Two Critically Injured at Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo

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.

Denny Walter

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.”

Superstition Fire and Medical District photo

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

2 Comments

  1. That was a very scary incident, we witnessed it from high in corner of the bleachers closest to where the Stage Coach came to a stop. I hope that all injured parties make a full recovery, our thought and prayers are with them.
    I do have to criticize the organizers of this event by saying that I am appalled by the idea that there were no emergency personnel on site during this event. In no uncertain terms is it acceptable that EMT’s are not on site at all times during an event where the likelihood of injury to competitors, participants or spectators is high, this is a dangerous sport! It was 15-20 minutes before EMT’s were on scene. Several police vehicles arrived quicker than that while none of them or any others set up any traffic control to enable EMT’s to get in on the busy road without delay. The injured parties in this incident deserved better!! Shame, shame, shame on the organizers and Apache Junction PD, this was absolutely unbelievable, no excuse for it whatsoever!

  2. Hey Scott, EMTs were on scene, they were parked just east of the bucking shoots. The same place they ALWAYS park, EVERY YEAR. 911 was called as the paramedics are there is case of injuries in the ARENA, they cannot just leave even though they were needed by the southwest gate. The cops got there first because they were most likely doing traffic in the area. As for “blocking” traffic for the fire department, don’t you pull over for flashing red lights and sirens or do you wait for a cop to tell you to move outta the way???? There is ALOT more going on that you and others don’t know about but seem to think you can Monday morning quarterback. So unless you are in on the know and I KNOW YOU ARENT please just keep your criticisms to yourself. Thank you.

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