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June 19, 2019

Missouri bull rider Eagleburger returns from serious injuries, eager to defend title at Lucas Invitational

Defending champion Dakota Eagleburger of Fair Grove and the Lucas Oil Pro Bull Riding Invitational returns to Lucas Oil Speedway on Friday and Saturday. (Kenny Shaw photo)

WHEATLAND, Missouri (June 19, 2019) - A couple of months after winning last year's inaugural Lucas Oil Pro Bull Riding Invitational, Dakota Eagleburger suffered career-threatening - make that life-threatening - injuries at a bull ride in Minnesota.

"Last August I was hurt pretty bad after I got stepped on," said Eagleburger, a 24-year-old from Fair Grove, Missouri. "It about killed me off. I broke eight ribs on my left side. They took me away in an ambulance, then in a helicopter to a hospital in North Dakota.

"When my ribs broke, they splintered and it put them through my lung. They had to do emergency surgery and piece my ribs back together. Now I have titanium plates along each of my ribs on my left side. They had to take out a small part of my lung from where the ribs went through."

Eagleburger spent almost three weeks in the hospital.

"It was hell for about 20 days," he said.

But after several weeks of additional healing, followed by intense physical therapy, Eagleburger was back atop a bull earlier this year. He returns to Lucas Oil Speedway this weekend, hoping to successfully defend his title at the Lucas Oil Speedway stop on the Amped Up Tour.

"I feel like I'm riding better now than I did before I got hurt," Eagleburger said of his comeback and outlook for this weekend.

Eagleburger, who also overcame a torn Achilles' tendon after one season of college rodeo, talks about overcoming serious injuries like most people talk about shaking off a bad cold. He recalled when doctors talked to him after surgery last August, with what seemed to be grim news.

"When I was in the hospital, the doctor told me, 'You won't ride bulls again. You took a pretty serious injury.' I looked at him right there and said, 'bull ... I'll be back."

"Everything has come together. My confidence is through the roof right now. The last 4-5 weekends, I've been riding pretty consistent. They haven't thrown me off very many."

Eagleburger said he was introduced to rodeo as a child by his dad, Brad Eagleburger who is a former team roper. But things like roping calves and steers didn't appeal to the younger Eagleburger as much as riding bulls. He began to seriously pursue that while spending one year on the rodeo team at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas.

The Achilles' injury ended his college career after one season. Eagleburger turned pro after rehabbing that injury with his sights set on becoming a top-flight professional bull rider.

"It's a challenge and obviously I've been able to make a living from it," Eagleburger said of the appeal of bull riding. "I don't do it for the money. It's the whole Man vs. Beast factor, doing something that not a lot of people can."

Eagleburger is determined to make it to the top of his sport. He said he could use sponsorship, but hasn't actively pursued it to this point.

"It is kind of a struggle, but I know that I can make it," he said. "I'm working a part-time job, trimming trees to make some extra money to get me down the road until I can get some sponsors. But I will be at the top.

"With this injury and the whole process of it, I've never had one negative thought about it holding me back. I tell everybody that it'll break my body before it breaks my mind. I'm going to make it."
The Lucas Oil Pro Bull Riding Invitational Presented by has $12,000 added to the purse with full programs Friday and Saturday. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. both nights.

In addition to the bull riding action, fans will be entertained by Jarrett Dougherty, a multi-award winning comedian who performs on-stage in Branson. Dougherty will be performing and entertaining the crowd throughout the programs, both Friday and Saturday.
Tickets are available in advance at PFI Western Store, 2816 S. Ingram Mill Road, in Springfield, or can be purchased at the gate either night. For more information on the series go to

Ticket prices:
Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family pass $50

Adults (16 and over) $20
Seniors (62 and over)/Military $17
Youth (ages 6-15) $10
Kids (5 and under) FREE
Family pass $50

Cars return soon: Racing resumes on June 29 as the National Wild Turkey Federation along with OnMedia/DISH/DirecTV presents the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series. The Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds will be the featured class with a 25-lap, $1,000-to-win main event.


For questions about tickets or camping for any event at Lucas Oil Speedway, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at


Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984