Last week, life changed in an instant for a rodeo cowboy and his family.

On Tuesday, July 18, Ben Kilburg was competing in bulldogging (steer wrestling) in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It was part of the lead-up to Cheyenne Frontier Days, July 22 through July 30. Kilburg was born in La Motte, Iowa, in Jackson County.

According to his wife Mallory Kilburg, who grew up in Cedar Rapids, 'Ben went to get down, missed the steer and rolled into the path of the haze horse. As the haze horse passed, Ben got kicked in the head. His hazer was right where he needed to be. It was just a freak accident. And it was absolutely terrifying.”
*Note, the job of the haze horse rider is to keep the steer between the two horses.

Ben ended up face down in the dirt, and motionless when a doctor who was herself preparing to take part in breakaway roping sprung into action.

According to Kendra Santos, Dr. Jennifer Rice jumped from her horse, handing the reigns to a cowboy. She then rushed into the rodeo corral. Ben was bleeding from the head, having a seizure, and was still unconscious when she began to render aid. His head and neck were quickly stabilized, and Ben was carefully rolled onto his back. He was then placed on a spine board and transported to a hospital where he was in a medically induced coma for most of last week.

Ben and Mallory's life together has seen difficult times before. The two got engaged in January of 2021 and planned to marry in Waverly on April 23, 2022. Mallory was pregnant with twin boys at that time and was hospitalized in Cedar Rapids. Mallory and Ben got married at the hospital but tragically, Cameron and Caden were stillborn three days later.

Ben and Mallory are parents to an adorable two-month-old girl named Alaina who got to see her dad last night. As you can see, Ben is now awake and he's able to talk. Even though there's a long way to go, Mallory's photo shows what an incredible recovery Ben has already made. She labeled the photo "God is GOOD 🙏"

Mallory Kilburg
Mallory Kilburg

A GoFundMe to help the Kilburg family with Ben's medical expenses has raised more than $51,000.

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