A Pinch of Rodeo
By Joe R. Nichols
CP #11 Part Two
Ardmore, Oklahoma, hosted one of the first stand alone bull riding events in the world. The best bull riders always entered, and top bucking bulls from several different stock contractors were selected to produce this competition, including Charlie Plumbers’ number eleven.
The first performance action began with11, but things didn’t go as planned. The lights were turned down for the opening ceremonies, and when the lights came back up, the announcers’ voice made a request, “We need the ambulance, please. Please bring in the ambulance immediately.”
The little brown bull had walked in to the chute and stood right next to the gate. He didn’t lean or squat, he simply parked himself against the gate.
He would allow you to shove your leg in between him and the gate for you to scoot up to your rope, but if you tried to move him over, he would take action. His hind end would come up in a violent bucking motion, propelling the rider forward. Then, with calculated perfect timing, the bull would rear up and throw his head back, intentionally trying to knock your head off. Such was the case in that first performance.
The poor cowboy was rendered unconscious, and fell off underneath the bull. They opened the gate to let the bull out. He whirled, scooped up the latch man, flung him to the ground, and pounced on him. Finished with that victim, he returned to the chute and penned the other the gate man behind the gate. He raked him up and down with his devil like horns. Trapped between the gate and the next chute, he couldn’t escape, and he couldn’t fall down. 11 undressed him, shredded his clothes, and then discarded him. This all took place in the matter of a few seconds. The cowboy who had drawn 11 for the third and final performance, was in attendance that night, and witnessed the whole fiasco.
Richard was up in the last performance, and I went along to watch. When all the bulls had been bucked, 11 stood rider-less in his chute. After seeing the bull that first night, the cowboy never showed up to get on him.
The announcer informed the crowd that the bullfighters were going to entertain them with an exhibition bullfight.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said. “Why would they try to fight 11?”
Richard clasped his hands together and rubbed them briskly, “Oh boy! This is going to be good.” A fellow siting next to us on the fence asked, “Is this bull bad to hook, or something?”
“How many clowns do you see in the arena?” Richard asked him.
“Three,” he responded.
“Before he goes through that out gate, he’ll hook every one of them.”
I could tell this guy wasn’t impressed, and really didn’t think Richards’ prediction would come true. It didn’t take long to turn the statement into fact.
The two bullfighters were the best in the business at the time, Deacon Jones and Jim McClain. Bullet Bob was the barrel man. When they turned 11 loose, Deacon awaited some 75 feet from the chutes. The barrel was maybe 20 feet behind him. 11 had him in his sites, and zoomed toward him so fast, Deacon decided to seek refuge at the barrel. He sprinted to safety, reached out and grabbed the rim, and intended to run around the backside of the barrel. But, 11 was already there. At full speed, he slipped between Deacon and the clown barrel, running a horn under his armpit. Deacon made a high flying arc in the air, landing far down the arena. 11 met him upon his return to earth, and gave him a severe hooking. Richard elbowed the cowboy next to him, “That’s one,” he told him.
Mean while, Jim was on his way to rescue his comrade, he left from the bucking chutes and was about a third of the way there when 11 spotted him. The bull lined him out, and Jim did a 180 back the way he came. Jim leaped for the fence, and it looked like he might have made it. Except, 11 reared and jumped at the same time Jim did, straddling him with his front legs over the top fence rail. He then drug Jim off the fence with his horns, and mauled him on the arena floor.
Another elbow jammed the ribs of the fellow sitting by Richard, “That’s two.”
Bob climbed out of his barrel, and 11 quickly smoked him. “That’s three,” Richard said.
From the time the chute gate opened until the out gate closed, couldn’t have been more than fifteen seconds.
It never did take long for this bull to do his damage.