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Monday, April 8, 2013

Pride Goes Before Getting Pitched in the Dirt

I have always had buddies that were involved in rodeo and for a while I was too.  There are always stories about rodeo and probably anybody that has participated in it, has several…some they can share….some they’d better not!

Several years ago…about 25, to be exact, I got the chance to ride a bareback horse.  I thought this would be fairly easy, after all…I was a pretty fair hand at colt startin’.  I always liked ‘em best, back then, if those colts would buck…a lot.  So I thought ridin’ a bareback bronc couldn’t be a whole lot different.  I mean, after all, it just a buckin’ horse and instead of a saddle….you got that little suitcase handle to hold onto.  How hard could it be?  Heck, I was ridin’ a bull or two back then too….surely they were a whole lot harder to ride than a bareback horse.  I felt confident and almost over qualified to ride a bareback horse, so I thought I would give it a whirl!

I arrived behind the chute with thoughts of how easy this was going to be, I would just show all the rest of these boys how a real hand operates.  Of course, I had to borrow a riggin’….no big deal, I didn’t do this professionally (or even amaturely), so obviously I didn’t own one!  I had a bareback ridin’ buddy help me strap it down, I think even he was impressed with what was about to happen.  He grinned and giggled the whole time, so I just knew he couldn’t wait for me to get out there and show the rest of those fellers how a he-wolf got it done!

I wasn’t totally clueless about how it was supposed to look, and I said to myself, “Self, all you have to do is just control your butt and legs.  Run those spurs into his shoulders and drag ‘em, all the while just sittin’ there in the middle as pretty as you please.”  Once we had the riggin’ strapped on, my buddy asked me if I wanted to wear his chaps.  I, of course, was above that.  I did not need his squirrely lookin’ red and white chaps, so I told him that they wouldn’t be required.  He grinned at me and said, “If you’re ready, crawl on his back.”  So I hopped down in the chute and that horse was just standin’ there with his head kinda hanging.  He was a sorrel, a little skinny and short.  Surely they have givin’ me a dink, this poor excuse for a horse cannot and probably will not buck hard at all.  I looked at all of my buddies standin’ around, laughin and grinin’.  My first thought was “they think they are playin’ me for a fool!  I show them, I will drag all the hair off this little dink!”

So I dropped down on this little red dink’s back, put my spurs over the points of his shoulders and hollered, “Open the gate”.

What happened next is hard to say.  The first jump out, Ol’ Dink snatched my arm out of its socket.  I think I rode him just sittin up there watchin’ my arm flopping around in front of me.  Time seemed to stand still; I still had my spurs where they were supposed to be.  But Dink wasn’t where he was supposed to be, I mean…my legs were pointed forward, but Dink was sideways under me.  How the heck did that happen?  The next jump my head was slammed back into his butt, dang…this little horse must be made of iron!  That hurt!  For what seemed like the next hour, Ol’ Dink flung me around like a rag doll.  I had both feet of the same side several times and at one point both feet were on either side of his butt.  Still don’t know how that happened, the only thing I can figure is that my arm was twisting around in its socket (it is a ball joint, after all!).  When Dink finally let me go, he flung me high enough that I could look down at my buddies…who were all laying on ground….holding their sides.  Seems I was the topic of some humor at the moment. 

Not me, this was at Calgary.  But I don't think I was this low to the ground
But I was really not concerned about them because at that point I was reminded of the law of gravity.  I descended toward the ground at the rate an F-15 screams across the sky.  I swear I heard a sonic boom as I broke the sound barrier somewhere around Mach 9.  I thought back to those red and white chaps…I was really wishin’ I had them.  I could have used them as flaps, like an airplane, to slow my speed!  But I was not so blessed.  I knew that if I didn’t slow my speed, I might hit the ground hard enough to say howdy to ol’ satan.  But being the quick thinker that I am, I quickly thought of a way to slow down.  I aimed my face toward the ground (thus putting Murphy’s, or was it Ty Murray’s Law, into effect.  The one that says “when you throw a cowboy in the air, he is always bound to land face first).  As I hit the ground, my career changed for about 60 feet.  In an effort to slow my speed, I used my face to plow the arena with a furrow that would make a farmer proud.   I think they grew watermelon in that furrow, I hear they had a bumper crop that year.

As I stood up, spittin’ out mud and my pride, I couldn’t help but notice Ol’ Dink standing in the corner with his head down.  He was looking a little like a 30 year old plow horse, but he was not foolin’ me twice.  I knew he was Satan, just full of demons!  My buddy headed out to see if I was ok, at least I think he was, it was hard to tell…he kept fallin’ to his knees…seems he couldn’t breath he was laughing so hard!

As he got to me, I said “how long was I on….had to have been 10-20 seconds.”  As he tried to catch his breath from laughing, He said,   “No…it was about 3 seconds.  They only thing you did right was marking him out.  After that, Ol’ Cupcake had his way with you!”

Oh, the shame!  Bucked off by a horse name Cupcake!  Come to find out Cupcake was the beginner horse.  Turns out riding a bareback horse is quite a bit different than startin’ colts and ridin’ bulls (but then I wasn’t a very good bull rider either!).  Think I stick to startin’ colts!

This is the almost all true story of my first and only bareback ride.  I had some passion to attempt something that I had never done before.  But I did not have any knowledge of how to do it, nor did I attempt to gain any knowledge.  As my Dad would say, “I let my alligator mouth overload my hummingbird behind”.  I was prideful and arrogant, thinking I knew it all.  I gained some humility, realized I didn’t know all there was to be known.


“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Proverbs 11:2


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