Thursday, June 12, 2008

Chapter 2

Last time I gave you some background on my parents so that you would understand that I truly was bred and born to be a bucking horse.

Just because it’s bred into you to be something doesn’t mean that you will want to do that or be successful at it. To show you what I mean, I’m going to tell you about one of my heroes and mentors.

His name is Khadafy and he is a three-time world champion bareback horse. Like me, he was born in Wyoming. Unlike me, his parents were not bucking horses and probably did not encourage him to buck like mine did. He is a registered Quarter Horse and he could have been anything. He has a lot of Thoroughbred influence in his genetics going back to Top Deck and Three Bars. His dad was a black horse named Tom Micks that sired 78 foals. He is out of a mare named Steen’s Star that goes back to Oklahoma Star and Ranger Hancock. With these bloodlines, Khadafy could have been a top-notch ranch, roping or performance horse.

It’s not surprising that Khadafy is an athlete. It is surprising that he is a bucking horse when all the rest of his family were raised to be saddle horses. To hear him tell it, he bucked off every ranch hand from Bridger National Forest to the Wind River Country where we now live.

I think that might be an exaggeration. He was four-years-old when the Franzens purchased him for Powder River Rodeo Company. They picked him as the best bareback horse the first time in 1990 when he was seven. Then he won again in 1995 and 1996. They retired him in 2004 at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). He was 21-years-old then and that dude was still bucking.

I hope that my career lasts as long as Khadafy’s did. When we were young, he’d lead us into the trailer and he was great to prepare us for the adventure ahead. I wish everybody could be at a ranch where there is a pasture full of bucking horses and see what happens when a trailer backs up to the loading chute.

Horses’ heads come up and we all start jockeying for position to get in line and get on the truck. At the Franzen’s place, Khadafy used to always take the lead. He’d get so excited and looked like he was having so much fun that we all had to join him.

Khadafy wasn’t bred to buck, but I never saw a horse that loved it more than he did and that includes me. I may love it as much, but not more. He was always calm in the back pens and the chute, saving all of his energy for when the chute gate opened.

He still hangs out with the young horses at the ranch and while they don’t get to see him in action like I did, they pay a lot of attention to his stories. And, even though he’s not bucking anymore, he still has a lot to teach them if they just listen.

Most of the time, Franzens start bucking their horses when they are about four-years-old. They might take them to a high school or college rodeo or put them in a rookie event somewhere. That’s kind of how I got started. But my trip was nothing like they had expected.
The first two times they took me anywhere, I jumped out of the arena. One of those times was during the rookie bronc riding at Belle Fourche, S.D. It was there that I got my name. It was about the time that the movie came out where Sandra Bullock plays an FBI agent that wins a beauty contest.

Not to brag, but I think they found the perfect name for me. I may be big and strong, but I do have that long flowing black curly mane and I know I could win a beauty contest for bucking horses. But it definitely is not all about beauty. I’m smart, athletic and do try to get along with everybody.

After that I never tried to jump out of another arena. I was in the rookie bronc riding at Belle Fourche and I figured out that I liked what happened inside the arena. I was big and strong for a four-year-old, bucking off everybody that tried to ride me, so Hank and Lori decided I was ready to go on the rodeo trail. I’m sure glad they made that decision, because I was selected for the NFR that very same year.

Now every time I get loaded on a trailer, I get a good look at the Wyoming license plate that is on the back. It’s said that the bucking horse that’s on those plates is the legendary horse Steamboat. I think it’s pretty cool that Wyoming’s state symbol is a bucking horse and I sure wish I could have known Steamboat. Whenever I see that image I’m inspired to go be the best that I can be.

I had my baby since I last wrote and I’m proud to tell you that I had a filly that looks just like me. I’m not so proud to tell you that she is a sassy little thing already. If I didn’t know better I would think she only had one word in her vocabulary and it would be why. It’s going to be a long trip to Belle Fourche for the Fourth of July.

I can just hear her, “Why are we getting on this trailer, why are we going towards the sunrise, why are we leaving Wyoming, why, why, why?” It will be a good lesson for me to be a patient mother and I hope I can remember that she only asks because she is smart and she’s sassy because she’s proud. It will be fun to show her off a little and give her a taste of the rodeo life. Because, like me, that’s what she’s bred and born to do. Then we’ll let her grow up and let Khadafy have some time with her to teach her about what’s in her heart!

After Belle Fourche, we’ll be in Estes Park, Colo., and Vernal, Utah, before coming back to Wyoming for Rock Springs. Even though Rock Springs isn’t the biggest rodeo in the state, it’s one of my favorites. We always get good cowboys there because of a little rodeo down the road they call the “Daddy of ‘em All”. I wanted to let you know that I have a myspace page too and would love to have you on my friend list!

My name is Miss Congeniality and I’m proud to be a Wyoming bucking horse.

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