Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 7-16-12
Wade broke his foot. Coming down off the side of a chute side, he caught the toe of his boot between the rails. Yanking it free threw him off balance, but Wade is agile as a cat. He straightened up in mid-fall and in doing so, his foot whammed the heavy iron hinge on the chute gate. Result: broken bone.
Limping around behind the chutes, he pondered his plight. The bronc-riding event was his favorite method of endangerment. His second favorite was enduring eight seconds of bone-jarring, body-slams atop a two ton bull. (No one has ever claimed that rodeo riders are totally sane).
Wade examined his foot. Some of his buddies advised he go to a Doctor. Wade pondered. A Doc would put a cast on his busted appendage. Which would mean the rodeo officials probably wouldn’t let him compete if he was wearing plaster. Hmmm.
The danged foot hurt like the dickens, but hey, a rodeo cowboy is a rodeo cowboy, is a rodeo cowboy. He decided he could gimp along on it — sort of — and still compete. He chose bulls instead of broncs so he wouldn’t have to put his broke foot in a stirrup. (I’m not sure Wade thought things through. Riding bulls often demands fleetness of foot if one is being pursued by an outraged bull with murder on its mind).
Picture a cowboy coming off a snot-slinging critter, hitting the ground like a bowling ball smacking an alley, then scrabbling to his feet — one of which was busted — and scrambling toward the safety of the fence while behind him, a pair of lethal-weapon horns tickles his backside.
The story continues. Wade not only survived, he placed in that particular competition. He never did go to the Doctor, just waited for the foot to heal. Only trouble was he couldn’t ride broncs for a few months while the broken bone knitted. Dang. Wade had been leading in the pro-rodeo saddle bronc event! He had to finish the season riding bulls. When you’re trying to run at a fast gimp, it takes longer for broken bits to heal.
Question: Would Wade’s busted bone have mended faster if he’d allowed a medic to tend it?
Answer: No one will ever really know.
Question: Is Wade still competing in rodeos?
Answer: Yes, but passing years have placed him in the Senior Rodeo class. However he has a good job coaching equine studies (including rodeo) in a Junior college. ❖
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Hudspeth County, Texas — In the fall of 2019, ranch hands were gathering a bull when they noticed something out of place. One of their employer’s cows was freshly branded, with someone else’s brand.