One of the best bull riders in the world, who is also a Green Country native, was stepped on by a bull this weekend at the BOK center during the PBR competition.
On Wednesday, he spoke exclusively to News on 6 from his Tulsa hospital bed, to share how he is recovering with his fans. Ryan Dirteater said he knew he was in trouble during his final ride at the PBR competition Sunday.
He was badly hurt when a bull stepped on him, but he's not letting it slow him down.
"There's a saying," Dirteater said. "You mess with a bull, you get the horns. It's true."
The ninth-best bull rider in the world is a Hulbert native. Dirteater started riding when he was 10 and has been a professional for 12 years. Dirteater said he'll never forget where he came from.
"That's where my roots are, and where they'll always be," he said.
Dirteater was finishing a near-perfect weekend riding bulls with the world's best at the BOK center. He could tell something was off during his final ride Sunday in the PBR championship round.
"I couldn't get my hand out of my bull rope," he said. "You want your hand really sticky, and my hand was so sticky I couldn't get it out."
"I knew something happened because when I hit, I rolled over and felt something slosh around inside me," he added. "My ribs were moving around."
Dirteater said he could barely breathe.
"I broke 4 ribs and collapsed my lung," he said.
Dirteater placed 4th despite being stepped on by a 1500-pound bull.
"We're playing with livestock," he said. "You know the risks are there. We just try to be positive."
Physically, Dirteater says he's in a lot of pain.
"There is a tube inside me. My lung is bruised."
He said his mental game is still strong. Messages of support and love from family, friends, and fans are getting him through.
"To know the people, they care for me, they're there, it makes a person feel great," he said.
Dirteater's been hurt before. He suffered a broken femur and knee 10 years ago.
He said he's taking the bull by the horns and getting right back at it as soon as he can.
"I just need to believe in myself. I need to go out and represent the state of Oklahoma," Dirteater said.
Ryan should be released from the hospital on Friday and expects to be riding again in eight to twelve weeks. He wants to be recovered in time to compete at the PBR world finals in November.