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Bob Sauber came around the corner to see Nick Volden lying on the ground.

Volden, who was thrown from a bull during a professional riding event, suffered a bruised spine and was left with little control over movement in his body except a few fingers and toes, Sauber said.

“You’re kind of in a shock when you see something like this because you never think it’s going to happen at one of your events,” Sauber, an event organizer with Professional Championship Bull Riders, said.

Since the accident, Volden, a Cashton native and father of two, has spent the past year flying to Colorado where he receives intensive rehabilitation treatment with a hopeful prognosis of temporary paralysis after his accident.

Volden was one of the regular bull riders with Professional Championship Bull Riders, and attended a few of its events each year since it started 11 years ago. He had been actively riding for Professional Championship Bull Riders for six years.

This weekend’s event at the La Crosse Center will act as a fundraiser for Volden, with $1 of each ticket sale going to his medical costs. There will also be T-shirts that say “Volden Tough” as well as other merchandise available, with proceeds helping the family.

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Sauber hopes to see a large turnout to the event not for his organization’s benefit, but for the benefit of the Volden family. Right now, ticket sales are tracking on pace with last year, he said.

“We’ve got to give back to the community especially in a situation like Nick,” Sauber said. “Nick is the all-American kid, I mean he’s a clean-cut kid, a good role model… you hate to see something like this happen to a guy like this.”

The bull riding organization puts on several events throughout the year and travels across the country, from Oklahoma to North Dakota to New York. This year, the organization has a group of top bull riders coming to La Crosse and the first 300 kids into the show both nights will receive free cowboy hats.

“Right now, this is all about Nick,” Sauber said.

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Data, interactive and video journalist

Elizabeth Beyer is the agriculture, data, interactive, audio and video journalist with the La Crosse Tribune.

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