A Pinch of Rodeo
By Joe R. Nichols
CP #11 – Part One
Today’s bucking bulls are mostly the product of two bloodlines. If you’ve ever watched a Professional Bull Riders event, or the National Finals Rodeo, the bovine athletes you saw were likely the off-spring from just two gene pools.
From the west coast, Oscar, owned by Rodeo Stock Contractors. His descendants, beginning with Oscars’ Velvet, have proven themselves as a great linage.
The other line of breeding came from Tom Harlan of Kellerville, Texas. Charlie Plumber of Sayre, Oklahoma made these genetics famous, putting on rodeos beginning in the 1960’s, and his bulls were notorious. I would like to tell you about my favorite, number 11.
None of these bulls were very big, but 11 was smaller than the average. His brown color came from his mother, a Jersey milk cow. He had small horns that turned straight up, giving him the appearance of the devil, and some folks might swear that he was.
This bull was cat quick, and had murder in his heart. He could get from point A to point B, faster than imaginable. He defied laws of physics. Many a time, cowboys thought they were a safe distance from him, to find themselves underneath him the next instant. It was like science fiction. No way should he have been able to cover that amount of ground, in that amount of time. He was a freak. His other unique characteristic, was his thinking and reaction ability. With his speed, savvy, determination, and killer attitude, no one ever got away from him. He hooked everyone I ever saw get on him, and several that didn’t know better than to get out of the arena. I didn’t feel safe unless I was in the car with the doors locked. This was a scary bull.
My hauling buddy, Richard, drew the bull at Hardtner, Kansas. He said, “I’ve got it figured out how to get away from him.”
I couldn’t wait to hear his plan, as most of his ideas were way out of bounds.
He explained, “Instead of bailing off in time with his jump, I’m going to wait until he’s at his highest peak, and then just step off directly to the ground. That way, he’ll be up in the air, and I’ll already be on the ground running.”
I was impressed. “You know, that might just work.”
This was one of the best bull rides I’ve ever witnessed. 11 could only be described as “electric”, and Richard never budged. Just as he planned, he jerked the tail of his rope, and waited until the bull reached the full height of his leap. Richard dismounted, not spending any hang time in the air. He was only a few feet from mother earth when ole number 11 blew his theory. The brown bull, high in the air, wasn’t going to allow this well plotted exit to be successful. He contorted his body, changing his direction, and reached out with a front hoof. He literally pawed my friend in the back, sending him face down in the dirt. Those little moon horns started at Richards boots, and peeled his hat off at the other end, not missing one inch between.
Richard had a grimace on his face as he left the arena. He had a hole in his shirt, a raspberry in the middle of his back, his hat was bent, his mustache filled with dirt. I shook my head, “So much for that idea.”
“Well, it looked good on paper,” he said.