Bonner Bolton’s most memorable year was a bittersweet one.
In 2016, the professional bull rider was thrown from his bull and nearly trampled during a competition. His injuries were so severe, he was paralyzed and spent several months getting his body into working condition again.
Ahead of the performance, Bolton’s father remembered the moment he was thrown for the cameras.
“I knew that something was wrong,” Toya Bolton said choking back tears. “I was hoping that my greatest fear wasn’t coming true.”
Bolton let the tears flow as he shared the story with partner Sharna Burgess.
“Did you have a moment where you thought, ‘this is it. I am a goner?'” she asked.
“Yeah,” he answered through tears. “It took me months and months to get my body to work right. You never want to think that life can take that eye of the tiger away from you but the doctors said, ‘no, we are never going to release you back to your sport.'”
“My dad taught me and my brothers that there never is a time to quit in life,” he said. “Every morning I wake up and I have air in my lungs and light in my eyes and I have all of the reason in the world to dance. So, I am going to give it that good old cowboy try.”
Bolton and Burgess performed their Foxtrot to “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble and it left the judges and audience inspired.
The duo earned 32 out of a possible 40 points.
After the performance, Burgess took to Instagram to pay tribute to her partner and applaud his hard work.
“So much strength and vulnerability at the same time. Never a prouder moment with you @bonner_bolton, and what an honor to be able to tell your story for you and with you. Thank you for trusting me, and for inspiring millions of people that are struggling through injuries, loss or pain of any kind, you’ve given people a reason to hold on to hope,” she wrote alongside a photo of the two in an embrace.
“Dancing with the Stars” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.