In the past 14 months, Bonner Bolton has gone from sitting atop the standings as the world's No. 1 bull rider to being paralyzed to becoming an international fashion model. He had been leading the PBR's 2016 season opener when he landed on his head when dismounting the bull. He splintered his C-2 vertebra, was temporarily paralyzed and given a one percent chance to walk again. Following spinal fusion surgery and during his remarkable recovery, IMG Models signed the cowboy from west Texas for global representation, and he's been featured in major photo shoots and ad campaigns. Bolton, 29, joins Dancing with the Stars to continue to blaze a trail for PBR cowboys crossing into the mainstream while he evangelizes the cowboy code of hard work, honesty, courage and compassion.
Bolton grew up on a ranch in west Texas and started mounting steers when he was 10. Before breaking his neck, he had persevered through several serious injuries to rank among the world's top bull riders. In 2008 he tore his right bicep clean off the bone, sidelining him for nearly a year. In 2015 he came off a collarbone broken in four places to finish seventh at the PBR World Finals. Prior to his nearly catastrophic injury, he played Scott Eastwood's stunt double in the major motion picture, The Longest Ride.
Bolton credits his father, Toya, an old-school cowboy who rode bulls professionally for 20 years, with teaching him how to ride, take care of his body and maintain the toughness necessary to stay on powerful bucking bulls more than 10 times his size.
Bonner is partnered with Pro Sharna Burgess.