J.R. Vezain gets surprise check while continuing rehab
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Veteran bareback rider J.R. Vezain continues to progress after suffering a broken back while competing at the Pasadena (Texas) Livestock Show & Rodeo when he was riding Frontier Rodeo Company’s Brazos Bash, Sept. 22, 2018.
The injury required surgery and has left him with mobility issues from the waist down.
Recently, Vezain found out he will be receiving a $3,700 check from Wyoming’s Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer’s Office.
“It was good news,” said Vezain, 27. “It (the check) was from my Wyoming sponsorship at the end of 2018. That’s when the wreck and stuff went on. I don’t know if the check got sent home and we never got it or what the deal was. My mom (Shilo) got a letter for me a month ago and told me I should check it out. It was from Unclaimed Property for $3,700. I didn’t know if it was a scam or what. It ended up being legit. It ended up being an old sponsorship check. It was a huge blessing and will help with some continued rehab for sure.”
Vezain, a six-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (2012-14 and 2016-18), rehabbed in Houston for a month and then another six months in Sandy, Utah. He returned home to Melstone, Mont., April 5, 2019. Vezain’s wife, Shelby, gave birth to their first child, a boy, Ryatt, May 17.
“I went down in the first part of September back to Utah and got re-tested, and I jumped a level on every test,” Vezain said. “We’re still progressing. I’m not where I want to be yet. I have a long way to go. Right now, I can walk on a walking machine, but they still have to move my legs. I still can’t bear my own weight all the way yet.
“I’m gearing up to go down to Panama City, Panama, for some stem cell treatment in the next couple of weeks. I also got involved in a trial situation down in Houston to try an exoskeleton for three weeks two different times, and I’m going to do that in the first part of March.”
Vezain said his plight has given him a new perspective.
“We have had a ton of growth spiritually, mentally and emotionally,” Vezain said. “It has been a huge learning curve not only the obvious life in a wheelchair, but even just patience. I have grown spiritually how to have patience in the Lord and really dig back into the word and put my trust where trust needs to be.
“We have grown as a family and I have a rockstar wife who could’ve left me a long time ago, and she will not give up on me. That makes me want to keep striving to be better. We’ve had tons of family and friends and even people we didn’t know supporting us financially, emotionally. We had people step up and help us get our house built. We have people helping Shelby out around the house doing jobs I can’t do. Days are frustrating, but at the end of the day we have learned to be thankful for the little things and not taking anything for granted.”
Vezain knows he doesn’t have time to make excuses.
“Even in my situation, you can always find something to be thankful for, and be careful what you complain about because there are people out there who are wishing they had what you had,” he said. “Every day you wake up you have a choice, you can sit and complain about the situation you’re in or dust yourself off, pick yourself up and keep rolling, and that’s what I try to do every single day.” ❖