up and you can’t let it get you down because it will just be a lot longer road coming back if you do that,” explained Vold.
Professional athletes always relish the opportunity to come home and compete in front of family and friends but the injury will mean Vold will be side lined throughout the Ponoka Stampede something he admitted stung a bit.
“Ponoka is going to be a heck of rodeo this year and yeah, it’s a disappointment that I’m not going to be able to part of it but there is always next year too.”
That foresight and perspective is important right now to a competitor that knows he has to make sure he is 100 per cent before he gets back on a bronc.
Vold will be on crutches for six weeks and then will have a long road back through physiotherapy.
“I have to make sure I’m ready when I do comeback. It’ll be up to me but I will definitely listen to the surgeons and the doctors,” said Vold.
The cowboy fraternity is a way of life — a brotherhood — and although Vold was competing against other riders he said it was humbling to see the show of support he received.
“I was sitting in the sports med trailer and every Canadian came in and really everybody came in and made sure you were doing alright. The thing about rodeo is you’re against everybody but everyone is friends at the same time,” said Vold admitting they were all like family.
With the winnings he has accumulated Vold hopes to be back in time for the final weeks of the rodeo season and plans on taking part in the Million Dollar Tour Final.