February 21, 2024

Pro rider J.D. Struxness and his horse were somehow able to walk away from a scary wreck during Monday night’s events at NRG Park.


J.D. Struxness wrestles a steer in the steer wrestling competition during Rodeo Houston at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at NRG Stadium on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 in Houston.

J.D. Struxness wrestles a steer in the steer wrestling competition during Rodeo Houston at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at NRG Stadium on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 in Houston.

Houston Chronicle Staff

A hair-raising close call at this year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was caught on film and watched thousands of times on social media this week. On Monday, 28-year-old Minnesota cowboy J.D. Struxness was making his way on horseback across the stadium during a steer wrestling event when his horse tripped over a steer who veered too closely alongside them. The impact launched Struxness into the dirt and his horse was sent head first into a somersault before bouncing right back up and running away.

@jessiebarringer01 #rodeo #houstonrodeo2023 #houston #horses #craz #god #cowboy ♬ original sound – Jessie Barringer153

All the while a shocked audience is heard screaming in the background in response. Miraculously, Struxness is shown walking away—cowboy hat still somehow in place on his head—after the frightful incident. A clip of the tense moment was posted to TikTok where its been viewed more than 70,000 times. An announcer can be heard in the background noting: “That could have been a lot more horrible than it was!” In the comments, Deedeemarz wrote: “I was worried about the horse!” Kreckline wrote: “Everyone’s asking about the horse but how is the calf.” 

An HD version of the moment was also shared to YouTube: 

Danielle Grossman, a spokesperson for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, said Struxness—who has competed in rodeos professionally for five years (four at the Houston Rodeo)—is doing fine after the wreck and was even able to compete the next day. His horse, who was also okayed by a medical team, is not competing in any more events, Grossman noted. Both the horse and the steer are currently being monitored by veterinary teams.

Per the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association site, Struxness is ranked 12th in the world in steer wrestling and has earned nearly $1 million throughout his professional career. 

Correction: Struxness was not evaluated by RodeoHouston’s sports medicine staff, as an earlier version of this article stated. But he was “very formally evaluated,” per a rodeo spokesperson.