September 18, 2020

World steer wrestling champion has stem cell surgery in the Cayman Islands

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Two-time world champion Lee Graves planned to resume his steer wrestling career next week at the Wainwright rodeo in a bid to prepare for the Calgary Stampede. It isn’t going to happen.

A sudden attack of acute appendicitis this past week has extended his stay on the disabled list until late next month.

“The doctors say I can’t do any heavy lifting for four to six weeks,” Graves reported.

That certainly doesn’t fit into the program of a guy who makes his living pulling 400 lb. steers to the ground.

Graves had just returned home from the Cayman Islands the weekend before last after undergoing stem cell surgery on his right ankle.

He fractured it shortly after winning $112,000 in the 2010 Stampede bulldogging. Recovery from two subsequent surgeries didn’t fix the issue. So he opted for the stem cell procedure.

“My ankle feels great,” he said. “I’m further ahead with it than I was when I tore my (left) bicep (at Houston) four months before I won Calgary.”

Fully aware Graves had enlisted in the stem cell program, the Stampede rodeo committee extended him its invitation in April with the stipulation he let it know beforehand when and if he would be returning to action.

“I talked to the office on Friday and we decided they couldn’t take a chance on me not being ready,” said Graves, who last threw a steer at the November Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton.

Graves said he hasn’t thought about what he’ll do when he does regain his health.

“It’s go-time here pretty quick. All the good rodeos are about to start slipping by and there’s no Calgary on the table. So there’s really nothing to set goals on anymore,” he said. “I’d like to say I’ll be back and this and that, but I might just be fooling myself.

“The main thing now, and the easiest part, is giving myself time to heal up. Right now, I’m just starting to walk around the house.

“I know I’ll have to do something because I haven’t had any income for awhile. But, it’s not the end of the world. It’ll get better. I just have to make things happen for myself. There are other things to do, that’s for sure.”

One of them could be pulling his world champion bulldogging horse Jesse off pasture and leasing him out at rodeos.

Around the horn . . .Graves will be replaced at Calgary by his Oklahoma namesake Stockton Graves . . . Two-time world champion barrel racer Brittany Pozzi has withdrawn from the Stampede and Okotoks’ five-time Canadian champion Deb Renger gets her spot . . . Alberta bareback rider Luke Creasy, who broke his right leg at Las Vegas last month, will be replaced by Oregon’s Brian Bain . . . A couple of little Texas calf ropers with big hearts, Scott Kormos and Justin Maas, have also turned out. Fellow Texan Houston Hutto and Utah’s Jake Hannum, who competed at his second Canadian Finals Rodeo last November, are the replacements.
For more on this story go to: www.calgaryherald.com/sports/Graves+will+miss+Calgary+Stampede/6758659/story.html#ixzz1xUDmbP1m

 

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