Almost 1,500 people gathered Thursday to remember Glen Keeley, a bull rider who died last week of injuries he suffered after a one-tonne bull trampled him.

Keeley, 30, was competing at the Ty Murray Invitational Rodeo in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Suffering a broken left arm, broken ribs and a punctured lung, Keeley walked away from the incident. But surgeons soon discovered Keeley had serious internal abdominal injuries. He died on the operating table.

Keeley won the Canadian bull riding championship in 1989 at the age of 18. He was ranked ninth on the Professional Bull Riders circuit.

Keeley's younger brother Jason was also seriously injured in 1984. A bull fell on him, and his head struck the ground violently. Doctors didn't think Jason was going to survive, but he recovered completely.

No reason to change the rules

The mourners at Glen Keeley's memorial said despite the danger, there's no reason to change the rules of bull riding.

Darry Anderson will never ride again. He became a quadriplegic after a rodeo-ride 10 years ago. But he has no regrets.

"I was hurt doing something I love. A lot of people are injured in car accidents, you can't blame it on the rodeo. It was just the luck of the draw."

Scott Breding had his face crushed when a bull did a whip-around a few years ago. At the memorial, his arm was in a sling from another bull ride. He came to say goodbye to his friend, but will ride again himself as soon as he can.

"If I had to trade it all in, I wouldn't do anything different," Breding said.

Most people may find it hard to believe that's the common attitude among bull riders, said Terry Dunk, the head of Ontario's rodeo association.

"You can't do things safely and be a cowboy too. It just doesn't work that way," Dunk said.