There was a special energy inside the Thomas and Mack center in Las Vegas. The finals had come down to one ride. Defending champion Ty Morris needed a score of 91 in the short go to repeat as champion. Morris had a history of rising to the occasion, and the crowd was eagerly anticipating a great performance.

Morris was atop Crash Course in the bucking chute. His secured his grip on the rope, gritted his teeth, and gave the signal. The chute opened, and Crash Course exploded out of the enclosure and into the arena. Morris felt the fury of three quarters of a ton of bovine anger as the bull immediately attempted to buck him off. Morris easily retained his perch, but knew that the worst was yet to come. Crash Course had been named bucking bull of the year on two occasions and had already clinched the award for this year. The bull had a mean streak a mile wide and struck fear in the hearts of some of the riders.

After two quick steps, Crash Course leaped into the air, and Ty felt his hat go flying. He felt his body rise slightly into the air as Crash Course returned to terra firma with a jolt. Ty flopped forward before righting himself. He could feel intense pain in his back – the landing had aggravated the inflamed disc. Ty had to block out the pain and focus on the task at hand, as Crash Course executed a tight, quick spin that nearly made Ty lose his lunch. This was a hell of a bull – if he going to have a shot at scoring 91, this was the bull to ride.

The bull bellowed with frustration, angered by the fact that Ty was still aboard. He quickly spun in the other direction. Ty remembered this move from his last ride on Crash Course, and was able to shift his body in anticipation of the spin.

The angry bull once again showed off his vertical leap, and once again Ty popped slightly out of his seat but was able to stay aboard. Once again, incredible pain shot through his entire back as bull and rider returned to earth.

Crash Course quickly spun to the right. Once again, Ty readied himself for next spin in the opposite direction. True to form, Crash Course began his spin to the left. Before completing the spin, the bull quickly reversed course again and spun back to the right. Ty was caught by surprise – the spin left was a fake. He tried to compensate but felt his body sliding too far off center. Crash Course leaped into the air one final time, this time returning to the ground sans rider.

Ty Morris landed on the ground with a thud. He landed almost entirely on his back and felt an explosion of pain. This time the pain didn’t just shoot through his back, but spread to his entire body. From his position on the dirt, he saw Crash Course romp triumphantly out of the arena. Ty struggled to his feet, pointed in the direction of the arena’s exit chute as a way of recognizing the bull’s fine performance, and set about the task of finding his hat.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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