Clare County Bull Rider Remembers Ride That Nearly Killed Him, Mother Publishes Memoir

"Whatever they are going through, they can do it as long as people out there are supporting,” says Nathan Davis.

A young man thrown from a bull nearly lost his life,

Now he’s recovering, and his mother is telling his story.

We first brought you Nathan Davis’ story three years ago after a bull ride at a downstate rodeo nearly killed him.

Nathan’s bull threw him to the ground and stepped on him, causing him to suffer massive internal injuries.

Communities in Gladwin and Clare Counties rose up to support him.

Three years later, Nathan is up, walking, and talking.

9&10’s Cody Boyer has been following Nathan’s recovery closely.


For the last three years, Nate and his family have overcome obstacle after obstacle.

It all started with a bull named Vegas that nearly ended his life…

He remembers everything before it happened.

“I sat down on my bull, nodded my head, music plays, the gate opens,” Nathan says. “I don’t remember much. I hit my back on the ground and felt a lot of pain. I just felt pain and it was like I got the wind knocked out of me, I guess you could say. And I didn’t really think it was much worse than that."

Nathan Davis’ bull threw him to the ground at the Gratiot County Rodeo on August 9, 2014.

He was 17.

"I got to the stretcher and my vision went, totally went black,” Nathan says. “My first thought was that I’m blind. But I was like how could that be? I just got stepped on. I was unconscious for almost two weeks."

Vegas, a 1,500-plus-pound bull, crushed Nate’s liver.

“Actual time, probably a few minutes but for me it was literally seconds,” Nathan says. "When I first woke up and I was trying to figure out what was going on, I had no idea, but after I got my mind right and started thinking about things again, it’s really just overwhelming."

“It happened in slow motion for me,” says Michelle Davis, Nathan’s mom. “I couldn’t really tell. Did I really just see that happen? Over the course of two, two and a half weeks, Nathan required 18.75 gallons of blood."

People everywhere started cheering "Stay Strong Nathan."

Mom started to write.

“It started as a post-traumatic-stress journal,” Michelle says. “I started typing them up so that Nathan would have it when he was mentally in a better spot."

Her journal turned into his survival story.

She is now the author of “Finding Hope On Vegas, a Memoir.”

Three years later, Nathan’s doctor says his recovery is nothing short of a miracle.

“He was amazed that Nathan was able to stand,” Michelle says. "Dr. Jeff Bonacci told us that that was a once in a lifetime case and it was pretty unusual for a small town community."

Nathan endured trips to several hospitals, undergoing multiple surgeries between Mid Michigan Medical Center – Gratiot and Butterworth Spectrum Health Hospital in Grand Rapids.

He also remembers weeks undergoing rehab after he suffered compartmental syndrome, which caused nerve damage to both of his legs.

"I’ve progressed very well as far as medically,” Nathan says. “My feet are the only things that are holding me back a little bit."

Every step of the way, Nathan remembers seeing and hearing about the support rising up from the small communities he frequents.

“Seeing all the people who were cheering me on when I started walking again…I got this,” Nathan says. “I can do this with everybody’s help. It really made me feel like people were there for me and I can do this but like it’s always in the back of my mind. It always has been since then."

Now, Nathan’s retired.

But his story lives on in his family — and on page.

“God’s hand is in everything,” Michelle says. “Just sometimes we don’t realize it."

“There were a lot of prayers said for me,” Nathan says. “God is good and I’m very lucky."

The Davis Family is planning a blood drive for 2 p.m. next Friday, June 9 at the Gladwin Sacred Heart Parish.

Michelle Davis is already planning more book signings in Gladwin and surrounding counties soon.

More information on future dates or how to buy Michelle’s book can be found on her website.