Kelsey McNeal/ABC
April 16, 2009 12:00 AM

Tough guy Ty Murray took a hit to the eye Wednesday but said it’s nothing he has hasn’t seen before.

As the seven remaining couples in this season of Dancing with the Stars practiced a group routine, Murray, 39, threw his partner Chelsie Hightower, 19, in the air, but her microphone pack fell off and struck Murray in the eye.

“It was bleeding for a little while,” Murray tells PEOPLE, “and is slightly back and blue but I kept ice on it. It’s not a big deal to me because in bull riding you see that from time to time, but I guess aren’t used to seeing a little blood in the ballroom.”

Pro dancer Derek Hough says Murray shook it off, despite the bleeding. “He’s a cowboy, so he’s used to that kind of stuff,” Hough says. “You know Ty, he’s like, ‘It’s alright. No problem. Don’t worry about me.’”

For the last couple of weeks, Murray has struggled to please the judges with his jive and paso doble. But compared to where he started, Murray has come a long way since he botched the cha-cha-cha in his opening performance.

Murray, who is a seven-time rodeo champ, says his secret weapon is that he knows how to compete. “I like the challenge of it,” he says. “The challenge of the show is fun and it’s interesting as a competitor. It’s 10,000 times harder that you could ever imagine.” — Elaine Aradillas

Kelsey McNeal/ABC

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