Update! Hope Thompson Out for At Least of 6 Weeks After Rope-Barrier Wreck in Clovis [Trigger Warning on Video!]

Hope Thompson will be out for at least six weeks after her bit hung on the barrier rope in Clovis.

Hope Thompson
Thompson at a BRJ photo shoot. | BRJ File Photo by Impulse Photography

WPRA World Champion Breakaway Roper Hope Thompson is recovering after the barrier caught her horse’s bridle in Clovis, California, whipping her horse around and ejecting her over the front into the dirt.

Thompson, 38, of Abilene, Texas, was coming off a win in the first round of the $15,000-added Clovis Rodeo, having been 2.9 to win  $1,640, when she backed into the box to nod her head on her second calf.

Update on May 1, 2024:

“I have three fractures in the ball of my humerus. One has slightly moved but we’re not calling it displaced. I’ve got a grade two separated shoulder with some slight tears and sprain in AC joint tendons. No surgery as long as I follow the rules and DO NOT move or lift anything. Stay in the sling for 4 weeks and see where we are so I don’t displace any of the fractures. He said if I displace them even two millimeters this is a total different conversation. I told him Reno was my goal, and he said Reno is “iffy” but everything after that he feels confident about if I do right. So my goal is still Reno. – Hope Thompson

“I nodded my head, just like I did on the first one,” Thompson remembered. “It happened so fast, I didn’t know what happened. I felt my horse switch directions, but all of the sudden I was on the ground and my horse was on top of me and I was trying not to be under him. He did awesome—when I watched the video of how he just kept his feet and basically just drug his butt and stayed completely off of me.”

Thompson, who was to the front of her saddle and mid-swing when the bridle hooked on the barrier rope, landed straight on her head and right shoulder.

@breakawayropingjournal Hope Thompson’s recovering after a freak barrier accident in Clovis, California, that separated her right shoulder along with a broken humerus bone. Hope is adamant the event was a total accident, noting her 14h horse “Dreamer” leaves the line flat and at the perfect height to have his bit caught like it was today. The Breakaway Roping Journal and Hope’s @resistol1927 ♬ original sound – The Breakaway Roping Journal

“Everyone rushed out there,” Thompson said. “I don’t know how to thank everybody who got to me that helped me, that pumped me up. They told me I could re-run the calf, and the first thing is ‘Well hell yeah. I won the first round. I want to run the calf.” 

Thompson was still laying on her back in the dirt at the time, however.

Lari Dee (Guy) is pumping me up saying, ‘You gotta get up!'” Thompson laughed. “I’m trying to get my bearings, but I can’t get up—because she’s standing on my hair. So I tell her to get off hair and I will.”

By the time Thompson made her way out of the arena, her friends like Taylor Munsell, Jackie Crawford and Samantha Fulton had her horse, Dreamer, booted up, with her rope tied on, ready to go.

“I was pumped,” Thompson said. “I thought, ‘I can do this.’ I rode off by myself, but I came back to them in tears, because I literally could not swing my rope. I realized I wasn’t going to get to run the calf. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline or the pain or the reality that I actually could not swing my rope, knowing something was wrong, but I got sick at my stomach and light-headed and that was it. All pride aside, I had to see what it was because something was wrong.”

Thompson loaded up to the nearby hospital, and she left with a diagnosis of a separated shoulder, with the head of her humerus broken where the muscle attaches to the bone. That explains her inability to lift her rope, the doctors told her, because the muscle was only pulling on the fractured part of the bone.

Justin Sports Medicine’s Dr. Tandy Freeman is working to get Thompson’s imaging to make a plan for what’s next. For now, her arm is in a sling, and she’s off to Oakdale, California, to teach a two-day, 21-student breakaway clinic with Guy. Guy is up on Saturday again in Clovis, so Thompson will stay out on the road with her and Crawford until then—unless Freeman says surgery is imminently necessary.

Before Clovis, Thompson was 20th in the WPRA’s ProRodeo Breakaway Roping World Standings with $17,528.81 won after a solid winter run.

“Hopefully it’s something that in six weeks, with no surgery, I can be back out there and be back for the summer,” Thompson, who made the NFBR in 2020, said. “I want to be back for Reno and the Fourth of July. I still have a big summer if I’m back in six weeks.”

Thompson is quick to point out the barrier did not malfunction. On her 14-hand, flat-running breakaway horse Dreamer, her bit was even with the barrier as she came across the line, catching the rope itself right as the horse took that explosive stride.

“I’ve never had a barrier accident before,” Thompson said. “I’ve seen them malfunction, but that wasn’t what this was. This was just a freak accident. Those calves are so big, but that’s what makes Clovis so fun, and the box is long. The calves are in full stride when they hit the barrier. In the first round, you can see in the video Dreamer is flat, and where I hit the barrier is where he pics hits front feet up. With that timing, he was down running right when the bit got to it.”

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