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The Short Go

There's a lot on the line: money, wife, and house. Eight seconds, that's all I need. C'mon, cowboy.

One, two.

The gate opens and music blasts the crowd. Everything goes silent on top of the bull. He lurches forward and flails his hind feet into the air. My hand burns as the rope slices through my skin. Hold on tight.

Three, four.

The bull's hind feet slam down and my front feet leap up. I rock like a rubber ducky in stormy seas. My chin crashes against my chest and I bite down hard on my mouth guard. The bull leaps up again. I feel my neck snap backwards. Spur, spur.

Five, six.

The bull's hind feet slice through the air. His rump hits my back, and I fling forward. Hand up high. Don't touch the bull. He spins in a tight circle and kicks his hind feet simultaneously. My body slips to the side and bucks dangerously forward. Don't fall off. Spur!

Seven, eight.

The bull spins again like a top on a dime, leaps forward, and spins again. The wind rushes through my hat. I lift my hand and hold on tight. Ride 'em, cowboy.

The buzzer sounds. I'm bucked off and land with a face full of dirt. Someone drags me from the ring. Times arrive on the board. "Ninety-one, first place," they tell me. I try to smile, but something's not right, my body won't move. Damn, I'm too old for this.

Story by:

Cheryl Whitten

14 February 2013

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