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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)

TITLE: Takes More Than Rhinestones
By Noreen Ophoff


Cougar River Fairgrounds, alive with excitement and anticipation, was a familiar locale for would-be cowboy Race Yead. Music blared from two Ferris wheels, a carousel and other rides alongside hawkers who enticed children and adults to try their luck at shooting ducks and throwing baseballs. Race’s parents, Rickert and Judy, managed the midway. Their son knew all the trade secrets, the advantages taken to benefit the family income. “Laws are never broken,” his father stated, “I won’t stand for that.”

Race wanted more for himself than counting dimes and quarters to eke out a living. Today he placed his name on the rodeo roster in the Bucking Bronco Event, with a winner’s purse of $500.00.

Uncle Louie had two horses on his farm fifteen miles from this town. If Race were standing on the corner of Thistle and Louden at 3:20 on a weekday afternoon, Uncle Louie would pick him up on his way home from work at the car factory. The eighteen-year-old enjoyed the challenge of the white mare, Ruby, who would jump over everything in her path. If not tied, she leaped over the corral fence, soared over fallen trees, or even tractors in a field.

The stallion, Maniac, had to be lured into a stall to be bridled and saddled. Once a rider settled on his knobby back, the palomino ran in circles and slammed against the barn. Race couldn’t stay on even three seconds.

At the Grandstand, the announcer began broadcasting the upcoming arena events. Barrels were removed from the dusty corral, hot dog and popcorn vendors climbed bleachers as spectators poured in.

At the local mission store, Race had purchased tight jeans, a western shirt with rhinestones and worn cowboy boots. This was just the look he wanted. He couldn’t afford a hat, so he went without one.

Ladd Corter was the first contestant, on Jigsaw. Let loose, the dappled grey stallion planted his forefeet and kicked his hind legs causing the startled man to slide off over the horse’s head.

Next Tex Arkan, on Corker, who hardly bucked at all, but ran fast along the white-washed fence. It was easy for Tex to have a high score for staying on over the 15-second minimum on the big chestnut.

Race liked the names of the horses that might match each temperament, like Hard Cider, Try Me, and Bucky. Then Race was paired with Penicillin. The announcer chuckled with the audience at that name. Undaunted, Race mounted the roan, who trembled beneath him. The opened gate sent the gelding bolting out to lean his head straight down upon outstretched white forelegs, wiggling and bucking constantly. His hopeful moment of fame ended as Race flew through the air hitting the fence with his face, knocking him out.

Drifting back to the conscious world, the inexperienced cowboy was asked, “How many nag’s have you ridden, son?” With a mouthful of splinters, the dethroned horseman held up two weary fingers.

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This article has been read 481 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld01/24/08
Spot on topic, and an enjoyable read, though it was no mystery where he was headed.
Lucile McKenzie01/24/08
Having been to a few rodeos, I appreciated this story which was a perfect use of the prompt. I've always been mystified as to where the allure is in trying to ride a bucking horse. The title is perfect. Good job.
Beckie Stewart01/26/08
This is a great use of description with words to describe well the event of this young cowboys downfall.
c clemons01/27/08
Couldn't quite get the feel of the atmosphere. Maybe more detailing of how Race felt as he sat in the stall waiting to go out. You had the meat but no potatoes, liked the title though.