A rodeo photographer's close encounter with a raging bull

Norm Betts, a veteran rodeo photographer, was hooked by a bull, flew 12 feet in the air, and broke ribs while snapping photos at a recent Winter Fair.
'I turned back to the bull just as he hit me,' said rodeo photographer Norm Betts. (Royal Agricultural Winter Fair)

Norm Betts spends most of his weekends photographing small-town rodeos. For years, he's been a fixture at the Royal, getting up close and personal at rodeo competitions. 

But in 2013, he got a little too close for comfort. 

Betts had his camera at the ready as the bulls entered the ring. There were four of them, each one quickly throwing their riders to the ground. As the bulls charged around the ring, the first three sprinted for the gate out of the arena and in to a holding pen. The fourth one headed straight for Betts.

"I thought I could side-step him and dance out of the way, like the clowns do. Nope, not at my age." said Betts. "I turned back to the bull just as he hit me."

Betts flew 12 feet in the air and thudded back to the ground – breaking two ribs and puncturing his ankle in the process. Although he was badly injured and needed medical attention, Betts was soon able to see some humour in the situation. 

"By the time I got to the hospital, four different people had e-mailed me video of being hit by the bull at the Royal Winter Fair," laughed Betts. 

Betts is back in action after his sky-high run-in with the bull, which you can watch above!