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Alaska rodeo promoter gored by steer, wins event anyway

Michelle Theriault Boots
Rodeo promoter Frank Koloski is recovering from being gored Saturday night during a "double mugging" rodeo event at Eagle River Bear Paw Festival. Courtesy Tara Koloski

Frank Koloski is a little embarrassed: It’s just not like him to get gored at his own rodeo.

Koloski, 43, is the affable founder and co-owner of Rodeo Alaska, an outfit that puts on summer displays of bull riding and steer wrestling prowess around the state.

On Saturday, he was entered in a “double mugging” event at his own Alaska Sales & Service Bear Paw Rodeo Round-Up in Eagle River, he said in a phone call from his hospital bed Sunday.  

“Double mugging” is Koloski's specialty -- the event involves one cowboy on a horse roping a steer while another cowboy on foot tries to wrestle the animal to the ground.

On Saturday night, Koloski was the cowboy on the ground. The steer was as rowdy as a barroom brawler.

“It was just pretty wild,” he said. “When I went to take him down I felt him hit me.”

He felt something wet spreading on his shirt -- his own blood. The bull’s horn had punctured his stomach, just up from the groin. The horn went in 4 1/2 inches, he said.  

Koloski tried to “kind of trot” out of the arena but got lightheaded. He fell to the ground.

“Embarrassing,” he sighed.

Next came an ambulance ride to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where an incredulous doctor asked about a telltale scar on his leg. Yes, it was a relic of another goring.

"But I've never been gored at my own rodeo," Koloski said.

He had surgery and is now on a “pretty strong antibiotic,” to ward off internal infection. A full recovery is expected.

But for now, Koloski is in the last place he wants to be: Watching truTV from a reclining bed rather than at the Bear Paw, one of his biggest rodeos of the year.

Koloski did hear some good news Sunday.

He had won the double mugging event, puncture wound and all.

The prize? $1,000 and a belt buckle.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com.