locker room

June 16, 2011 |

By Amber Williams


Bikin’ Bondu for two


Doug Eshelman and his daughter, Melissa, with her first bear.

The City of Bondurant had a rough October that ended with two men, in two separate accidents, immobilized with spinal injuries.

Chris Norton was a freshman defensive back on the Luther College football team. He was closing in on a tackle as part of the Norse’s kickoff team in the third quarter against Central College. As he collided with his opponent he fell to the turf. He didn’t get up that day. He was transported from the field by helicopter with a fractured neck and compressed spinal cord with no movement from the neck down. He was flown to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Five days later, Doug Eshelman, 48, also of rural Bondurant, suffered a severe spinal injury after falling from a tree stand. He laid motionless on the ground for six hours before his brother found him. He was airlifted to a Des Moines hospital and eventually referred to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo.

“ In the beginning I had high hopes of a full recovery; I just didn’t realize how slow it is,” Norton said. “I wish I could have been out of here and on my way a long time ago, but it’s just how it works. I’ve just got to be patient with it.”

Chris Norton is regaining his strength and hopes to walk again.

Both Norton and Eshelman have been more than patient, showing the determination and perseverance of pugilists, according to doctors. Both men have recently returned home and are working on rebuilding strength and mobility.

“ I’m really excited to go back to college in the fall and get back to a normal routine and be with my friends and get back to school and do normal things,” Norton said.

That’s something to celebrate, as far as Jeff Cook is concerned. He and fellow Bondurant residents, Randy Pruismann and Steve Hall, are planning their fourth annual Bikin’ Bondu charity event for Norton and Eshelman on Saturday, June 18.

“ About five years ago we were doing different local benefit rides and decided, why not do one of our own?” Cook said. “We wanted to create something in Bondurant that benefits someone in the community (including the east Des Moines area). Throughout the year, we look for something that’s going on around the community, and, unfortunately, we haven’t had a problem finding someone to benefit.”

Cook remembers the second Bikin’ Bondu event benefited an Altoona girl who played on his daughter’s soccer team. A car crash left her in a coma for months. The first year the event attracted only 50 riders compared to more than 100 who now participate.

This year, the ride starts at Cory’s Irish Pub, 110 1st St. S.E. in Bondurant at 9 a.m., following a Lions Club breakfast served at 8 a.m. The route follows the Chichaqua Valley Bike Trail from Bondurant to Baxter — 50 miles roundtrip. However, the trail is under repair, and eight miles of the ride will be along a secondary road from Bondurant to Valeria.

Registration is $20, which includes breakfast, a commemorative koozie or a wristband and other items. The proceeds will be split between the Norton and Eshelman families. Download a registration form at, or register the day of the ride.

For the second year in a row, the event also includes a bike rodeo. Organized by Patti Pruismann and Jane Pearson, the event will help children learn about bike safety as they take a chaperoned ride through Bondurant. Glenn Waterhouse and State Farm Insurance donated bottled water, and the money raised from the bike rodeo will help cover expenses of the event.

“ I’m very thankful for the community we’re in. They’ve really stepped up — family, friends and neighbors,” said Doug Eshelman’s daughter, Melissa. “Living on a farm, and now it’s just my brother and I, people have really helped out a lot — all the way around. That’s the biggest thing. You’ve got to have support in a situation like this.” CV