The Cowboy Rides Again

April 8, 2011

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Note: This story is a sequel to Bull, one of my favorite stories.


Ty Morris spat into the dust and cursed his luck.  He hand gently massaged his left shoulder.  After all this time, he could still feel pain – dull most of the time, with occasional flare-ups.  Ty was ready to get back to work and was hoping for an easy bull in his first go round.  He didn’t need to get the highest score and notch a win – he just wanted to hang on for eight seconds and build up some confidence.

Ty dug a divot into the dirt with the heel of his boot and pushed his hat back.  By plain old dumb luck, he had drawn Crash Course.  Crash was a legend – already a three time bucking bull of the year, and the bull seemed to just be entering his prime.  He was much by feared many who dared hop upon his back.  Ty Morris wasn’t scared of the beast, but he certainly had a health respect for Crash.  When Ty was at his best, a matchup with Crash Course was a fair fight.  With Ty still feeling the effects of his injury, he’d need a miracle to avoid getting bucked off and stomped to death by the beast.

Ty looked up to the clouds.  “Quick and painless, God.  That’s all I’m asking.”

Ty could feel the heart of a warrior beating within the bull as he attempted to get comfortable atop the beast.  When the chute gate opened, the bull rocketed into the arena to face his fans.  In a moment, he noticed something out of place.  The rider had barely managed to hang on.  He had experience with this guy, and he was good.  Something was wrong.

Crash gave a small buck, and felt Ty nearly slide off.  This wasn’t right – he couldn’t let a bona fide champion be embarrassed by getting bucked off so easily.  Crash bucked much more violently the second time, but subtly shifted his body to make it easier for the rider to stay in place.

Ty Morris was confused.  It was almost as if the bull was trying to work with him – bucking high and then moving in a way that decreased the likelihood of Ty being bucked off.  That wasn’t possible.  Crash was a champion, but was still just a dumb bovine like all the others … right?  He chased the thought out of his mind and tried to avoid thinking for the duration of the ride.

Just past the eight second mark, Crash Course bucked Ty high into the air.  A moment after he landed, Crash turned and charged straight for him – missing him by inches.  The crowd went wild.  Ty could swear he saw a twinkle in the bull’s eye.  He shook his head and resolved to lay off the caffeine for a while.

Crash Course played around with the clowns for a bit, pretending to be violently fighting them off.  When he finally left the ring, he bellowed a farewell to Ty Morris.  Next time, you’re mine, cowboy.


December 11, 2009

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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.