Chairman of the event is hospitalized with serious injuries
On Saturday, Feb. 24, two people were critically injured at the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo when the horse team pulling a Wells Fargo stagecoach bolted through a gate and hit vehicles in the parking area outside the arena.
One of the injured was Denny Walter, the chairman of the event, who was riding “shotgun” on the stage.
According to a release from Superstition Fire and Medical District, the seriously injured were taken to a local hospital and the horses were walked from the scene to be evaluated by the owners.
In a statement released Feb. 26, Superstition Mountain Promotional Corp. (SMPC) spokesperson Krysta Paffrath said that the horses were not injured.
The accident happened about 1:00 p.m. and, according to the statement from SMPC, “As the Wells Fargo stage was being presented in the arena with dignitaries and representatives of Wells Fargo, the stage horses did not respond to the driver and ran away with the historic stage in tow. The stage made contact with the entrance gate, shearing it off, and the stage proceeded through the rodeo contestant area and toward Lost Dutchman Blvd. through the parking lot.
The stage came in contact with vehicles, coming to a stop when the right front wheel of the stage lodged in the back tire area of a full-size parked pickup truck. The collision caused three of the four occupants on the stage to be ejected. The team of horses were not injured in the accident.”
In an email to The News, Paffrath said, “There wasn’t anyone inside the stagecoach. There were four people on the stagecoach total. Two of them being SMPC Committee Members, two were representatives of Wells Fargo. The horses are uninjured. The cause of the accident is still unknown. No other injuries or people were involved.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 27, a spokesperson from the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo committee posted an update to the accident on social media: “We cannot thank you all enough for the amount of love and prayers that we have received, and it has all paid off! Denny, our chairman, has been released to a regular room [from ICU] and is in more than stable condition.”
Photo above: Superstition Fire and Medical District