In wake of the death of one of their riders, the New England Rodeo is hosting a fundraiser to raise money for funeral expenses for Evaldo Silva, who was trampled by a bull on Wednesday.
Silva, 35, was on a practice bull ride on Wednesday when the incident occurred. He initially wanted to go home to take a hot shower and declined medical services. However, other bull riders called for help when his pain worsened.
Silva was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on Thursday.
Friday, the rodeo was cancelled due to the tragic event.
"I just heard what happened and that's awful," said spectator Rich Collins of Norton. "I've seen them take some nasty falls."
Witnesses told police Silva had been wearing protective gear when he fell from the bull onto the ground and was stepped on by the animal.
"He looked like nothing happened," said rodeo owner Elias DaSilva. "He just get out of the arena and sit on the side in a chair, saying 'my back had pain.'"
The slain cowboy’s friends and family remember him as a wonderful man who loved the sport.
"He was such a good man," Lilian from the New England Rodeo said. "There is no one that would talk about Evaldo and say a bad thing. He was unbelievably nice. He would take the shirt off his back to help someone else."
"Seeing this, it's like, wow. It really opens your eyes to how dangerous this can be," said David Giles, who came from Maine to ride at the rodeo.
Fellow bull riders came up with the idea to create a fundraiser to help Silva’s family cover funeral expenses.
"We're a tight-knit family so when anyone gets hurt, that’s just what we do. We support each other," Lilian said.
The family-friendly fundraiser will have a rodeo, live band, barrel racing and more. Organizers are requesting a $10 minimum donation per adult and $5 donation for children ages eight through 12. All proceeds will be given to Silva’s family, who plans to ship his body to Brazil.
The fundraiser will begin at 7:15 p.m. Saturday and will be held at the New England Rodeo in Norton, Massachusetts.
"He died doing what he loves," Lilian said. "How many people can say that?"
Police said the incident remains under investigation but that foul play is not suspected.
Online donations to cover Evaldo Silva's funeral costs are being accepted. If you would like to help, you may do so here. Be aware that GoFundMe deducts 2.9 percent of any funds raised, plus 30 cents per donation for payment processing charges.