From between two of the steel rails in the gate, a rich brown orb placidly observed the crowd. The animal was tightly wedged in the box, but even if he had had more room, he wouldn’t have moved.
“Bide a wee, bully,” his Scottish ancestors would have said. So he’d waited. There was no use wasting his energy at this point. He contented himself with looking, listening, and feeling.
The stands were full of Stetsons, blue jeans, checkered shirts, and leather vests adorned with glitter and glitz—an eclectic mix of real cowboys and wannabes.
He knew the spectators were watching him. He looked back at the crowd with the one eye at his disposal. From somewhere beyond him and above them, he heard the voice of an announcer, made raucous by the public address system in the arena.
“Ladies and gentlemen, cowgirls and cowboys, next up we have Scooter Martin. Scooter is a three-time champion bull rider, so he’s no stranger to us here on the circuit. Scoot hails from Edson, Alberta, Canada, and so far has earned himself fifty-seven thousand, sixty-nine dollars, and change on this pro tour. He’s a winner, folks and so far, he’s the cowboy to beat.”
The crowd roared its approval.
“Scoot has drawn himself a new bull, a Red Angus that we haven’t seen on the circuit before. Goes by the name of Butterscotch, and comes to us from the Samuel Jackson farm out near Horsehead Lake in North Dakota. Butterscotch seems to be taking his first appearance mighty calmly as he waits for Scooter to get himself ready.”
The announcer seemed to take delight in pronouncing Butterscotch’s name with more than just a hint of derision. The crowd got the message, and laughed. What kind of bull was a Butterscotch? The bull flicked an ear in mild annoyance.
Bide a wee, bully, bide a wee.
Butterscotch felt the weight of the rider on his back. It was slightly bothersome and Butterscotch wiggled, banging his back end against the rails. He also felt the chaffing of the bull rope around his middle, and the weight of the bell that hung underneath him and kept the rope in place.
Bide a wee, bully, dinna fash yersel.
He settled himself once more, allowing the cowboy to tighten his grip on the leather handle braided into the rope and double-wrap the loose end around his gloved hand. The pulling and pounding on the glove, to make sure the hand was well anchored, furthered annoyed Butterscotch and he tossed his head. The blunted tip of one horn tagged a cowboy sitting on the rails beside the rider. The man drew back quickly.
“Looks like Butterscotch is getting anxious for the show to start, folks,” chortled the announcer, to the delight of a crowd too far away to see the action in the box. The bull relaxed again, conscious that he needed to wait, to be patient.
Guid lad, bully, bide a wee.
“Get ready for what could be the championship ride, folks. Scoot’s settled, and my money’s on the veteran rider over the novice bull. It only takes eight seconds, friends, and Scooter Martin will be collecting another cheque.”
Butterscotch saw, and heard, hand meeting hand as the crowd clapped and roared its agreement. He felt the digging in of the rider’s knees. His time was coming.
If a bull could smile, this one would have done exactly that.
Puir foolish creatures, they give tae ye a name o’ their choosing—‘Butterscotch’— for the colour o’ yoor hide; but they’ve seen naithin’ o’ the colour o’ yoor heart.
The gate swung open and Butterscotch launched himself out of the box with a brutal hind-end swivel followed by a wicked mid-air twist. It only took four seconds to send a shocked and frustrated Scooter scrambling for the protection of the rails as the novice bull took his victory lap around the ring to the howls of the disappointed crowd.
He heard his ancestors, voices ripe with approval:
Bide a wee, Bully—till next time. ‘Tis the heart no the hide that’ll be markin’ the difference twixt guid an bad—be it bairn o’ beastie.*
With apologies to all Scots out there, and any Red Angus bulls who might read this.
Bide a wee = rest/stay a little
Dinna fash yerself = don’t worry yourself
Guid = good
Puir = poor
Tae = too
Ye = you
Yoor = your
Naithin’ = nothing
No = not
Twixt = between
Bairn = child
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