Baxter Black: Cowboys learn to switch between timed, rough stock events
In the world of rodeo, cowboys usually fall into one of two categories; rough stock riders or timed event men. Each looks on the other with suspicion. Bronc riders can’t imagine havin’ to drag a horse and trailer all over the country and ropers think bull riding is uncivilized.
Jack and Russell entered the punkin roller at Bokchito, Okla. They were both sixteen and invincible.
On arrival they discovered a mix up. Jack entered in the bareback and Russell in the calf roping.
Jack complained, “I told Mr. Ward to put me in the calf ropin’ and Russell was ridin’ bares. Besides, Russell’s bought a brand new riggin’!”
Which, of course he had. Not only that, Russell had a new set of custom made bronc spurs and had just attended Mel Autry’s rodeo school.
The secretary glared at him and growled, “Well, Jack, you better see if it fits your hand, ‘cause I ain’t changin’ the order.”
They stomped around cussing the contractor, the secretary, their luck and each other’s event. But as the National Anthem played over the speakers, Jack was down in the chute tryin’ to pound his left hand into Russell’s right hand riggin’!
Minnie Mouse was an 800-pound grulla mare. Jack made some comment about stick horses and shetlands. ‘Bout not wantin’ to hurt her. Russell ignored him.
Jack was sorta scratchin’ his spurs a little and thinkin’, “By, gosh, this ain’t bad! I’m winnin’ the bareback! Easier than I thought.”
At the quarter mile pole, Minnie Mouse bogged her head, planted her front feet and exploded in midair. By the time she lit on all fours again, Jack had both legs on the left side and was laid across her like a roll of carpet!
He couldn’t get his hand free! With all his weight stickin’ out like a wind vane on the starboard side, he began to drag the little mare right. From his vantage point on the wing tip, Jack could see the arena fence flashing by at eye level. He was stuck hard and fast and pulling her closer and closer. Big square ties and net wire began clickin’ by like a railroad bed.
‘Gosh,’ he thought, ‘I hope it’s cheap wire…’
He needn’t have worried. He hit a tie, and the collision was so calamitous it knocked the mare down.
At the conclusion of this spectacular exhibition the crowd applauded wildly. As Jack hobbled out the gate a man in yellow boots and a bolo tie asked him where he was gonna be appearing next.
Standing in the parking lot after the rodeo, Jack observed what a sorry job Russell had done in the calf roping. ❖
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