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Benefit planned in Dickinson for man injured in farming accident

The day started like any other for Cy Hartman, who was preparing to clean certified seed on his farm north of Regent, N.D., on Dec. 11. He had climbed some 30 feet up on the machine to transition to a different variety. That's when he lost his fo...

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North Dakota news

The day started like any other for Cy Hartman, who was preparing to clean certified seed on his farm north of Regent, N.D., on Dec. 11.

He had climbed some 30 feet up on the machine to transition to a different variety. That’s when he lost his footing and fell to a concrete floor.

His wife, Patrice, wasn’t home. His hired man had the weekend off.

Cy laid there alone, waiting for help.

Keith Witte - Cy’s cousin, neighbor and cleaning plant business partner - planned to help Cy with the cleaning. He was waiting at home for a phone call as to what time he should come over, and eventually decided to call Cy.

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When Cy didn’t respond to the phone calls, Keith and his wife, Shannay, drove the mile east to the Hartman farm. There, they found Cy.

“He was conscious, but he could have been there all weekend,” Shannay said. “His employee was given the weekend off and his wife was taking care of grandkids in Denver. He could have died.”

Cy suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a deep laceration on his scalp and hypothermia. His most severe injury was a cervical spine injury that compressed and bruised his spinal cord, according to a CaringBridge website.

Hartman’s family and friends have rallied around the farmer also known for his work as a musician. While he recovers from multiple injuries at Craig Hospital in Denver, they’re organizing a “Don’t Let the Music Stop!” medical benefit for Cy scheduled for 5-10 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at the Biesiot Activities Center in Dickinson, N.D.

“He’s making good progress,” Patrice Hartman said of her husband’s rehabilitation. “He’s had another good month. He’s actually doing very well.”

Music man

During more than eight hours of surgery, a neurosurgeon was able to realign Cy’s vertebrae in his neck and take the pressure off of his spinal cord.

He spent nearly 30 days on a ventilator in an intensive-care unit.

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One of Cy’s goals is to regain enough use of his arms and hands so that he can once again play his bass guitar, upright bass and six-string guitars.

“We are extremely grateful to all of his doctors, nurses and other caregivers, but the cost of that expert care will be a challenge,” the family wrote in a note on the website.

The appeal sent Cy’s family, friends and musical community into action.

His musical resume is extensive.

Born and raised north of Regent, Cy graduated from Deming High School in Deming, N.M. He majored in music at New Mexico State University, and played the bass trombone with the El Paso Symphony. As touring bands came through the area, he played with Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Clark, Bubby Rich and Vicki Carr.

During the early 1980s, he played with various brass groups, including Occasional Brass.

He played bass guitar and was a vocalist for the Dakota Gold band from 1984 to 2004, and even played bass trombone with the Bismarck Symphony in 1999 and 2000.

Since 2008, he played bass guitar and was a vocalist with Rhythms of the Hart, along with Brickhouse Jazz. He has also played with High Mileage, and with Steve Berry at The Laughing Sun Brewery in Bismarck. He also did a stint with Rockin’ Bob and the Bee Bops.

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Many of his fellow musicians will be attending the benefit for an evening-long jam session. Among them will be Dickinson High School band director Keith Traquair, who played with Hartman in High Mileage and Brickhouse Jazz.

“Cy is an incredibly good bass player - the easiest guy to get along with in the entire world,” Traquair said. “I’ve had a lot of experience in the music business and Cy is one of the three best bass players I’ve ever worked with.”

‘We all love Cy’

Traquair also is providing several novel auction items for the benefit, thanks to his friends in the music industry. He’ll have autographed pictures of the Charlie Pride Band, and of Richie McDonald from Lonestar.

Traquair is also working with Cy’s cousin, Lynn Hartman, to put together an album of the groups that Cy Hartman has performed with.

“I think it will be wonderful evening,” Traquair said. “I think we’ll have a blast.”

Cy’s cousin, Lynn Hartman, did sound for High Mileage and Dakota Gold.

“I’ve been helping Cy, for gosh, 12 years,” Lynn Hartman said. “Cy’s quiet, he’s really talented, one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. He’s an incredible musician. He can play just about anything he decides to play.”

Helping make arrangements for the music is Julie Opdahl, who sang and played keyboard and percussion with Rhythms of the Hart. She is looking forward to getting some of the musicians together.

“It’s a coming together of the people that Cy played with,” she said. “We all love Cy.”

The benefit organizers are serving a meal, having a bake sale, basket auction and “big ticket auction.” Arrangements also are being made to livestream the benefit to Cy’s bedside.

Speaking for Cy, Patrice Hartman said, “He’s overwhelmed by the support of his family and friends. He’s had a lot of support through his farming and through his music. He goes out to play for area nursing homes, different entities here and there. He expresses himself through his music.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the musical benefit.

“There are no tickets - it’s a free-will offering for the meal and come ready to bid on the auction items,” Shannay Witte said. “Because there will be live music, it will be tons of fun.”

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