What a perfect day for a rodeo! Warm, but not so hot that it kept people home, so there was a fine crowd. A slight breeze kept everyone comfortable and lifted the flag to snap and float behind me.
Presenting the colors into the stadium while the fans cheer is a thrill. I always feel honored to stand at attention during the singing of the National Anthem.
Before the last notes, “and the home of the brave,” faded in the air, I heard a ruckus behind me. It seems somebody—nobody ever admitted to it—had improperly secured a gate. An escaped male animal of the bovine species was now crashing around the parking lot.
I couldn’t blame him. Do you know what they do to those poor animals before they come roaring out of the chute? They claim that it doesn’t hurt the bulls, but I don’t hear any of the cowboys volunteering for the honor.
He was a big dude. Huge, really. Probably around 1800 pounds. Black and shiny–magnificent beast. Snot flew from his nostrils as he charged between minivans, pickups, and the ones that made me giggle a little, a shiny new Prius and a little yellow Chevy. Pity there weren’t four of those little yellow jobs—Ol’ Hammerhead could have used them for roller skates.
The cowboy wannabees made me laugh, too. “You just stay there little missy. That there bull is dangerous. You just try to keep your mount calm.”
Well, I watched them chase around for a while, slinging their lassoes like they knew what they were doing. Which they did not. One rope hit Hammerhead on the backside and I guess he thought the cowboy was just playing around because he took off like a spring calf, leaping around as if he already had that rope tied to his nether regions. Well, he did not. He was just having fun.
The cowboys were getting downright grumpy about the whole chase and started calling ol’ Hammer nasty names.
Finally, I just posted the flag and told Rainy, my roan quarter horse, she could show her stuff in the barrel races later. “Right now we have to help those dumb guys round up that poor bull before he hurts himself.”
Those cowboys absolutely freaked out when Rainy and I rode straight toward Hammerhead. Shouting, waving their hats and kerchiefs, “You got a death wish, girl? Stop! Turn around!” They were yelling so loud ol’ Hammer stopped in his tracks, dropped his head and stared directly at me. I think there might have been a trace of mischief in his eyes.
“C’mon, Hammerhead, honey. You’ve had your fun, now it’s time to go back.” He had known my voice ever since he was a calf and I had to bottle-feed him. He lumbered up right beside me, snorting and snotting a little.
“I don’t blame you for running, boy. After all, this ain’t your first rodeo.”