I pulled the rope until my little brother (who is bigger than me) said stop. He laid the tail of the rope over his hand and then wrapped it around one time before holding on to it again. I patted him on the back and told him, “Bear down!!”
I don’t know who was more nervous–me or him. I’ve always looked out for him and the last thing I wanted was for him to get hurt. This was back before vests and helmets.
I remember one time in particular (when we were much younger than the bullriding day) I’d had a bad dream that he had been hit by a truck while we were playing football in the street in front of our mom’s house. It was one of those dreams that was stuck on “super-crappy” loop and the scene played over and over. I woke up in a cold sweat because each time the dreamed looped, I knew what was going to happen, but I still couldn’t get there in time.
I knew it was just a dream, but some dreams can rattle your innards. This was one of those. After a few deep breaths, I got up and went to check on Jason. He was asleep and everything was fine, but I still couldn’t shake the scared feeling. I sat down by his closet and just watched him sleep. I wasn’t going to let him out of my sight. I stayed there until dawn…and never told anyone until now.
I backed away from the chute to let the cowboys open it when Jason nodded his head. I back pedaled over to my left and stood by the fence with my heart pounding from a mixture of excitement and fear.
The chute swung open and 2,000 pounds of spotted fury came exploding out. It wasn’t an NFR bull or anything, but this guy could sure buck nice. Jason kept his chin tucked in and his chest out. I was yelling so loud that the bull stopped, spit in the dirt, made a mud pie, and stuck one in each ear…then resumed bucking.
At about the five second mark, the dancing duo made a b-line towards me. I had the best seat in the house! I was cheering like a mad man…and that’s when it happened.
Jason was riding right handed and the wily old practice bull had set him up just right. He caught my brother a little off center and then belly rolled. Jason was now “sticking” right out of the bull’s side, perfectly perpendicular to the animal he was trying to ride.
This arena he was riding in was stout. It had three inch oilfield pipe posts about every ten feet or so and Jason was about to kiss one…but I was standing right there. This time, I wasn’t going to let anything happen.
I pulled as hard as I could to be sure I freed him from the wrap he had taken. There was never a doubt that he would come off. I truly believe I could have ripped that bull in half before I let Jason go. When he came loose, I set him on the ground and hopped down beside him. We didn’t make a big deal out of it. I just patted him on the back and told him, “Heck of ride!!”
He went and got his rope and we went home.
He will wrap you in his strong arms;
You will be safe in his midst;
His faithfulness will never fail to protect or defend you.
You need not ever be afraid of dangers in the night
or surprise attacks in the day
or sudden sickness that strikes like a snake in the dark
or bulls that maul you in the arena of life.
Psalm 91:4-6 Simplified Cowboy Version
When you wake up each morning, be sure and tell Jesus, “Thank you”.
He’s been sitting there by the closet all night.