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Teenage Rodeo Rider Dies After Being Trampled During Performance in South Jersey

A 19-year-old rodeo rider from central Pennsylvania died from injuries he sustained in an accident during a performance in South Jersey Saturday night.

Coy Lutz was riding a bareback horse when he fell and was trampled during his performance at the Cowtown Rodeo in Pilesgrove, Salem County, about 35 miles southwest of Philadelphia. He died a short time later at a hospital.

Lutz had just finished his freshman year at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he competed on the rodeo team, according to a statement issued by the university on Sunday.

Lutz was a criminal justice major at UT Martin, and registered points in seven different rodeos last season, according to the university.

The university said Lutz set career-highs across the board in bareback riding at the UT Martin Spring College Rodeo in April.

"His opening round total was best in the field while his average score was tied for the top total in the event," the university's statement said.

University of Tennessee at Martin
Coy Lutz was from a small town in Centre County, Pennsylvania.

"Coy was just an outstanding kid who had a real bright future," UT Martin Head Coach John Luthi said. "He was a good student and he came from a great family. Even though he was only here for one year, his impact will always be felt here at UT Martin. He was a super human being who always took care of his business. It’s hard to imagine why something like this had to happen but we have faith that God is in control."

The Cowtown Rodeo posted condolences to Lutz's family on its Facebook page on Sunday. Cowtown touts itself as the oldest weekly running rodeo in the U.S. It opened in 1929.

Lutz's sister Laura Lutz told NBC10 that he is from Howard, Pennsylvania -- a small town of about 720 people in Centre County just north of State College. He graduated from Bald Eagle Senior High School in Bellefonte. 

Further details on the accident were not immediately available Sunday. Lutz leaves behind another sister, Melanie Witherite, his mother, Sabine Lutz, and father, Doug Lutz, Laura Lutz said.

"I'd tell all the underclassmen to work hard and not slack, because it's worth it in the long run," he said at the time. "You do all your work and you can do anything."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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