Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Roger and Dawn Coles will celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary on Friday, and the occasion will be an unusually memorable one.

And not only because it probably will take place in a hospital room.

Roger Coles, 63, was hurt Friday night when a horse kicked him in the head during the Baker City Bronc Riding event at the Fairgrounds.

His neck muscles were severely strained but he didn’t sustain any fractures.

“He’s hard-headed,” Dawn Coles said with a rueful chuckle during a phone conversation this morning from Roger’s room at St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise. “It could have been a whole lot worse. We’re very grateful.”

Roger Coles, who is a former Baker City Council member, is secretary of the Baker City Bronco and Bull Riding events.

Dawn said she and Roger have been involved in helping to plan the annual events for about the past decade.

On Friday, Roger was in his usual place, manning a gate for the worker who gathers the bucking broncos after each ride.

One horse leaped over a fence and into the area where Roger was working.

“Roger happened to be the one that got it,” Dawn said. “I watched the whole thing.”

Another volunteer, Dave Buckridge, suffered three broken ribs in the melee, Dawn said.

“It was a nasty, freak accident,” she said.

The blow from the horse’s hoof knocked Roger out, and he was flown by LifeFlight to Boise.

He didn’t regain consciousness until Saturday morning when doctors reduced his sedation level, Dawn said.

On Sunday, Roger was moved from the intensive care unit to a regular room.

Dawn said, her husband is a bit wobbly when he walks, and he has difficult talking and swallowing.

She said a physical therapist told her Roger probably would stay in the hospital for at least one week, and then require therapy for another three to four weeks.

Dawn said that although Friday’s anniversary will be different from what the couple expected, they will have plenty to celebrate besides their marriage.

“He’s doing better than expected, and he could have died,” she said. “We’re extremely lucky.”